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Who Else Wants to Understand Travel Insurance Policy Language?


Aren't all travel insurance plans basically the same?

No. When you read travel insurance policy language, remember that as with any legal document, the definition of the terms is what governs the working of the policy (including payment of the claim).I create hypothetical travel scenarios for training purposes. This includes contacting our travel insurance suppliers' claims departments to see how they handle a given scenario.

A common concern of travelers are Pre-Existing Medical Conditions. In some cases, you can cancel, interrupt your trip or receive medical treatment if you (or a non-traveling family member) has a pre-existing condition. It has to do with the policy's wording.

All travel insurance excludes claims due to pre-existing medical conditions. Some travel insurance plans will waive the pre-existing condition exclusion if you get your travel insurance in the first 10, 14 or 21 days after your first trip payment date (ie - before the end of these 10, 14 or 21 days).

Any payment on your trip is considered the first payment. This includes the tax you pay when you redeem frequent flyer tickets, refundable deposits or even a trip planning consultation fee if that fee is later credited toward your trip costs.

You'll protect yourself if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip because of that pre-existing medical condition. There are three primary rules to keep in mind:

  • You have to insure your trip's full prepaid, non-refundable cost and
  • The person with the medical condition has to be medically stable when you get your insurance and
  • You must get your travel insurance in the first 10, 14 or 21 days after your first trip payment date.

You can cancel or interrupt your trip or receive medical treatment even if you have a pre-existing condition - if you follow these rules.

This seems simple enough, doesn't it?

Yes. Except there are companies that interpret this wording slightly different from what you expect. Be on the lookout for a clause in policies that states, "General exclusions include any expected or foreseeable events".

What this means to you is this: If you buy a travel insurance policy that includes the words "General exclusions include any expected or foreseeable events", here's what you need to do:

  • Ask if buying the policy in the Waiver Period really does waive this general exclusionand
  • Are there other conditions (ie - medically stable or covering the full trip cost) that have to be satisfied
  • No Surprises
    If you are told, "No, that wouldn't be covered because it's not unforeseen", I strongly suggest you steer clear of those companies - you don't want an unexpected surprise.

    We do not offer policies from companies that play this semantics game. Like you, I want to be sure a travel insurance plan will work just like I expected it to.

    Steven Dasseos is the founder and CEO of TripInsuranceStore.com. You can compare reputable travel insurance plans at this website. Contact Steve Dasseos here.


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