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Travel Insurance - Read the Small Print!

Jul 31, 2008
With cheap travel insurance available more widely than ever before, the vast majority of travellers will buy some kind of insurance policy before they go away. But how many people actually know what they are buying? Very few people read through their policy thoroughly enough, leaving themselves vulnerable to massive costs and missed claims. Here are a few of the things you need to check for when looking through your travel insurance policy.

Hazardous Sports and Activities

Worldwide travel insurance may cover you in every country, but it won't cover you for every activity! You need to check the small print of your policy carefully - basic and cheap travel insurance usually won't cover more dangerous sports and activities like rock climbing, snow boarding and bungee jumping. Of course, these more high risk activities are much more likely to result in injury, leading to some seriously expensive medical costs if your travel insurance isn't comprehensive.

Pre-existing medical conditions

This is relatively well known, but it still catches people out when they are buying discount travel insurance. Standard insurance will NOT cover you if you have a pre-existing medical condition, including asthma and diabetes - you will have to get specialist insurance with higher premiums in order to be fully covered.

Death in the family

If you have to return home in a hurry due to an illness or death in the family, even cheap travel insurance usually has some kind of cover for your travel costs in the 'Curtailment' part of the policy. But be aware - there are a number of terms and conditions you need to be aware of. It won't cover you if your close relative is suffering from a pre-existing medical condition or long term illness that you are already aware of. Travel insurance policies are also very specific about who counts as a close relative; usually you'll only be able to claim if the relative in question is a parent, grandparent, partner, child or sibling.

Travellers Over 65

Fortunately, most travel insurance companies make this restriction fairly explicit, but not all! If you are over 65, you will need to get specialist travel insurance, and the price is likely to go up significantly since older travellers are considered to be higher risk.

Reckless behaviour

Many people think that once they have their worldwide travel insurance that they have a free rein to do whatever they like and their insurance company will bail them out. Not so - most travel insurance companies (reasonably enough) won't cover you for what is deemed to be reckless behaviour, especially if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.

Theft, Receipts and Police reports

If you've been the victim of theft, make sure that you report it to the local authorities. They may do little more than give you a reference number, but without this reference a travel insurance company is not likely to process your claim. Keep the receipts for any valuables you take with you as well - if you can't prove ownership of a valuable item in the first place, you'll struggle to make a successful claim if it is taken.
About the Author
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of Journey's Travel. Their commercial travel insurance website, Insuremore, offers cheap travel insurance for families, singles, children and skiers with free cover against acts of terrorism and a quick and easy online claims feature.
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