How Not to Use Your Travel Insurance

Even though you may have purchased a complete travel insurance package, it is still important to make sure that you take care of your possessions and personal safety.

After all, while an insurance policy may pay for a new digital camera it can’t replace the photographs you lose. And though your medical care may be paid for the two weeks you have to spend in the hospital with a broken leg, it won’t compare to the holiday you should be having.

Remember: Insurance policies will not pay out unless they have to so make sure you follow any medical advice you are given.

Here’s some general advice so that you can minimise stress and hassle and get on with enjoying your trip:

  • Don’t take anything irreplaceable with you
  • If your hotel has a safe or safety deposit box use it
  • Keep your room locked at all times
  • Take travellers cheques instead of cash
  • Don’t carry all your cash with you
  • Be aware of your safety, don’t take any unnecessary risks just because you are abroad
  • Protect against the sun properly, don’t skimp on sun cream to get a better tan
  • Make sure you know the risks of the area you’re travelling to
  • Avoid drinking tap water if possible
  • Don’t participate in any activities you aren’t covered for
  • Don’t do anything illegal as it’s pretty much guaranteed to void your policy
  • Declare any pre-existing conditions before you leave

And in the event of a claim

  • Report any loss or theft to the local authorities immediately
  • Keep an itemised list of the items that have been lost or stolen and their approximate value (hopefully you will have left receipts at home to confirm the value)
  • Keep a copy of any policy documents separate from the originals and leave a copy at home with a friend or family member
  • Obtain original bills, invoices and receipts for services and treatment you have received for medical care. Ask the doctor or staff to be as specific as possible about the treatment or medication you were given, date it, sign it and itemise it if possible.
  • Keep a record of all interactions you have with your provider during the claims process from start to finish – dates, times, who you spoke to, etc.


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