Before you read on, please note that the following are my personal insights on claiming travel insurance in Singapore. I am not an expert on this subject. In fact, I hope never to be an expert in this area because that would mean that I have met more travel disruptions than I would like to. (In case you have not read part 1 of this article, please click here for a better understanding on where I am coming from.)
Based on my (countless and uninspiring) experience of buying travel insurance and 2 times unfortunate travel disruption whereby I have to claim insurance, here are 4 practices that worked well for me.
1. Staying organised!
I hate to admit this but I am not the most organised person (that is an understatement) BUT I can be organised when the situation calls for it. And it is important to stay organised when it comes to travel administration. Staying organised in this aspect means that you should always try to keep all your travel documents (i.e. itinerary, flight tickets, confirmation letters, receipts etc.) in one area that is easily accessible.
To be safe, it is best to have both soft copies and hard copies. Soft copies of your travel documents allow easy retrieval. Also, some receipts tend to fade over time. If you are on a long trip, it is easy take a snapshot of the receipt for safekeeping. Keeping the hardcopies works well as a backup plan (in case certain insurers try to make claims a difficult process!).
As most travel claims require evidence and supporting documents, staying organised will help you in the process. Do not lose your opportunity to claim due to sloppiness or negligence!
2. Understanding your benefits
Depending on your travel needs, you might or might not have read through your travel insurance policy prior to your trip. That is fine, as long as you do not encounter any travel hiccups. If you do, I would insist that you scrutinise your policy and try to make sense of your benefits.
There are standard compensations for some of the more common travel hiccups like disruption of flight, travel delay or overseas medical claims. Read every line and all the fine wordings to understand your benefits. You may be surprised by what you are entitled to or not.
3. Clear all doubts
If you happen to have dyslexia or other difficulties in understanding those (boring and sometimes difficult) insurance terms, please consider the following to clear all doubts.
- Get a friend (who is good in the language that your policy is printed in) to read and help you understand better your benefits.
- Seek opinions from friends who are in the related industry (travel / law / insurance)
- Always get more than one opinion
- Never stop asking until you are sure of your entitlements
- Contact the customer service of the insurance company to clear your doubts (note that there are limitations to this last resort because there are times when customer service is poor or a lack of knowledge by front line staff may deter you from your rightful claims)
4. Staying persistent
Last but not least, it is very, very important to stay persistent. If you have scrutinised your policy and cleared all doubts to find that you are entitled to certain travel compensation, I urge you to stay persistent (provided that you have the supporting documents).
This will be the time whereby your well-organised travel documents will come in handy. Submit all relevant documents during your claims. Do not be deterred by unfriendly online claims form. If the online or physical claims form does not give you the capacity to explain the full picture, it is best to follow up with an email or letter with your supporting documents. If you have any doubts on how you should go about to submitting your claims form, do not hesitate to ask the insurance company. Knowing the timeline of how these claim processes work will also help you to keep track of the claim status.
Do not be deterred by slow or delayed replies, negative responses or the lack of response. All genuine companies will at least provide a reply to your claim (regardless of positive or negative). In current times where social media thrives, good word-of-mouth is essential for companies to stay competitive. If unsure, you may follow up with a call or email from time to time.
If you have missed part 1 of this article, please click here for: 04 Useful Tips on Claiming Travel Insurance (Part 1)
You may also like: 04 Easy Tips for the Right Travel Insurance.
The above information has been compiled based on my own experience and should only be used as a reference. For more information, please do the necessary research and planning prior to getting the best value out of your travel insurance.