How to Read & Understand Your Travel Insurance Policy

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Purchasing a travel insurance policy is one thing we always encourage, but reading the plan description is another way to fully understand your plan coverage and benefits. If something were to happen on your trip, having a brief understanding of your policy will go a long way in avoiding issues with claims. Each insurance plan is laid out a bit differently, but we’ll break down the details in the way most plans read, section-by-section. 

Schedule of Benefits

When first looking over your policy documents, this is the first section to brief. It will most likely look like a table of contents you’d see in a printed book. Despite the similarity, the schedule of benefits sheds light on what categories of insurance are covered (Trip Cancellation, Medical Evacuation, etc.) and the coverage limits for each of those benefits. Essentially, it’s a high-level overview to your plan description.

Summary of Coverage

Next, you’ll jump into the details of each coverage category the policy includes. This is where you’ll find a gold mine of covered reasons to claim for each benefit. This is the best section to understanding your travel insurance. For example, the summary of coverage for Trip Cancellation coverage will include the reasons you’ll have coverage in the event you have to cancel your trip. Reading the procedures for each coverage is ideal for a smooth claims process as well –especially the procedures for Baggage Loss and Emergency Medical Evacuation.

List of Definitions

As you skim through the description of coverage for your travel insurance, you’ll see that some words are capitalized. It’s not a typo. These capitalized terms are further explained in this section of definitions to better understand your travel insurance plan.

Policy Limitations and Exclusions

Another great section to read before your trip departure, this section will highlight what your insurance plan doesn’t cover. Unfortunately, many claims are denied because the incident on someone’s trip wasn’t covered under their travel insurance policy. Understanding what is covered will help you make the most informed decision when it comes to purchasing travel insurance.

Coverage Provisions

Simple enough, this section tells you when your coverage begins and when it ends. 

Claims Provisions

If an emergency or non-emergency event happens during your trip, this section describes how you should proceed in filing a claim. Make note of the timeline of when the underwriter must be notified of the event and what information the underwriter needs to process the claim. Having all the correct information and necessary records ensures your claim can be solved sooner…aka, a quicker reimbursement check in the mail. 

General Provisions

Travel insurance is highly regulated and once purchased, becomes a binding contract. Because of this, you’ll need to provide accurate and correct information about yourself and your trip. For example, you’ll face some trouble from the underwriter or lose your travel insurance benefits altogether because you misrepresent your age or hide some vital information in the process of a claim.

Assistance Services

One of the most comforting things travel insurance brings is the availability of travel assistance services 24/7 on your trip. These services will vary upon the provider of your travel insurance plan. Before you leave for your trip, we recommend programming the emergency contact information into your phone, in case of an emergency during your trip. If something stirs up your travel plans for the worse, contacting the assistance services provider is the best bet to finding immediate care or accommodations that are covered under your plan.

No matter what type of travel insurance plan you purchase, you’ll find it worth understanding your travel insurance documents. It’s the surest way to find the best plan with the right type of coverage for your trip. We hope it never happens, but if an emergency does occur, then you’ll have a better idea of what to do and what’s covered.