Travel Insurance Claims Need Written Proof of Loss

by Steve Dasseos on November 27, 2012

This is one of those blog posts I never thought I would have to write. I have a few more written which are currently in “draft status”. I discussed these with a friend last week and she said:

“I am constantly amazed by the number of people who will not follow simple directions, can’t use common sense or even get written proof of a loss. It’s not like the insurance company is going to take their word for it.”

Here’s the situation:

After flying from the USA, a family arrived at their hotel in South Africa late at night prior to beginning their tour. Their luggage arrived in the airport intact. The luggage was loaded onto the shuttle bus and was delivered to their room shortly after they checked into their room. As it was late, they waited until the morning to inspect their luggage. The damage to one piece of their luggage was discovered the next morning around 6 am. They had to leave right away to catch the tour bus. They did not report the damage to anyone at the hotel or with the tour company.

After arriving back in the USA 2 weeks later they filed a damaged baggage claim and it was denied because there was no Written Proof of Loss.

Their travel insurance plan states (in part):

“Your duties after loss of or damage to property or delay of baggage;
b) promptly notify, in writing, either the police, hotel proprietors, ship lines, airlines, railroad, bus, airport or other station authorities, tour operators or group leaders, or any Common Carrier or bailee who has custody of Your property at the time of loss;”

In case I have anyone reading this who doesn’t understand what is required, here’s an explanation in plainer English: “If you do not have any written report of loss including the date of the loss, why should the trip insurance company believe that something happened while you were on your trip?”

Do you want to hear about another idiotic claim? Even if you said “no” I’ll tell you anyway. This one holds the title for the stupidest claim we have ever received.

A couple returned to New York from their trip to Europe. They said the luggage area of the terminal was flooded so they couldn’t get their luggage. They called us and we told them they had to file a luggage damage claim with the airline. They refused saying it wasn’t worth their time. Hours later they were able to retrieve their luggage. They went home without filing any damage claim with the airline. Once again they called us on the way home and we told them they had to return to the airport to file a luggage damage claim with the airline. They refused for the same reason. As soon as they got home they said they threw all the contents of their luggage plus the luggage itself into the dumpster.

There was no written proof of loss so the claim was denied.

I have more examples, but I think you get the basic idea. When in doubt, document everything. You can always throw away what you don’t need after the claim is paid.

I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we'll help you figure it all out.

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