ST. PETERSBURG, FL – November 20, 2012 – Because the language is legal in nature, deciphering the definitions and exclusions of travel insurance policies can be difficult. Squaremouth, America’s fastest-growing travel insurance comparison site, regularly receives policy questions because of this. The following list provides the most common mistakes made when purchasing travel insurance in order to help travelers get their next purchases right.
Don’t Make These Mistakes:
1. Misunderstanding pre-existing condition exclusions
Pre-existing medical conditions include any illnesses that develop or change during a policy’s “look-back period,” which is the 60-180 day window prior to purchase. Travelers usually only think about the health of those listed on a policy and don’t consider the pre-existing conditions of family members who aren’t traveling. However, many providers will also examine non-traveling family members for these conditions.
“This can be an issue if cancellation is caused by a non-traveling family member with a pre-existing condition,” says Chris Harvey, Squaremouth’s CEO. Consider a traveler who has to cancel a trip because his father is hospitalized due to a pre-existing condition. If the traveler’s insurance policy takes pre-existing conditions of non-traveling family members into account, but does not include pre-ex coverage, associated losses cannot be claimed. Because of this, it is crucial to make sure policies either include pre-existing condition coverage or do not consider the health of non-traveling family members if this is a cancellation concern.
2. Purchasing unnecessary “cancel for any reason” coverage
Travelers often purchase “cancel for any reason” when they just need “trip cancellation” benefits. “Cancel for any reason” allows travelers to cancel trips, up to two days before scheduled departure, without providing a reason. The benefit generally increases a policy’s premium by about 50%, and will not reimburse 100% of trip costs; depending on the policy, this benefit may allow travelers to recover 60-90% of costs.
Because of these stipulations, Squaremouth advises travelers to make sure the coverage they need isn’t already included in their policy’s “trip cancellation” benefits. “Trip cancellation” reimburses up to 100% of trip costs if a trip is cancelled for a covered reason. Depending on the policy, covered reasons may include: death, injury or sickness of travelers, travel companions, or family members, terrorism, financial default, common carrier strikes, or poor weather conditions.
3. Purchasing too late
One of the most common mistakes made by travelers is purchasing travel insurance policies too late. Although insurance can be purchased up until the day before scheduled departure, many benefits are time-sensitive. Pre-existing conditions and “cancel for any reason” benefits are not available if a policy is not purchased within the required timeframe. Similarly, cancellation and interruption benefits for weather, financial default, and common carrier strikes are only valid if a policy is purchased while such events remain unforeseen. Purchasing a policy early gives travelers the opportunity to maximize these benefits.
4. Misunderstanding baggage and personal items loss maximums
“Baggage and personal items loss” benefits will reimburse travelers for the loss or theft of items during their trip. Like the benefit schedules of some emergency medical coverage, the maximums of “baggage and personal items loss” may also have limitations.
Usually, “baggage and personal items loss” benefits have an overall maximum, and smaller, per item and “specific item” maximums. “Specific items” often include valuables like jewelry, furs or electronics. When traveling with valuables that exceed a policy’s baggage and personal items loss maximums, Squaremouth recommends that travelers schedule these items with homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies to make sure their belongings are adequately insured.
5. Not examining benefit schedules for emergency medical coverage
Some travel insurance policies have specific benefit schedules for emergency medical coverage. This means that a policy may have a $50,000 maximum, but within that, there are smaller maximums for specific procedures or treatments. These may include caps on dental treatments, daily hospital expenses, surgeries, x-rays, and ambulance services.
If there are restrictions to emergency medical maximums, they will be fully detailed in a policy’s certificate. Travelers should review certificates for any restrictions to ensure they are comfortable with the medical coverage offered.
Travel insurance can be a great way to protect travel dollars against the unforeseen, but is important to understand policy definitions and restrictions. These five most common mistakes with insurance purchases can be avoided by reviewing policy certificates and speaking with insurance experts prior to purchase. Doing so will ensure that travelers receive the coverage they need.
Squaremouth has knowledgeable, licensed representatives who are delighted to assist with questions. They can be reached at 1-800-240-0369, Monday-Friday, from 9am-9pm EST.
Squaremouth is America’s fastest-growing travel insurance comparison site, providing the tools to instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major provider. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, with offices in Fort Wayne, IN. For more information on Squaremouth or its extensive network of partner sites worldwide, visit www.squaremouth.com.
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