Monday 19 August 2019
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Always Read the Fine Print of a Medical Travel Insurance Policy before Obtaining Cover for Your Trip

Travelling abroad means that it is imperative that you also shop and purchase an insurance policy for your trip. Typically, policies can be transmitted electronically to you for same-day delivery. If you have a pre-existing condition, for example, or are over 65 years of age, you do need the insurance as medical expenses can become quite costly if you plan to be on holiday for any extended length of time.


When medical travel plans are featured on insurance matching sites, such as MedicalTravelCompared, you will see that each policy has certain stipulations – thereby making it important for you to read the wording for the policy you want to buy.

For example, some companies that offer medical insurance may decline claims for natural disasters or if a flight is cancelled. If an insurer will not pay a claim for a cancelled flight, it is usually because they believe payment for the cancellation is the responsibility of the airline, not the insurer.

Read the Fine Print Carefully

If you plan to go on a cruise and need cover then, again, you will find that various policies cover various claims. That means you will be looking at a lot of small fine print. Therefore, you will need to get out your strongest reading glasses and scrupulously review the policy you are interested in purchasing. That also means that you need to be aware of the exclusions in a policy.

As noted, different policies cover different aspects or health issues during travel. That is why you need to carefully scrutinise a policy’s terms. You want to get the best cover for your money and, therefore, need to know what exclusions exist and if you need separate protection or cover.

When in Doubt, Provide Some Detail

Some travellers also forget to inform their insurer about a pre-existing medical condition if the ailment no longer affects them. However, you want to make sure you declare all ailments, even if they are no longer significant as it could automatically void your policy if you overlook this basic requirement. When in doubt, tell the insurer all the details about your health history as well as the kinds of medications you are taking.

If you have a medical condition that has not yet been confirmed but is currently under investigation, you will typically need to wait until you are given a diagnosis to apply for insurance.

While this fact does not mean that you cannot obtain coverage, it does mean that if you do become insured it is generally because coverage for the undiagnosed condition is typically excluded. This rule may also apply to conditions that have been diagnosed but are being investigated or are pending surgery.

If you are travelling with a companion, make sure both of you are listed on the same travel policy, lest any unexpected event, such as a trip cancellation, prevents your companion from making a claim.

If you need to make a trip cancelation because a family relative at home becomes sick or dies, most insurers will provide cover for the event although limits will vary. However, if the relative’s illness is related to a condition that was known at the time you bought the policy, it is unlikely the claim will be paid.

Checking the Coverage for Sports

When checking the cover for sports and adventure activities, you will need to carefully scrutinise the fine print as well. For example, sports that may or may not be covered or require an additional plan include water skiing, hot air ballooning, jet skiing, kayaking, snow skiing, scuba diving or rappelling.

Whilst many activities are considered standard and are therefore covered, there may be some limits drawn as well. For instance, the climbing altitude of a mountain climb or the depth of a scuba dive may establish the parameters in this regard. Sometimes, travellers who plan to climb a mountain or parachute on holiday must take out additional travel insurance that covers an extreme sports activity.

Don’t Overconsume

Be careful about drinking too much while on holiday too as claims will not be put through for anyone who has imbibed too much and is refused on a flight or has an accident from alcohol consumption.

Travel Delays

If your insurance policy covers delays in travel, there is typically a limitation set on the time you are delayed. Make sure you know the limit in order to receive money for the claim. Some policies provide for a 12-hour delay while others make it a full 24 hours.

Personal Belongings

Some travellers confuse their personal belongings limit on their insurance policy with their single article limit. The limit for personal belongings is the total claimed amount for stolen, damaged or lost items while the limit for a single article is the maximum sum you may claim for each item.

Therefore, if you are traveling with a laptop, mobile phone or pricey jewellery, the limit for a single article may not be deemed sufficient. Review the fine print with your insurer to make sure you understand the exact cover.


Underinsuring a Trip- Not a Good Idea if You Only Want to Save Money

You also have to be careful about underinsuring your holiday trip. Whilst you may want to reduce the coverage levels in order to save some pence, you may not be aware, that by underinsuring the travel, you may only receive a small percentage of the costs for your holiday and not the entire cancellation limit.

Your Holiday Costs Should be Equal to Your Cancellation Coverage

Some policies even insert a clause that states that if you knowingly underinsure your holiday that the policy becomes null and void. Purchase a policy then where the cost of the holiday is equal to the cancellation coverage.

Cruise Coverage

If you are planning a cruise and need coverage, you will find that conditions vary from one insurer to the next and some policies may not cover a cruise at all. Therefore, again, make sure you read the entire policy prior to purchasing it. If a plan does cover a cruise, you want to make sure the document covers the same countries you are planning to visit.