Travel Insurance – The 6 Most Important Things to Know

Travel Insurance - 6 Tips

Know what you are covered for –  the 6 Most Important things you need to know about your Travel Insurance Policy.


1.  Maximum Emergency Medical Limit – is it high enough

The amount of coverage is very important.  Emergency Medical Bills can easily go into the $100,000s + for emergency operations.  Add in air ambulance and you  have a whopper of a bill waiting for you upon your return home.
Some travel insurance plans only cover a minimal amount, such as $10,000 or $20,000.  This is not enough.  You need more.  And it doesn’t have to cost that much more to get coverage with a decent limit, such as $1,000,000 or $5,000,000.

So, get covered with a policy with at least $1,000,000.  The one that I offer is $5,000,000 maximum limit.


2.  Pre-Existing Condition /Stability Clause – how long, how specific

Almost all Emergency Medical Travel Insurance has a pre-existing clause.  Whether you are being covered under a group plan, credit card, association plan, or private plan.  Each plan has its own definition of pre-existing condition clause/stability clause.

Some group plans have a clause that is very broad and open ended – such as
no coverage if
 an illness or injury that could not have been reasonably anticipated based on the patient’s prior medical condition
Other group plans are very specific, similar to private travel insurance plans – see below.

Most private travel insurance has a very specific pre-existing condition clause.
Some pre-existing conditions will be completely excluded from coverage – such as heart conditions where you are currently taking nitroglycerin, or lung conditions if you are on oxygen.

Some plans will cover pre-existing conditions –  that are considered stable within a specific time frame, such as 3, 6, 9 or 12 months prior to departure (not prior to when you apply for coverage).


3.  Stability – what you think is stable is often different from what a travel policy will say is stable – so read what your policy says

Stability has a specific definition too – so if you think you are stable, and your doctor says it is ok to travel – that may not match what the insurer considers as stable.

An Example of being stable in a policy – you are stable if during the 3,6,9, or 12 months (depending on your plan) before departure (not when you apply date) the following:
– no new symptoms
– medical condition is not worse
– no new medication,
– no change in medication (some exceptions apply)
– no medical tests re pre-existing condition  -completed ,schedule, recommended.  People often schedule tests for after their return from a trip.  This would count as not being stable.
-no referral to a specialist during the stability period

So read what Stability means in your policy contract.  There will be a definition area of your policy (often the last pages) that will clearly explain your policy definitions.


4.  Misrepresentation Clause – inaccurate medical answers can void your entire Travel Policy

For certain age groups – you may be required to answer medical questions when purchasing travel insurance.

If you do have to answer medical questions, you should declare everything.  Even when you think it is unimportant.  Even if your doctor told you not to worry, it was nothing.  Declare everything!

An inaccurate statement, even if it does not have anything to do with your medical emergency will cause your entire policy to be void.  And your medical emergency for any reason will not be covered.

The clause might look like this:  No coverage if you had not truthfully and accurately answered all the questions in the medical questionnaire – if applicable.

Many people are reluctant to answer yes to the questions when they feel a medical event was a non event. They fear it may mean that they are not eligible for insurance.  But not to worry. If the regular application says you are not eligible because of an answer to a medical question, we have a solution.  There is a special application that can be completed.  We forward it to the insurance company and they look at your medical situation on an individually underwritten basis.

This way, you have answered the questions accurately, and get the travel coverage you need.

So if your answers on a regular application say you are not eligible, and you have a trip coming up, contact me for a special application and we will apply for underwritten coverage for you.

And declare everything!


5.  Exclusions & Limitations – knowing what is not covered is as important as knowing what is covered

Going on trips we often like to do things we wouldn’t do at home.  Fun sports for example.

Make sure you know what is not covered under your travel insurance policy.
Common exclusions are:

Hazardous Sports Exclusion – such as hang-gliding, parachuting, rock climbing.
Intoxication Exclusion –  Some travel insurance policies have an exclusion for medical emergencies related to intoxication, drug overdose

and more….


6.  Call the Travel Assistance Hotline Immediately – otherwise your claim reimbursement can be limited

The Travel Assistance Hotline is there to help you get the medical attention you need.
They can be valuable intermediaries between you and the hospital/medical facility.
And they can confirm to you and the medical facility what you are and are not covered for.
They will also arrange to have your claim processed through your government health coverage such as OHIP.

You need to call the Hotline immediately.  Usually the travel policy will have a time frame for calling such as 24 or 48 hours from time of the event.

If you do not call, your claim reimbursement may be limited, to 20% of the medical bills.
So please call immediately.  If you are unable to call, make sure a travelling companion or your emergency contact person does call.

Wishing you all happy and healthy travels!

Travel Insurance info – Brochures and Instant Quotes
visit my travel insurance page here.

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