Booking a trip has become more complicated and riskier over the last two years. Having insurance covering your travel can be a reasonable precaution against the unexpected, but insurance does not guarantee a refund and may be accompanied by lots of paperwork and deadlines.
Type of insurance
Travel insurance can be an asset and reimburse you for new clothes and toilet articles if your luggage is lost, pay for a hotel room or meals for qualifying flight delays and cancel nonrefundable reservations if you need to cancel or shorten a trip because of a medical emergency or severe weather. But there may be delayed and denied insurance claims because of coverage lapses or failure to comply with procedures.
Most insurance carriers do not cover trips that are over 60 days. Frequent travelers may receive more benefits from an annual travel insurance policy or a credit card’s travel insurance benefit.
Travel insurance is not medical insurance. Most trip cancellation or interruption insurance covers emergencies but exclude routine health issues or care.
Medicare, Medicaid, and many other health insurance policies do not cover most medical costs outside this country. Most travel medical insurance only pays reimbursement for emergency medical costs.
You can help ensure coverage for overseas medical expenses by supplementing your existing health insurance with add-on coverage for international travel. Another option is international health insurance which can provide coverage in this country and overseas for emergencies, predictable treatment, and check-ups.
Also, most policies do not cover problems caused by a pre-existing medical condition or for travel taken against medical advice. Definitions of a pre-existing condition excluding coverage may be very broad.
Many travel insurance policies exclude high-risk activities such as skydiving, scuba diving or bungee jumping. If you engage in adventure sports, purchase a separate policy that covers the activity,
Air activity coverage, for example, covers zip lining, hot air ballooning, skydiving, hang gliding and bungee jumping. A water sport policy will typically insure water crafting, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. Snow sports insurance covers snowboarding, skiing, heli-skiing, and ice windsurfing.
Travel insurance usually covers accidents or bad weather. But it does not pay for every contingency and usually excludes pandemics or scheduling conflicts.
A cancel for any reason policy covers most contingencies. But these usually refund 50 to 75 percent of upfront payments. Cancellations must be 48 hours before schedule departures.
Most policies require a written claim within 20 days of the occurrence. Medical records, death certificates or jury duty notice must be submitted within 90 days.
Attorneys can assist you with pursuing insurance claims. They may also help assure that your legal rights are protected.