Travel insurance hasn’t always gotten great reviews from travelers or the media for that matter. However, that doesn’t cheapen the importance of having it for your next trip. Unfortunately, many claims get denied each year because the reason for the claim wasn’t covered under the travel insurance policy in the first place –meaning a large amount of travelers are getting the wrong kind of travel insurance.
Not all travel insurance policies are the same. Each provider offers varying coverages and coverage amounts for each of their plans. Trying to get the right travel insurance policy might scare you out of purchasing because you might not know what to look for when choosing travel insurance. Want to make the most informed decision you can about travel insurance? Ask these coverage questions before buying your travel insurance plan to ensure you’ll get the right travel insurance policy for the way you travel.
- Are pre-existing conditions covered?
- What about hazardous sports?
- I’m traveling to a place with civil unrest –Is that covered by travel insurance?
- Will my personal belongings be covered?
- I’ve paid for my flight with rewards or air miles –is there coverage to get those back if I cancel?
- Does travel insurance cover mental health?
- What about change fees?
- I’m pregnant –will travel insurance cover my medical expenses if I give birth during my trip?
- What if something unexpected happens on my trip?
Let’s jump right in!
Are pre-existing conditions covered?
For good reason, this is one of the most common travel insurance questions travelers ask. It’s important to know how each provider defines a pre-existing condition. Most travel insurance companies will have what’s called a “look back period”. When filing a medical claim, this is a certain number of days from when you purchase the plan that the provider will look into your medical history to determine whether or not the reason for a medical claim was due to a condition occurring before travel. This means coverage benefits may be excluded when traveling because of ongoing changes in your health condition within that “look back period”.
There’s good news, though! If pre-existing conditions are a large concern of yours when it comes to coverage, be sure to look for a policy that offers a pre-existing condition waiver. This is a golden ticket to your pre-existing condition being covered, if something related to that flared up on your trip.
Pro Tip: Be sure to take note of the requirements. Some policies require you to purchase the travel insurance policy within 21 days of your initial trip deposit date, as well as insuring the total cost of your trip.
What about hazardous sports?
Adventure travel is on the rise. More and more travelers are opting for risky activities such as scuba diving, mountaineering, or cliff diving. Nothing wrong with a good adrenaline rush every once and awhile! Getting the right travel insurance policy in this instance is crucial, though. Most travel insurance policies will exclude coverage for such risky activities under their normal plans, so look into getting a “hazardous sports” rider, which waives this exclusion.
Having your gear arrive later than you do at your destination or having it arrive damaged shouldn’t slow down your adventures. Ask about “sport rental” upgrade coverage to get reimbursed if you need to rent equipment to get you through until yours shows up.
I’m traveling to a place with civil unrest –Is that covered by travel insurance?
Unfortunately, far too many travelers find out too late that there isn’t coverage for civil unrest when it comes to travel insurance plans. A common assumption is that trip cancellation will provide coverage for a traveler cancelling their trip due to a political situation where they are traveling to. When looking at the description of coverage in detail, civil unrest is not a covered reason for trip cancellation because at that point, it’s a known reason for cancellation.
There is, however, an option for you if you are currently traveling in your destination. If your home country declares a security evacuation for its citizens currently traveling in that location, there will most likely be coverage if you make travel arrangements with the insurance company’s assistance services.
Will my personal belongings be covered?
Most of the time, you’ll be traveling with some sort of personal item that’s of value to you. Baggage and Personal Effects coverage is one of the coverage categories that is lesser-known, but is super handy to have when it comes to getting comprehensive travel insurance. No longer will you need to worry too much about having something stolen or lost. Keep in mind there are limits and exclusions to this coverage and it might not cover the whole value for each of your personal items. Insurance companies usually put a limit-cap on each item. If this is the case, getting additional coverage from your home insurance company would be the best bet to fill in the gaps, especially for more expensive items such as electronics and jewelry.
I’ve paid for my flight with rewards or air miles –Is there coverage to get those back if I cancel?
Paying for your flight with rewards or air miles can feel pretty good, especially when you’ve been saving them for a special trip. In the event you have to cancel your flight, there’s a hefty fee most airlines impose to put those points back in your account. Luckily, if you ask about reimbursement for rewards and miles when searching for travel insurance, you could have that fee covered. Talk about saving money with travel insurance!
Does travel insurance cover mental health?
Mental health is a little tricky to determine absolute coverage when it comes to travel insurance. Various travel insurance providers will cover expenses to treat a mental illness if hospitalization is required, similar to how medical expense coverage would. However, this is not the case for all travel insurance companies.
If canceling your trip due to your mental health is a large concern, there is one travel insurance product that could provide the peace of mind you’re looking for. Cancel For Any Reason coverage is an upgrade for most travel insurance policies. It allows you the freedom to cancel your travel plans for literally any reason and get up to 75% of your nonrefundable payments reimbursed.
Pro Tip: If you suffer from any type of mental ailment, doing as much research into coverage for mental health is the best thing you can do before settling on a travel insurance policy.
What about change fees?
Things come up and sometimes your travel plans end up changing. As much as it is frustrating, it can also be expensive. Fortunately, some insurance companies offer plans with change fee coverage. This would cover the fee to change your flight dates, as long as the reason for cancellation or change is listed in the description of coverage. If you usually choose to travel via airplane, this is what to look for when choosing travel insurance.
I’m pregnant –will travel insurance cover my medical expenses if I give birth during my trip?
If you love to travel, pregnancy doesn’t have to be a reason to stop your travels. That being said, if you haven’t had any complications during your pregnancy and opt to travel close to your due date, birth expense many not be covered by your travel insurance policy. On the other spectrum, if you’ve had some complications during your pregnancy or have an emergency birth while traveling, there’s a better chance of coverage. We’ve written an article specifically on pregnancy and travel insurance, so take a look if you need more information on what is and is not covered.
Pro Tip: It doesn’t hurt double-checking you get the right travel insurance policy with the right coverage.
What if something unexpected happens on my trip?
Excellent question! It can be scary if you don’t know what to do while experiencing an emergency on your trip. Getting the right travel insurance policy means you won’t be left on your own. Most travel insurance companies offer some sort of assistance service you can call if you’re facing a travel or medical emergency. Actually, it’s often required to call the 24/7 emergency line to make arrangements in order for your claim to be approved and you to be reimbursed after everything is sorted out. This is especially true for medical or non-medical evacuations –the policy documents should list what to do if something like this happens on your trip.
Knowing what to look for when choosing travel insurance requires you to ask some tough questions. Traveling brings excitement and joy to those who experience it, but it can also create stress and anxiousness. Getting the right travel insurance policy makes a world of difference and you won’t be caught off guard about your coverage if something unexpectedly goes wrong on your next trip. Plus, it will make your claims experience so much more smooth!