In 2018, Piri travelled to South Africa with his family. While they were out one day, thieves broke into the house where they were staying, and they stole all of Piri’s luggage, including a $3,000 gold chain and quite a lot of clothing.
As soon as Piri returned to New Zealand, he lodged a claim with his travel insurer. However, the travel insurer refused to pay for Piri’s clothing, as he was unable to provide receipts for the lost items.
Piri did have a receipt for his gold chain, so the insurer accepted that part of his claim. However, the insurer only paid him $750, saying this was the limit for any single item.
Piri complained to FSCL.
Piri did not think it was fair for the insurer to require receipts in order to accept his claim. He said that most of his clothes had been gifts from family members, so he did not have any receipts or proof of purchase. He thought this must be quite a common issue, and he did not think it should leave him unable to insure his clothes.
He was also unhappy with the $750 limit applied to his gold chain. He accepted that this was the limit set out in his policy, but he said that the limit had never been brought to his attention.
We said that the insurer had done enough to make Piri aware of the $750 per item limit. They had sent Piri a copy of his policy wording, which clearly stated the limits, and encouraged him to specify the value of any more expensive items. It was Piri’s responsibility to read through his policy wording – he could not expect the insurer to explain every clause and policy limit to him.
As for the second part of Piri’s claim, we told him that his insurer was entitled to ask for proof that he had lost his clothing. They were also entitled to ask for evidence to establish how much those lost items would cost to replace. However, that proof did not necessarily have to be receipts. We asked Piri whether he might be able to provide photos of himself wearing the lost clothes, and links to websites showing the price of each item.
Piri provided Facebook photos showing him wearing the lost clothing, and links to websites showing how much each item cost. We sent this evidence to the insurer, and they accepted it and paid Piri an additional $1,875 for his lost clothing. Piri happily accepted this payment and discontinued his complaint.
Insights for consumers
If you submit an insurance claim, your insurer is almost certainly going to ask for proof of your loss. But this proof usually does not have to be in any set form. If your insurer is asking for proof that you owned an item that has been lost or stolen, you might be able to provide some other evidence to show the item was yours, even if you do not have receipts.