Tips and traps for making
travel insurance claims for valuables
Laptops, cameras, jewellery and even 18 carat white gold
Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches get lost, stolen and damaged
That's the easy part!
Making a travel insurance claim requires Proof of Loss -
finding receipts for purchase, photographs and valuations,
and making a police report within 24 hours of the theft,
damage or loss.
That’s the hard part!
What are your chances of receiving a payout if not all your
Proof of Loss paperwork is available?
Your chances are good so long as you do not change your
story about how the items were stolen, damaged or lost, and
you are persistent in pressing your claim beyond the insurer
to the Financial Ombudsman Service, and then to a Consumer
Tribunal or a Court.
Do you want to know more? Read on
What Proof of Loss is required to make a travel insurance
claim for valuables?
It is often difficult to satisfy Proof of Loss requirements
when making a travel insurance claim for personal effects
which are stolen, damaged or lost.
To satisfy Proof of Loss requirements, the traveller must:
- Report the theft, damage or loss to the police or to the
nearest government authority within 24 hours;
- Provide a copy of the written report - certified by the
police or authority - to the insurer;
- Contact the insurer / make the claim within 30 days of
- Explain the loss to an insurance investigator; and
- Complete a written Proof of Loss report form and return it
to the insurer within 30 days.
Travel insurers will decline a claim if the police report,
valuations, original receipts or proof of ownership are not
To take the claim further, you need to know how disputes
about Proof of Loss requirements are dealt with -
Travel insurance determinations by the Financial Ombudsman
Service Australia (FOS)
FOS determines disputes involving travel insurance claims,
if the insurer rejects a traveller’s claim. FOS issues
determinations on these disputes, which contain useful
This is an example dealing with Proof of Loss:
Determination case number 227488 The insured’s claim was for
the contents of a suitcase, which was not taken out of a
taxi in Makati, in the Philippines, because it sped off.
She tried to report the theft to the local police, but she
was told to go to the Public Prosecutor. She completed a
statutory declaration at the Town Hall which satisfied the
She claimed $9,700 for a Louis Vuitton Boite Bijoux
jewellery box which she alleged was purchased on 5 May 2006
by her friend M in Paris. Her claim failed because she
failed to prove ownership – there was no proof of purchase
and no photographs.
She also claimed $3,115 for a Cartier watch. Based on a
receipt for the purchase and two subsequent valuations, that
claim was accepted.
Travel insurance decision by the Supreme Court of New South
Recently, a claim for the loss of an 18 carat gold Rolex
Oyster Perpetual Watch, was considered by the Supreme Court
of New South Wales, on appeal from a Local Court Magistrate.
The decision is Kalloghlian v Chubb Insurance Company of
Australia Ltd  NSWSC 902 (Davies J).
The facts were: The traveller ‘lost the watch whilst at
Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro in July 2014. It either
fell off his wrist or was taken from him by an unknown
person. He made no formal report of the loss to a police
station’ (he said he tried to do so, but the police were not
interested). He had ‘no receipt or other documentation
relating to the purchase’ (it was purchased from a jeweller
in Syria with funds from his parent’s account), and had no
travel documents because he had lost his passport and had
travelled to Syria by car. He did have evidence that the
watch was cleaned in June 2014. He claimed $25,000.
Justice Davies said: ‘This was a classic case where a
claimant on an insurance policy had almost only his own word
to prove ownership or possession and loss of the object for
which the claim was made. An insurer might take the view in
such circumstances that a plaintiff would need to commence
proceedings so that his evidence could be given on oath and
tested in a court.’
In short, the insured needed to overcome the deficiencies in
the Proof of Loss by issuing legal proceedings and giving
evidence in a court.
Justice Davies elaborated: ‘There are cases, whether
involving insurance or other matters, where a plaintiff has
no corroborative evidence of essential facts but the
Plaintiff’s evidence is believed with the result that he or
she is successful in the claim.’
Justice Davies reviewed the Magistrate’s reasons for
decision and found them to be deficient. He concluded that
the Magistrate had not sufficiently considered the insured’s
He did not decide the claim, but remitted the case to the
Local Court for a re-trial before a different magistrate.
This decision of the Supreme Court of New South Wales goes
to show that in cases where all the requirements of a proof
of loss are not available, issuing court proceedings is a
way to overcome the lack of Proof of Loss.
Cordato Partners assists in preparing applications to FOS
and looks after Consumer Tribunal and Court claims for
travel insurance claims.
A white gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch