Travel insurance is not something you want to mess up. Mistakes with your policy usually end up costing you money – sometimes an amount you might not consider significant, but occasionally threatening to leave you thousands out of pocket.
Here are three of the most common mistakes people make with travel insurance that can end up hitting them in the wallet.
Not declaring a medical condition
Of all the travel insurance no-no’s, this one is the biggie. When you buy a policy, you absolutely have to declare any medical conditions you have, otherwise your whole policy could be invalidated.
People think of travel insurance as protecting them for things like delayed flights and stolen belongings, but actually the main reason to take it out is to cover the costs should you need medical attention abroad. Most policies include medical cover into the millions because they are designed to pay out for emergency care costs, up to and including repatriation in the most serious cases.
What standard policies are not designed for is covering costs associated with the treatment of specific diseases. If you have, say, a heart problem, respiratory disease, diabetes, arthritis or so on, you have to declare these so relevant treatments can be added to your insurance policy. You will usually have to go to a specialist provider to get this. If you do not declare and subsequently need medical attention, even for something completely unrelated to your condition, your provider will not pay out.
Assuming you get sports cover
Many people love to be active when they travel. But when they get injured taking part in the sporting pursuit of their choice, they get a nasty surprise when their travel insurance company refuses to pay out for their treatment.
As with medical conditions, if you are going away planning on doing anything that carries an extra risk of injury, from mountain biking to snowboarding, you should tell your insurer, who will either write additional cover into the policy or send you elsewhere. This is also a good reason to always read the small print to check exactly what any given policy does and does not cover you for.
Buying single trip policies for frequent travel
If you travel often, you can save money by buying annual multi-trip insurance policies. Instead of buying cover for the duration of a single trip to a single location, annual travel insurance is valid wherever you go for a full 12 months.
Not only is this convenient, meaning you don’t have to think about insurance for every new trip, it is also cost effective. Paying separately for insurance for three, four, five or more trips will soon come to considerably more than one multi-trip policy.
One word of warning about annual policies, however – for the most travel-happy, this type of insurance can still catch you out because they often have limits for the total number of trips allowed, the total amount of time spent away in a calendar year, or both. Again, always read the small print and shop around to find cover that fits your needs.