Holiday makers know it’s important to get travel insurance just in case the worst happens — but do you know what it actually covers?
Travel insurance helps you claim if you need emergency medical treatment, your possessions were stolen while you were away, or you had to cancel a trip due to death, illness or bereavement.
But there are a lot of things travel insurance doesn’t cover — especially if you choose the basic policy.
Kelly Whittington, specialist claims manager at Aviva UK, said problems often arise when people think they are covered, only to discover they are not when they go to file a claim.
“It’s really important for people to check their policy documents so that they understand what is covered and what is not,” she said.
“Read your policy documentation – they will explain the scenarios covered and any exceptions – and check with your insurance company if you have more questions.”
Here are nine things you can discover:
Change your mind or make a mistake
Buying a vacation isn’t the same as buying a new coat—you can’t necessarily return it if you change your mind.
Kelly said travel insurance probably won’t help you if you suddenly decide you don’t want to go on vacation anymore unless you have a good reason, like a serious illness.
It’s also less likely to pay if it’s a mistake on your part that means you can’t go, such as missing your flight because you didn’t get to the airport on time.
Travel insurance is designed to assist customers in the event of an unforeseen emergency, such as seeking medical treatment abroad or needing to cancel because someone is sick and cannot travel.
“It’s not designed to cover people if they simply change their mind about their vacation – or oversleep and lose their plane!” She said.
If you’re planning on doing anything out of the ordinary on vacation, it’s really important to check that your travel insurance covers it.
Most policies do not cover activities such as skiing or diving as standard, so if you think you will, you need to find a policy for it.
Many travel insurance companies offer add-ons to standard policies for extra things like diving, golf, and winter sports – but you’ll have to pay more.
“Some of the ‘riskier’ sports may require a policy from a specialist insurance company,” Kelly said.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all travel documents such as passports and visas are valid before you travel.
It is highly unlikely that insurance policies will allow you to claim if the passport does not arrive in time.
“While you cannot claim if your passport does not arrive on time in the UK, holidaymakers will be covered for emergency travel documents should their passport be lost, stolen or damaged once they travel abroad,” Kelly explained.
Problems proving vaccinations
This is a similar problem to passports, Kelly said.
Some countries require proof of vaccination status in order to be able to enter a country.
She explained: “If you do not have the correct documents to enter a country, it is very unlikely that you will be able to file a claim.”
Cancellation for jury service
You may find that you are protected if you have to cancel your vacation to do jury service – but only if you find out after you’ve pulled the policy.
“Aviva travel insurance allows people to claim if they are called to jury service or laid off and need to cancel their vacation as a result,” Kelly said.
If you forget to do jury duty, or get an insurance policy after you find out, you won’t be able to file a claim.
Lost or stolen baggage
Don’t assume your luggage will be covered automatically – you may need an optional extra.
However, your items may also be covered if you have “personal belongings” cover as an addition to your home insurance, so make sure you don’t get cover for something you are already protected from.
You will not necessarily be able to claim if your flight is canceled because the airport, port or airspace you are scheduled to fly from or to is closed.
Some insurance companies offer optional airspace closing cover for this scenario – but as with everything, you need to read your document carefully.
Industrial strikes and strikes
If your transfer is canceled due to a strike, you may not be automatically covered.
However, many insurance companies offer a “travel disruption” add-on which can cover you from strikes and may also enable you to claim if there is official government advice not to travel to your destination, or if a natural disaster means you can. t stay where you intended.
Undisclosed medical problems
Kelly also cautioned that it is necessary to disclose your medical history when taking cover so that the insurance company can assess any risks and provide cover at a fair price.
“For those who have travel insurance through their bank or as an annual policy that automatically renews, it is essential that you check insurance coverage upon renewal and inform your insurance provider if anything changes,” she added.
If you don’t, you may risk not being able to file a claim if something about your illness or condition happens and you don’t initially declare it.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for the Sun Online Money team?