Travelling can offer a beautiful change of scenery and well-deserved rest and relaxation. But when you are far from home when something goes wrong, what do you do? No one buys travel insurance expecting a problem, but the reality is that something simple might be more complicated than expected when travelling. Ensuring you have the right coverage for your trip is a good beginning but knowing what to do in case of an emergency can certainly help reduce the stress of an unforeseen situation.
Accident or sudden illness : Contact your insurer as soon as possible
Insurance policy guidelines can vary by insurer but generally you should seek help and contact your insurer – “the sooner the better”. As with all insurance products, you may face a penalty if you do not report your claim within a specific period. You may even face having your claim rejected or expenses limited for not doing so.
Some thoughts to help you:
- Have your policy number and the insurance company contact information easily accessible.
- If you are travelling outside of North America, verify if your provider offers a 1-800 number or accepts collect calls.
- Don’t wait to call – travel insurance companies offer assistance 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They will be able to start your claim and provide you with information and guide you through the steps to complete your claim.
How do medical expenses get paid?
Early on in the discussion, your insurer will let you know if they are taking over the file. Insurance companies may make direct payments to care facilities, particularly if the claim is likely to be a significant amount. Otherwise, it will be up to you to pay the clinic or hospital and then submit your expenses to the insurance company for reimbursement.
Track your expenses, obtain and keep all documentation
Keep track of all your paperwork and receipts to ensure you get fully reimbursed. Medical bills, medical reports, accident reports…the more documentation the better. Submit a claim to the insurer for all of your incurred expenses once the claim is complete.
Submit your claim
It is then up to you to submit your completed claim form with all of the supporting documentation (original receipts, medical bills, medical reports) along with any other requested documents. Please remember to keep a copy for your records.
In summary, in a medical emergency:
- Seek medical attention,
- Call your insurance company as soon as possible,
- Follow your insurer’s instructions,
- Maintain complete records,
- File a claim with your insurance company with all supporting documentation.
Your broker can also help you with the claims process, so don’t forget to reach out if you feel you need help.