The upcoming holiday travel season is fraught with uncertainty – an expected spike in COVID cases, soaring gasoline prices and inflation. Can your travel insurance continue?
“It’s important to understand all the exclusions in your policy,” says Christina Tunnah, managing director of marketing and brands at world nomads. “So grab a cup of coffee and spend some time reading the policy details.”
Do you need to read your entire travel insurance policy? Yes, you do. But as you face the uncertainty of the upcoming holiday travel season, here are a few things worth reading twice.
Remember that travel insurance does not cover everything.
“To keep rates affordable for everyone, travel insurance products include a list of covered situations as well as a list of things that simply aren’t covered,” says Daniel Durazo, spokesperson for Allianz travel insurance. “So take the time to learn about the reasons and exclusions covered by your policy.”
Watch out for health insurance pitfalls
According to Joe Cronin, president of International Citizens Insurance. “Some policies won’t cover medical care if it’s related to a pre-existing condition,” he warns. However, some travel insurance companies will cover a waiver for a pre-existing condition if you purchase the policy within 14-21 days of the initial deposit, so be sure to review the pre-existing condition language. before you buy a policy.
Triggers, or qualifying statements, are a pillar of travel insurance policiesaccording to Angela Borden, product strategist at seven corners. “For example, many plans on the market allow travelers to cancel a trip and receive reimbursement for their travel expenses if they are involuntarily fired or laid off from their job,” she says. But this type of trigger usually includes a qualification statement regarding the length of employment.
“It can range from as little as one continuous year to five continuous years,” she says. “If you were unaware of this requirement and you were terminated from a job you had only had for six months, the trigger would not apply and there would be no reimbursement coverage. insured travel expenses.”
Your coverage may not take effect immediately
You may have to wait for your coverage to take effect. “With certain benefits, such as trip delay, baggage delay, loss of personal items and a missed connection, there is usually some time that must elapse before coverage applies,” explains Beckah. Ripley, director of operations and marketing at insurance there.
For example, a delay must be at least 6 hours (and up to 12 hours, or even more, depending on the policy) before you are eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses such as hotels and extra meals you have. incurred during the delay.
Read the undo part – again
“The most overlooked element is a covered reason to cancel a trip,” says John Rose, risk and security manager for AROUND, a travel management company. He says travelers assume they are still covered and will get all their money back if they have to cancel.
“But they need to read the fine print and clearly understand what’s covered and what’s not,” he adds. “You can’t cancel and get all your money back because you’re afraid to travel. In fact, most policies have zero coverage if someone cancels out of fear, like COVID or war.”
Rose also says you might not be covered if you have to cancel your trip because you got sick. It depends on the font you purchased. And the only way to be sure is to – yes, you guessed it – read the fine print.
Tip: Your police certificate will be provided as a downloadable PDF. Open the document and use the search function to find “covered reasons”, advises Damian Tysdal, editor of CoverTrip.com. “It makes it easy to find the right section to read.”
What if you want to cancel for any reason?
You can do it, says Pallavi Sadekar, chief operating officer at VisitorGuard.com. It’s called a “cancellation for any reason policy, and it will refund between 50% and 75% of your prepaid, non-refundable expenses.” part of the cost of the trip,” she adds. It’s also more expensive than regular named peril insurance policies, which cost around 10% of the cost of your trip.
Also be aware of what is not in the policy
If your winter trip is more adventurous, you need to pay attention not only to what’s in the policy, but also what’s not. For example, some basic plans offered by Faye travel insurance cover skiing, snowboarding and surfing at no additional cost. “But for thrill seekers looking to go skydiving, heliskiing, bungee jumping or heli-snowboarding, you will need to purchase an add-on to your plan for additional protection,” says Doron Samish. , Vice President of Products at Faye. . Additional coverage for adventure and extreme sports can increase the the cost of your travel insurance 35-45%, but it also includes medical coverage for any injuries you may sustain.
Know what you need to file a claim
“It’s the first thing”, declares Chelsea Capwell, spokesperson for TravelInsuranceMaster.com. “You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to find out you should have kept those important receipts or documents for a successful claim.”
The fine print will tell you what you need to file a claim. Capwell recommends that you take a few minutes to read the requirements. That way, she says, you know what documents are required if you need to file a claim, saving you unnecessary time and hassle you don’t need while on vacation.
Look for other exclusions
Scour your insurance policy for exclusions (words like “except” and “not covered” will reveal them). “For example, some companies may require the policyholder to call them first to get approval for a travel emergency to be covered,” says Jiten Puri, CEO of the Canadian travel insurance site. Political Advisor. “Or some travelers heading south in the winter may decide to try surfing, only to find it’s not covered by their plan – and by then it may be too late.”
The only way to find these important exclusions is to read the policy. It may be boring, but it could save you a lot of money.
Check the other fine print
Travel insurance isn’t the only thing that covers you when you travel. For example, you may be covered if you paid by credit card. Likewise, your tenant or home insurance may cover you.
“Many travelers don’t realize they can get extra protection from travel suppliers,” says Marcus Räder, CEO of Hostaway, a vacation rental management platform. “For example, Airbnb offers AirCover Reservation Protection and a Check-In Guarantee. If the property you’re renting for your vacation isn’t what you paid for, you’re entitled to a refund through this service.”
It’s always worth checking the company’s service guarantee as well as your usual travel insurance coverage.
Proofread your policy
No one likes to read contracts (unless maybe you’re a contract lawyer). But the more expert advice you get on the fine print, the more you realize you should probably read the travel insurance policy — cover to cover. This way you will understand the basic conditions and benefits. “You need it before you go on vacation,” says Beth Godlin, president of the Aon Affinity Travel Practice.
“Consumers should not be afraid to call their travel insurance provider for any questions,” she adds, noting that you have a two-week “free consultation” period, after which the policy becomes non-refundable. In other words, read the policy as soon as you can.
Warning: this is not the year to ignore the fine print
Travel experts say whatever you do, don’t overlook the fine print during the upcoming travel season.
“The surge in holiday travel demand that we are seeing increases the likelihood of canceled flights,” says Rajeev Shrivastava, CEO of Visitors.com Coverage, a travel insurance market. “So it’s crucial to read the flight cancellation fine print and understand what your policy can and can’t do for you.”
With the busy Thanksgiving holiday just weeks away, it’s a great time to check the fine print on your travel insurance to make sure you’re covered for anything. Because this holiday season, anything can happen.