A little while ago Smart Coverage discussed the ways through which people could file travel insurance claims. Useful as that information is, it doesn't account for what they will need to have on hand to do so.
Filing a travel insurance claim requires more than just contact with the insurance company. No insurer is willing to mess around with this stuff and leave the door open for fraud. Instead, they are adamant about getting documentation from their clients, and will happily deny a claim if it cannot be produced.
Here is an overview of the documentation you will need to file a travel insurance claim based on the situation.
Baggage delay coverage is a short-term benefit that covers a traveler's essential needs while either their baggage is lost or the trip is delayed entirely (i.e. in an airport). It will usually kick in approximately 12 or 24 hours after the baggage is first delayed. Typically it is administered by airlines and not insurance companies, but the latter is sometimes known to include it in a policy.
When that is the case, it can be claimed by procuring some easily gathered documentation. The insurer will likely need the traveller's itinerary, a confirmation report from the Common Carrier (whoever is responsible for the baggage), receipts for all goods being claimed, and any third party settlements or credits (which in this case, are likely to come from the airline).
This can be much trickier than baggage delays for travelers who are trying to make a claim. It has gained a reputation as one of the biggest magnets for travel insurance fraud offenders, since they often believe they can get away with staging a theft or accident while abroad. Thus, the onus is really on the traveler to prove that their claim is legitimate.
Most of the documentation for a baggage loss claim is centred around things that the traveler already has (itinerary, receipts for the lost goods, a copy of their home insurance policy and an EOB when relevant), but there is one crucial piece that must be attained during the trip: an accident/incident/police report. Having one of these filled out at least lets the insurer know that an authoritative body has verified the loss.
Getting coverage for international car rentals as part of a travel insurance plan isn't the most common move, but it is certainly a valid one. It's especially convenient for one-stop shoppers who like to have all of their insurance purchases tied up together.
To make this claim after something goes wrong, you'll need to have a fair bit of documentation on hand. You'll need the original rental contract, a report of some kind (police, accident, etc.) detailing what happened, pictures of the scene and the damage, a copy of the repair estimate or invoice, and proof of any payments made to the rental car company.
Similar to baggage delay, a trip delay is essentially just compensation for the time where a trip is delayed. Whereas baggage delay is concerned with things like clothing and toiletries, trip delay covers more substantial things like meals and accommodations.
The documentation needs are more or less the same for both. Travellers will need a copy of their itineraries, proof from the Common Carrier that accounts for the delay, all receipts that were used on goods that are being claimed, and any third party credits or settlements.
Even though these are two very different scenarios, the documentation needed to claim for them is pretty much identical. This includes something in writing that supports the reason for cancellation (many travelers assume they can get away with cancelling a trip for medical reasons and not see a doctor. This is false), the accident report if it was accident-related, all invoices/confirmations/purchase proof, and any money that is being claimed from a third party.
These are the main risks that people usually have in mind when they sign up for travel insurance. There's always a decent risk of needing serious medical attention while away, and being left without a way to claim for whatever happens is not a situation anyone wants to be in.
That's why it's necessary, even though things will be a little chaotic, for travelers to keep all records of what is going on with their medical affairs, all financial statements that apply to them, all reports that may detail how they got into that situation, and have paperwork from a health insurance company that could affect the distribution of coverage.