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Five things I’ve learnt from my travel insurance claim

As the festive season is getting nearer, a travel insurance policy might be the last thing on your shopping list. Unfortunately, it takes just one bad experience to change that.

Research shows that the average person takes luggage worth £1,440 on a one week holiday.

And that’s just the average.  When I went on a weekend away in Berlin last May, my handbag and its contents were worth almost that. I only know this because I had to add up my losses after a bag was stolen in a busy restaurant one Friday evening.

Several hundreds of euros in cash, an iPhone, an iPad, purse, perfume, sunglasses, cosmetics, even car keys all disappeared.

After the initial shock came a slight relief - we had travel insurance. Don’t get me wrong, claiming the money back wasn’t straightforward, but six months later the cheque finally arrived in the post.

My experience was really unpleasant, but it taught me five things that are worth passing on to anyone who may need to lodge a claim for stolen property.

1. Get a police report

Getting a crime report from the police is the most important factor to a successful claim, so don’t delay. You’ll be asked to list all stolen items, and it’s in your interest to be as accurate as possible. Mentioning a perfume bottle to the policeman might sound trivial, but it might mean an extra £50 in the settlement.

In my case, the report issued by the officer only had a reference number, date and location. My insurer asked me for a detailed report, but after a couple of calls I discovered the German police don’t issue them. I passed the bad news to my insurer and tried to reassure myself that policy providers must have come across hiccups such as this in their dealings with claims from around the world.

2. Block the plastic

It’s hard to think straight when you’re under stress, but try to remember all the cards you carried. If you don’t have the relevant contact details, search online and give them a call to ensure all your plastic is blocked. Ask them to email you a note confirming you have reported the loss, just so you don’t encounter problems further down the line.

I called two banks and when it came to asking them for proof that I’d reported a stolen card, one of them didn’t have any records of the call. Luckily my credit card provider was able to back up my claim.

 

3. Make the small print BIG

Not many of us read the small print. But even if you didn’t invest time in researching a product before the purchase, it’s absolutely crucial to read the terms and conditions before making the claim. Otherwise you could lose out.

4. Receipt is not the only proof of purchase

No one hangs on to all their receipts for years on end. This is something insurers acknowledge, which is why a bank statement is accepted as proof of purchase. In my case, I was able to trace older purchases easily and provide the insurer with the required information. Even if the statement doesn’t name the item, it shows amounts, dates and the retailers you purchased from, backing up your claim. Email receipts or pictures of the items are also accepted.

5. Persevere, persevere, persevere

The amount of extra information needed to support your claim can seem overwhelming, but it’s necessary and you’ll be the beneficiary. Take it one step at a time, provide required information to the best of your knowledge and be patient.

The restaurant in Berlin had CCTV footage of my bag being snatched. I knew I had a strong case and I was ready to see it through till the end. The payout didn’t match the material worth and emotional value of my stolen items, but it’s money in the bank I wouldn’t otherwise have. And I’m definitely using part of it to fund another travel insurance policy.

 

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  • Uttam Sarkar / 30 January 2016

    Thanks for the post many claim information.