It's important for all travellers to know what their travel insurance covers. It's worth noting that not all travel insurance products are the same.
Always check the small print of your travel insurance policy. This article only gives general advise as to what is covered.
For many travellers, the number one reason to buy travel insurance is for financial protection in case they can’t take their trip. With Trip Cancellation coverage, you can protect all of your prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses.
Trip Cancellation can refund 100% of your trip expenses if you cancel your trip before leaving for a reason covered by your policy.
If you get sick or injured while traveling abroad, most domestic health insurance plans, including Medicare, likely won’t extend coverage overseas. However, medical and medical evacuation benefits are built into most travel insurance policies, and can cover you in multiple countries while you’re traveling.
There are two main travel medical insurance benefits: Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation.
Emergency Medical coverage can reimburse you for the costs associated with medical treatment for an illness or injury during your trip. This can include coverage for physician services, ambulance services, and hospital charges, among other expenses.
Emergency Evacuation Travel Insurance
Medical evacuations due to accidents or natural disasters can cost upwards of $500,000. Naturally, this is where having a solid insurance plan comes in handy. Most insurance plans will evacuate you to a local hospital in case of injury or a nearby location in the case of a natural disaster.
In some cases, you will be repatriated back to your home country as well (though this is rare and usually only occurs in cases where local medical staff can’t provide the assistance you need).
As with other medical emergencies, what’s covered here is accidental injury and sudden pain. For example, chipped teeth or a sudden infection.
General checkups are not covered, nor is major dental work that doesn’t relate to an injury or accident sustained abroad. And if you just want your teeth cleaned or a new filling, you’ll have to pay for that out of pocket.
The travel insurance coverage for your personal items can include lost or damaged items, or delayed luggage.
If your luggage is delayed, you can be refunded up to the policy’s benefit limit, to purchase clothes and other essentials after 12-24 hours. This benefit won’t refund the cost of the actual items that are delayed, however, if your luggage is permanently lost or damaged, you can be reimbursed to replace the lost items.
You will sometimes be reimbursed for additional hotel charges, travel and other expenses incurred in the country you visited, while obtaining the replacement of a lost passport. Such loss must be reported to the police within 24 hours.
Many travel health plans have rules around how they’ll cover pre-existing conditions, starting with how they define “pre-existing.”
Often plans have a “look-back” period, meaning the plan will look back at your medical history to see if a condition appeared during a period that could range from 90 days to one year, depending on the policy.
Travel insurance can help protect your experiences by reimbursing you for unused prepaid expenses if covered circumstances force you to cancel or interrupt your trip earlier than planned.
This means you can travel again sooner, with less waiting to refill your bank account.
Trip-cancellation coverage will help pay you back for money you’ve already spent on your vacation if you have to cancel your trip for covered reasons ranging from a family member getting sick or hospitalized to you being summoned for jury duty.
Trip interruption will help do the same, if you’re already traveling and have to cut your trip short. Many trip-interruption benefits also help you pay the difference for a higher-priced, last-minute flight home.
Some Other Benefits
Some plans have benefits for when your flight is cancelled and you ha
When it comes to delayed, damaged or lost luggage, every traveller has a woeful experience to share.
Damaged or Stolen Gear
Most travel insurance plans will include coverage for lost or stolen gear, such as laptops, cameras, and mobile phones. However, these high-ticket items usually have a cap on how much you’ll get back (usually under $1,000 USD per item). If you’re traveling with expensive gear, you’ll want to pay for supplementary coverage to make sure it’s sufficiently covered.
Be sure you have receipts for all your gear as well. Keep copies of them in your inbox, so if something happens, you can file your claim without having to track down copies.
While every plan is different, here is a list of the most common things that will not usually be covered by your standard or basic travel insurance plan:
Accidents sustained while participating in extreme activities, like hang gliding, paragliding, or bungee jumping (though you can often upgrade to plans that do cover those activities)
Technical climbing or alpine hiking (again, some plans can be upgraded to cover these activities)
Alcohol- or drug-related incidents (including death)
Carelessness in handling your possessions and baggage
Pre-existing conditions. For example, if you have diabetes and need to buy more insulin, you won’t be covered
General checkups for non-emergencies
Stolen cash (usually not covered by the standard “theft coverage,” though some companies, like World Nomads, can insure a limited amount of your cash)
Missed flights or connections for reasons under your control
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