There are often complaints made by people who believed they had obtained the right travel insurance only to learn at a later date they were not covered for a certain event they had unfortunately experienced. This should not happen, but it is understandable, if you accept what is offered as ‘travel insurance’ without going into it any further at the time you accepted what was placed in front of you, there could easily be some conditions you didn’t understand or know about. The words ‘travel insurance’ are useless and meaningless if you don’t delve into what they actually mean. Different travel insurance providers have far different policies to each other. Where one travel insurance policy might be quite suitable for one traveller it might be totally useless to another.
Delay and Cancellation Cover
Many people place a lot of importance when taking out travel insurance on its cover of any delays and cancellations. All travellers know the potential of experiencing out of pocket costs, not to mention the obvious inconvenience of a delay in their tightly planned travel arrangements, let alone a fully fledged cancellation. The same people seldom go to the trouble to read the policy document to see how the insurance company actually deals with such situations. This means if such an event did occur during their travels they were not covered as they believed they should have been.
Insurers are quite ready to shift the blame in these situations by defining in their policies whether the delay or cancellation is as a result of the airline operator itself, in which case the airline operator would be responsible, or whether the delay or cancellation was beyond their control, in which case the insurer would pay up. If the delay or cancellation happened to be the fault of mechanical failure the airline usually covers any out of pocket costs they caused. If on the other hand the delay or cancellation was the result of a storm or other environmental occurrence the insurance company could be expected pay. This too is dependent on whether the traveller believed there could have been a delay because of inclement weather blowing in. If this is the case the insurer would be unlikely to pay up.
Travellers often find it hard to understand what an insurance company means by the term, ‘pre-existing medical condition.’ This often comes about because of another term ‘automatic coverage.’ In these cases whether you actually have coverage or not will often depend on how long ago you had treatment for your condition. Different travel insurers will treat pre-existing medical conditions differently to each other. Some will restrict their cover to a small number of non-serious medical ailments, others will require the traveller to undergo a doctor’s assessment, and others won’t provide any cover at all. The answer to all these varying situations will be found in the respective policy’s small print and it is the traveller who is obliged to make him or herself aware of where they stand in this respect. It is not the insurer’s responsibility. If for some reason you are unable to understand the fine print you can phone the insurer to check if you are covered or not. The insurer is obliged to give you an honest answer you will be able to rely on.
Travellers who, through no fault of their own, have to cut their travel short and return home to attend to a sick relative or attend to a family death, are covered by most travel insurers. Although you may find, in the small print, an age limitation has been included. It is not unusual for insurance companies to not pay up if the relative, you need to return for, is aged 75 years or more. There may also be a locality clause restricting return travel under these circumstances to relatives living in Australia or New Zealand only. Once again it is the responsibility of the traveller to determine if they are covered for these types of events and if so what restrictions are imposed, if any.
When you are travelling in a foreign country, especially in a country that speaks a different language than your own, it is wise to make certain you are covered for emergency assistance. You never know when an emergency will arise that you are not prepared for. If you have an emergency assistance clause included you will have the peace of mind of knowing you are only a phone call away from getting help.
Many people look on these anomalies as insurance companies looking for loopholes. This is not actually a fact. The conditions under which an insurance company will pay out will be laid out in their policy document. Any restrictions they place on any event occurring will have been assessed by the insurance company when they decided on a price to charge for the cover they provide. If you chose your travel insurance on the fact of it having a lower price than the others you were considering you may well find these restrictions are the reason why. It is a case of cheap not always being the best.
This article was written by John from Travel Insurance Finder.