Travelers who get in a bad spot on a trip, and then make a claim with their travel insurance company, often feel like they’ve been cheated when their claim is denied. Often, however, they’ve made a mistake when purchasing their travel insurance.
These are the most common mistakes made by travelers when buying their travel insurance.
- Buying ‘travel insurance’ with your ticket
Lately it seems that everyone is getting in on the trip protection game, and for a traveler, it seems like the easy choice: buy your airline ticket and for just a few dollars more, you’ve got trip cancellation insurance.
Our files are full of complaints about these types of plans. The problem is that the coverage is very narrowly defined and almost never delivers the protection a traveler wants and needs.
If you see that link to buy Travel Insurance now? DON’T CLICK IT!
- Assuming (never ASSUME!) your Credit Card has the Coverage you need
This is a common mistake, travelers avoid purchasing travel insurance because they believe they already have it with their credit card. While the advertising may look similar, the travel protections offered with your credit card agreement simply don’t measure up to the level of protection offered by a true travel insurance plan from a reputable travel insurance company.
- Forgetting about recent illnesses
If you have seen a doctor for an illness or injury within the look-back period, that’s going to be considered a pre-existing medical condition. If you encounter a problem related to that condition and you don’t have the pre-existing medical condition waiver, your trip insurance could be invalid.
If you purchase your travel insurance within the allotted window (the time between the date of your first dollar deposit on a trip and the amount of days you have to lock in the pre-existing waiver…different plans offer 10 day, 14 day and up to 21 days) the insurance company will remove the pre-existing condition clauses from the policy.
- Ignoring the Exclusions
Every insurance plan has exclusions, but the exclusions in your travel insurance plan can leave you in a bad spot. Travel insurance companies try to write their policies as broad as they can for the price they charge for the coverage. Not every reason you have to claim will be covered.
We heard about a father who was angry because his daughter’s trip interruption wasn’t covered. His daughter had abandoned her trip because her best friend committed suicide. Neither suicide nor best friends are included in the covered reasons for trip interruption, and reading the policy description is essential if you are to understand the plan.
- Neglecting the covered reasons for trip cancellation
Many people assume ‘trip cancellation’ means for any reason at all, and that’s just not true. For example, you can’t cancel your trip because you just lost your job if that’s not a covered reason listed in your policy (many policies do cover this).
All travel insurance plans provide a clear list of covered reasons for trip cancellation. If your reason isn’t on the list, your cancellation won’t be covered.
*CFAR-Cancel for any Reason policies are available. They can be as much as 25%-40% more in cost and return 70-75% of your trip cost.
- Failing to purchase the plan in time
While you can buy travel insurance right up until the day before you leave, nearly all plans require that you purchase your plan with a certain number of days from making your initial trip payment to have coverage for a number of travel risks, like pre-existing medical conditions and hurricanes, for example.
Buying your travel insurance as soon as possible is the best way to avoid common problems travelers encounter.
- Providing incorrect trip details
When you receive your trip insurance documents in e-mail, stop and verify you’ve provided the correct information, such as your travel start and return dates, the traveler’s ages, your target destination, your total trip cost, etc. If anything is wrong here, it can invalidate your travel insurance plan.
Every travel insurance plan comes with a free review period and in that timeframe, you can change or cancel your policy (for a minimal fee). Luckily all travel insurance policies – even those you purchase from the airline – have a free review period in which you can make changes and even cancel your policy.
A Better Solution!
Travel Insurance policies all have certificate wording (“the fine print”) which are available for you to review. If you are not well versed in insurance terms, or how to compare one policy from another, the experience can be intimidating and frustrating! The ideal solution is the find a licensed “travel insurance agent” who will take the time to help you understand what these policies “can and cannot do”. If you travel allot, it would be wise to find an agent who will get to know your personal situation and can recommend policies that fit your needs and your budget.
Chuck Burns 719-481-4027