7 July 2013

Almost every time you purchase something online you’re asked to read some sort of terms and conditions, and then tick a little box to say “I’ve read it”, but whether you actually read it or not is your decision.

However, by choosing to not read a travel insurance policy wording, how are you going to know exactly what is covered by your policy, to what extent and just as importantly, what’s excluded?

Granted, the policy wording may not be a page turning thriller, but to show you why it’s important here are a few things that you could miss by choosing not to read the policy wording which ultimately could see you being unable to claim successfully.

1. If you lose it, be prepared to prove it

Unfortunately, anyone can say they’ve lost something or had something stolen and underwriters are wise to this, which is why they ask that you provide evidence in order to substantiate your claim. For example, if you get your bag stolen or lose your passport whilst abroad, you will be required to report the crime to the local police station, often within 24 hours of its discovery and obtain a written official report of the incident. When you get home, you’ll need to supply this report along with any receipts or photographs you may have of the lost/stolen possessions.

2. You have 31 days to claim

The standard amount of time you have to submit a claim to your insurance underwriter following an incident is 31 days. Anything after this time, you’re insurer has the right to refute the claim completely. This is one reason why it’s so important to make sure you get any evidence such as police reports whilst you’re away so that you can press on with your claim the moment you get home.

3. Alcohol and drugs invalidate your insurance

Cocktails and holidays are like two peas in a pod, but you should be aware that incidents occurring whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol won’t be covered. That’s not to say you can’t have a tipple on holiday, but being intoxicated is a big insurance no no as more often than not it results in “self exposure to needless peril.”

4. Children must be named on the policy

If you’re purchasing a family insurance policy, make sure your children are named on the policy. It may seem like stating the obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often this is omitted, especially on policies where “kids go free” or travel insurance that comes with your bank account. If they’re not named, they won’t be covered.

5. You must declare your medical conditions 

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you must declare it. Again, failure to do so can see your entire policy being invalidated. You may be surprised to learn that many common medical conditions such as an underactive thyroid are covered at no extra cost. Some companies also give you the option to declare your medical conditions but opt-out of adding the additional medical cover. What that means is that you’ve told the underwriter that you have this condition but don’t want to cover it and you’ll be covered for any medical treatment required abroad that is unrelated to your condition.

Final Words

Before and after you buy your travel insurance do make sure you read the policy wording document. Despite what you may think, it’s not there to trip you up, it’s there to help!


By Nina Montgomery, Essential Travel Insurance Expert. Connect with Nina on Google+, or find out more about Essential Travel's backpacker insurance.