Sunday, June 18, 2017

Crucial Travel Insurance Advice and Tips

Recently, one of the Spratt Financial Services team was away on a two week vacation in the USA and Canada and though he couldn't quite believe his bad luck, his circumstances give a crucial insight into the necessity of travel insurance anytime you're abroad. Even moreso, it emphasises what to do and what not to do when something goes wrong while overseas.

All circumstances below are real and actually occurred during his travels.

1. Expenses Caused by Flight Delay.

The first incident came when he was flying from Los Angeles to Atlanta. In mid-air the flight was re-directed to Charlotte because inclement storms wouldn't allow the plane to land safely in Atlanta. He was grounded in Charlotte for 8 hours before the airline organised another flight to get to Atlanta. It arrived at 2:30am. Since his organised lift from the airport to where he was staying had fallen through over the delay, he was forced to book an unexpected night's accommodation at the closest airport hotel he could find in Atlanta.

What to do: Some insurers require confirmation of delay or cancellation from the airline, so make sure you get written confirmation from the airline that your flight has indeed be rescheduled or delayed. Also, keep your boarding pass and ask the hotel for a receipt confirming the cost of the stay and payment. This will ensure you have all necessary information and your claim will proceed smoothly.

Travel Insurance for Delayed/Cancelled Flights

2. Lost or Mishandled Baggage.

On a separate flight in the USA, our unfortunate traveller landed and after waiting 30 minutes for his baggage, realised it had not arrived. It turns out it had been put on the wrong flight and redirected to New York City instead. The airline couriered the bags to him 48 hours later to where he was staying in the US and luckily, the contents were undamaged and complete.

What to do: If your baggage is lost or damaged and you have to buy additional supplies/clothing/toiletries/necessities because of it, keep all purchase receipts. To be safe, don't be extravagant in your purchases and try to replace things that were in your baggage like for like. If your bags are lost entirely, get a written confirmation from the airline confirming the contents of your baggage and if applicable, what damage has been done.

What to do when your luggage is lost - Spratt Financial Services

3. Travel Interrupted Due to Sickness.

Lastly, six days before he was scheduled to return home to New Zealand, he was stricken with a severe stomach virus that caused three consecutive days of vomiting, nausea, weakness and intense stomach pain. He was unable to make the six hour flight from Nashville, Tennessee to Orlando, Florida and had to spend more days recovering in Nashville before heading back to LA and then back to Auckland from there instead. This involved a considerable expense or re-arranged flights, plus losing the value of the flights already booked that he was unable to make.

What to do: If you are severely ill while overseas and think that it may affect your ability to travel, it is crucial that you visit a medical professional and get a medical certificate that states that you are indeed sick and unable to travel. Without this, it is difficult or impossible to prove that you were indeed sick and the insurance may have reason to deny or reduce your claim. Also, keep all records of your original travel plans and all receipts and boarding passes of your new flights/alteration fees and proofs of purchase.

Travel Insurance: What to do if you get sick overseas.

Conclusion: Because he invested in travel insurance beforehand and because he was diligent in keeping all the necessary documents and proofs, our team member was spared a loss of over $1,000. In even worse case scenarios, that cost can be even higher, depending on the seriousness of illness or the costs incurred by unforeseen circumstances.

Travel Insurance is generally inexpensive and well worth the investment, but its vital to be aware that just buying travel insurance isn't all there is to it. It's imperative that you take the time to get the necessary documents, confirmations and receipts when something goes wrong. If in doubt, make sure you always get it in writing. Most reputable travel insurance providers are not looking to deny your claim, but they do require the necessary proof that your travel was indeed disrupted in the way you describe. Be careful, and make sure you read your policy wording before you travel.

If you are worried about your upcoming travel or want the responsibility of claims taken out of your hands, we can be your link to affordable and comprehensive travel insurance and offer you our claims management service completely free of charge. If you're interested or would like a quote, contact us anytime here.