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Travel insurance can protect you if you suffer losses or get ill while traveling. While you hope, of course, that you won’t need to make a claim, it’s crucial you know how the process works just in case. Here’s how to claim travel insurance and when your claim might be rejected.   

Check Your Policy Terms

First, confirm that your policy (such as a travel health insurance policy) covers the incident in question. The incident, whether it’s sickness, injury, or losses of some kind, must qualify or else it won’t be covered. There are always limits and exclusions in any travel insurance policy, the biggest would be that they are for medical expenses related to ’emergency’ situations ONLY. Travel insurance polices won’t cover non-emergency trips to a doctor (i.e. to refill a prescription, or to have one’s blood pressure or cholesterol/insulin levels checked, etc.). For example, if you’re on a snowboarding trip and you’re injured and medically evacuated off the ski-hill, you won’t be covered unless you took out a policy that covers such higher-risk sporting activities.

Secondly, you should examine your policy details if you are thinking of going to incur medical expenses, as some things you might think are covered, might not be. For example, dental expenses are rarely covered by travel insurance unless the claim is due to an accidental blow to the teeth; pregnancy related costs may also not be what you would hope them to be. There’s no point going through the hassle of submitting a claim that will easily be denied because it’s simply not something that is not covered. If you used a $250 deductible with your policy, and you incur $275 worth of expenses, it may not be worth it to file a claim….because if a claim is on file, there can be no future refund for returning home early, or going on government health insurance plan, etc.

We (BestQuote Customer Service) sometimes receive questions about things like, ‘Does this policy cover… ‘loss of income?’ (No), or ‘my snowbord?’ (No), ‘theft?’ (mostly likely Not)…

Once you’re sure that your losses should be covered, or to confirm that they are, contact your insurer and give them notice of the claim. Please be aware that, no matter which company you are dealing with, increased travel after the pandemic, and more people purchasing coverage has placed all claims management companies under increased work loads – so you may need to stay on the phone to speak with them longer than you expected (but only as long as it takes to reach a phone company, for example!). Be patient, you will reach them. We’ve had customers that give up in 5 minutes and then complain that they couldn’t reach anyone. That’s not a reasonable expectation these days (the post-pandemic world is a bit different than before, please adjust expectations accordingly).

Ideally, you would call them as soon as you know you face an emergency appointment (the proper number is shown on your confirmation of insurance document that you received upon purchase), as they can help assess what you should do and where you should go (hospital, or walk-in clinic, telehealth, etc.). Most policies require that you contact them within 24 hours of incurring expenses or else the benefits in the policy could be reduced to 80%. They do this so that they can get involved in the claim process early to help mitigate problems that may occur in billing.

Complete the Travel Insurance Claim Form

Every insurer will require you to submit a form detailing the nature of your claim. Some policies, such as the BestQuote MedEC Visitors Health and Repatriation policy, or one from Destination Canada or 21st Century Travel Insurance come with an online app to make filing a claim easier (see the last page of your policy confirmation for download instructions).

Be as specific as possible – set out the nature of the incident and what losses you have incurred e.g. medical expenses, or travel costs. The more specific you are, the easier it is for providers to process your travel insurance claim.

Submit Your Claim on Time

You will normally only have a certain amount of time to give your provider notice of the claim and submit your travel insurance claim form. This is known as your claims deadline. So, make sure that you give your provider as much notice as possible, and file before the deadline.  

Can You Claim Travel Insurance on Income Tax?

If you are filing a Canadian tax return, the answer is yes. Travel medical insurance expenses are tax-deductible

  • You can’t claim back other types of travel insurance such as baggage insurance, liability, trip interruption, etc. Meaning, for example, if your policy is all-inclusive, you can only claim on the part relating to medical expenses (and you don’t know which part of the cost that is, so you can’t rely on the receipt for tax purposes). So if you are a visitor to Canada on the IEC program, and buy a policy with only ‘medical emergency coverage’ (not an international policy like True Traveler, Big Cat, World Nomads, HeyMondo, CoverMore, FastCover, etc. that has non-medical benefits), you can use the ‘confirmation of coverage’ that you used to obtain your IEC visa, to claim tax credits ! Please speak to a knowledgeable tax center for exact information and advice.
  • You won’t get back your whole premium – only a certain portion of it in tax credits. 

To claim travel insurance on your income tax or apply for tax credits, make sure you keep your insurance policy paperwork – you’ll need this as proof of coverage.

Are All Travelers Insurance Claims Accepted?

Travel insurers will reject claims if they don’t meet the eligibility criteria. Common reasons why claims are rejected include:

  • The individual missed the claims filing deadline.
  • A person didn’t declare a pre-existing health condition.
  • The policy doesn’t cover the type of injury, illness, or medical treatment involved. 
  • There is no evidence (or not enough evidence) to support the person’s claim. 

Other reasons your claim might be rejected include failing to provide the right paperwork, getting injured while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, or traveling against government or WHO advice.

How to Get Your Travel Insurance Claim Approved

To have the best chance of making a successful claim, here’s what to do.

  • Check your policy carefully so you know how long you have to make a travel insurance claim. 
  • Keep any evidence to support your claim – whether it’s receipts, tickets, or medical records – or else there’s a risk your claim will be rejected. 
  • Always declare any pre-existing medical conditions before taking out an insurance policy. If you’re unsure what you need to declare, seek clarification. 
  • Make sure your coverage is sufficient for your trip and your specific health requirements.

If you are seeking travel insurance, talk to the BestQuote team. In just a few minutes you can get a free price comparison to help you choose the best insurance for your needs. Learn more about travel medical insurance here!

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