Travel insurance claim ... am getting the run around ... is this normal?

Discussion in 'Travel Insurance' started by poppet, Jul 10, 2007.

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  1. poppet

    poppet Intern

    May 2, 2006
    LONG POST ... sorry!

    OK, so my husband and I both have Platinum AMEX cards and instead of getting seperate travel insurance for our recent 5 week trip decided to use the insurance that we get 'free' with our cards (despite the fact we pay $295 a year each to have the cards).

    Anyway, in LA having lunch and my handbag falls into a water fountain without us noticing until finishing lunch (approx 15 mins later) at which point we discovered my handbag, mobile phone, digital camera and husband's wallet were all soaked & ruined.

    We got back, reported to AXA (AMEX insurance providers) and they said to send in the form. Which we did, along with evidence that the goods belonged to us so we ran around getting insurance quotes for the wallet & handbag and sent in receipts for the camera and mobile.

    The 1 week later they asked us to send in the damaged goods. Luckily we hadn't thrown them out, so $10 postage later and the goods were posted to the insurance company. Were a bit ****ty that they didn't ask for them straights up, but nonetheless sent them off.

    Then today, we received the camera and mobile phone back in the post saying that they could see no evidence of water damage and that we had to go to Nokia and Canon and get them assessed as to whether they could be repaired or had to be replaced. Now am getting really ****ty because it is obvious to us that the items do not work.

    So, I took the phone into Nokia who charged me $35 to look at the phone and could quite obviously see that the chip was water damaged and it will take 3-5 days for them to get the assessment back to me. I haven't yet taken the camera in as the service centre is out of my way and I'm meant to do this during business hours.

    The insurance claim was for approx $2k worth of goods before depreciation so I guess about $1,500, less approx $250 excess, but all this running around is driving me insane. We are both considering cancelling our AMEX cards due to this experience. Also, we have never ever made a travel insurance claim in our life and we are being treated like scam artists!

    Has anyone else ever had the run around from a travel insurance company or is this just normal?

  2. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    Should've sent the goods to them in a container of water. ;)

    Sorry, bad joke. :) That sounds bad, but I guess at least they're giving you the "privilege" of giving you the runaround, rather than flat-out denying the claim.

    I've only ever had one travel insurance claim (for suitcase damage) which went through our work insurer (underwritten by Chubb). It was amazingly painless.

    - Febs.
  3. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    While it does sound like a lot of running around and maybe unnecessary, I don't believe the Insurance company is particularly out of line.

    Any electronic item that doesn't work and has no obvious water stains on it cannot be determined as failed for water damage easily. The only real way is when someone opens the item up and sees the corrosion/stains/chemical marks that water leaves when the item is dunked in water and dried.

    There is nothing to say (to the insurance company) that the item didn't stop working for another reason not covered by the insurance.

    Similar issue for the repairs - while water damaged electronics are pretty much not repairable, the insurance company still wants to see that they can't be repaired for less than the value.

    Perhaps they could have handled it better by getting the assessment done themselves rather than making you do the run-around, or could have informed you earlier?

    Unfortunately Insurance has a high level of fraud and even valid claims are often put under the microscope to check the full validity and to ensure that the correct value is paid out for a claim.
  4. GDSman

    GDSman Member

    Oct 18, 2004
    I have made a few travel insurance claims in the past (a couple of theft, car accident), although not via my Amex card. My recommendation is to persist - there appears to be so much fraud in insurance claims that everyone gets put through the nth degree to be sure. But on a positive note I have never had a claim turned down - my sense is that honesty will always prevail....
  5. N860CR

    N860CR Established Member

    Nov 30, 2004
    Brisbane & Sydney
    Yeah insurance is a pain in the backside. In many cases I don't even bother making claims and only get insurance incase I'm hit by a tuk-tuk in Bangkok.

    Only time I have made a claim was when United tore the handles off a Louis Vuitton bag which was worth a small fortune. Went through the same dramas you did, insurance company (QBE) kept giving me the run-around, took forever to do things, didn't return calls etc. In the end I just had to keep on them and it came through.

    It shouldn't be so hard... but unfortunatley it is.
  6. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    I've made 2 travel insurance claims this year and both were paid up within days. One was through my company's travel insurance when my laptop got damaged when in the overhead locker on a QF flight. I filled form in, together with details of the cost of repairs and the money was credited with about 3 days

    The second claim was with Columbus for delayed luggage. My luggage was delayed 3 days, so sent them the receipts for the purchases plus itemising what I purchased up to $500 and they sent me a cheque for $500 within a week.

