Claims for holiday losses less likely to be accepted

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Recent studies have found that it is becoming more and more difficult to claim for luggage lost on holiday. Apparently, insurers get so many of these claims daily and profits have been tight lately so they are becoming more reluctant to pay out. This is especially the case where it is difficult to account for a loss or to provide proof of lost items. (What do you do when a mobile phone falls in the sea?) Consumers have been warned that if no adequate documentation is produced, this will seriously lower their chances of a claim being accepted.

Britain’s biggest insurance company, Norwich Union, says that its profits have lowered considerably over the past year, with their costs being 6% higher than in 2006. This is similar to many other insurance companies which have also suffered a cut in profits. The reasons for the profit decrease are numerous, but most blame the lost baggage crises at British airports over the past year. Due to these, the claims for lost baggage hit the roof, with up to an 85% increase in claims between January and June in the case of insurance firm Insureandgo.

Not only have these crises had an effect on the companies' willingness to pay, but some, such as James Harrison a spokesman from the comparison service Insurancewide.com (site no longer exists Jan 2013),
believe that this may force travel insurance premiums to go up. Mr Harrison advises all consumers purchasing travel insurance to make sure they read the fine print of their policy so that there is less chance their claim is rejected. He also says it is important to "make sure that you know exactly what is and isn’t covered" before you buy the insurance in the first place.

Lost luggage is one of the most common reasons travellers end up making claims, especially now that many are travelling with expensive gadgets such as iPods, mobile phones and cameras. These items are labelled as "high-risk" by insurance companies as there is more chance of them getting damaged, lost or stolen. Because of this, most insurers have placed limits on how much you can claim for each item. Though individual limits are often reasonable, travellers are advised to check if there is a combined limit.

It is worth pointing out, however, that it is not usually the claim limit which troubles consumers but the ease with which their claims are rejected outright. You will usually have to provide enough support for your lost luggage claim for it to be considered. For example, in the example of a mobile phone falling into the sea, most companies require that you get a police report within 24 hours of the loss. This is one of the most common problems with claims of this nature - holidaymakers fail to get the item reported in time. Similarly, any sign of negligence will result in your claim being declined - for example, leaving your phone underneath a sun lounger while you swim in the sea.

Much of this advice seems obvious, but thousands of disheartened travellers have their claims rejected each year because of carelessness on their part. Now that insurance companies are acting tougher with lost luggage claims, it is worth doing your best to protect your valuables when you travel and make sure you take urgent action if anything happens to them.


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