    It does seem that AMEX are being rather difficult

  7. wallacej

    wallacej Active Member

    Dec 3, 2006
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    This is exactly why they do it. The honest people that do not have the time to pursue it are the ones that would drop the claim, however your scammer will persist because they probably make a living out of it.

    As you may have guessed, I too have been given the run around. As mentioned in this thread, hopefully honesty will prevail, just keep an eye on any deadlines they give to have items assessed/repaired... time flies when your having fun and deadlines can be over looked.

    Persist, and if you haven't done so already, try and get one contact within the claims department that you can speak to rather than any Joe that answers the phone. More with honey than vinegar to that person..... ;)
  8. serfty


    Nov 16, 2004
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  9. Mr_Gimlet

    Mr_Gimlet Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Basically, it depends how much leverage you have over the insurance claim - company schemes are pretty well administered, as are paying customers. CC freebies are down near the bottom...

    I have one point to add to all the other helpful posts: you should claim the repair assessment costs from the insurer in the claim. These are legitimate expenses in evaluating and settling the claim.

    Phones, iPods and cameras are high-risk claims, so if your bags had gone missing you probably wouldn't be having this hassle.
  10. timekeeping

    timekeeping Newbie

    Apr 21, 2006
    Doesn't Amex Plat have a concierge service that does running around for you?

    It would be impossible for them to refuse doing the run around for you to get repair estimates, etc for an amex travel insurance claim. :evil:
  11. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    I shall post my experiences with "lost" luggage today - going to call Diners club for my bags - interestingly I am wondering how it wil lwork as my flights were paid onmy boss' diners card in the US - should make for an interesting discussion...
  12. NM


    Aug 27, 2004
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    The Platinum Charge Card with its $900/year annual fee may such benefits, bit not the $295/year Platinum Credit Card.
  13. poppet

    poppet Intern

    May 2, 2006
    Thanks for your insight everyone.

    My mobile is ready to be picked up from Nokia tomorrow, hopefully with a 'replacement' status. I actually spoke to the person processing our claim today to find out if we can claim the $85 spent running around getting repair/replacement quotes and apparantly this is not claimable. He is going to find out how much we are likely to get for a 4 year old digital camera in the event it is a 'replacement' job so I can work out whether or not its worth paying $50 to get it assessed. The guy also asked me some questions to corroborate the information we put on the claim, which I hope will help our cause. Apparantly the watermarks on the HandBag and Wallet were OK so they will pay those out.

    We will persist ... after all, it is a lot of $$ worth of goods, and I have learned my lesson not to carry so much stuff in the old handbag!
  14. Shano

    Shano Established Member

    Aug 17, 2006
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    I recently submitted a claim for some items that were stolen on my last trip to China. The total value of these items was about $600. Most of the items were personal items, but as this was a work trip, the claim has been made against our work travel insurance policy.

    It looks like QBE will approve the claim, but I do need to sign a stat dec. I am guessing this is to cover that I could not produce receipts for all of the items that were stolen. So I am pretty happy so far with how this has been handled, although I don't have the cheque in my hands just yet...
  15. Happy Dude

    Happy Dude Active Member

    Oct 13, 2006
    Did you get a police report in China? If not, the stat dec will primarily be to declare that the goods were actually stolen, and to a lesser extent that the goods are exactly what you're claiming. I suppose it's one way the IC's can fend off some fraudulent claims.....

    (Not implying anything on your fine character Shano!)
  16. Shano

    Shano Established Member

    Aug 17, 2006
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    I was attending an exhibition and reported the theft to the event organisers, and subsequently security at the venue and police. Given a few communication issues, and the prevalence of theft at the exhibition, there was no official report. So it does sound like the stat dec is to cover that the goods were actually stolen.
  17. Happy Dude

    Happy Dude Active Member

    Oct 13, 2006
    Hi Shano, my experience was that I was robbed twice by police in Russia when backpacking around abit. I had to get a stat dec from the Oz consulate in Moscow as there wasn't much point in going to the police. The IC told me that was the next best thing. The second time was after I'd already got the stat dec covering the first incident. I didn't bother getting a second one.

    If the IC couldn't verify the value of the items then a stat dec would be useful too.

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