10 Things That Could Void Your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is essential for peace of mind while travelling abroad. However it is important to understand that there are limitations and exclusions on your policy. Not everything is covered and it is important to educate yourself before you travel so you do not run into a situation where your claim is denied or your policy is void.
Here is a list of reasons a Travel Insurance company may void your policy or deny your claim:
1: Failing to declare pre-existing conditions.
Your Broker will ask you if you have any pre-existing conditions. We ask this not only to ensure we are getting you the right coverage but also to make sure that you are eligible for coverage. Insurance companies all have different stability periods. This means that while one company may require that there be no changes to your condition 6 months prior to your trip another company may only require 90 days or less. It is important to be upfront with your broker and answer all questions accurately. There is no point in purchasing coverage you are ineligible for as it will be useless if you ever have a claim. We will do our best to find a company that meets your needs but we do require all pertinent information to be able to do that.
2: Preventable medical treatment or conditions.
Travel insurance will not cover you when you travel against the advice of your physician. Travel insurance is meant to cover you for acute, sudden and unexpected illness or injury and not those that could have easily been avoided. Not taking prescribed medication or going against your doctor’s orders could put your insurance coverage at risk.
3: Excessive drug or alcohol intake
Your insurance will not cover any illness or injury caused by your abuse of alcohol, drugs, or medication.
4: Professional sports or dangerous activities
Your insurance company will not cover you while you participate or train for any sport as a professional athlete.
They also will not cover you for your participation in any activities which they have labelled as dangerous or high-risk. This could be for normal resort activities such as scuba diving (except with a PADI or other recognized certification), parasailing, skydiving, cliff diving, but it also includes activities like motorized speed contests or stunt activities.
Every company’s wording is slightly different. If you plan on participating in activities on your resort please advise your broker. One company may cover parasailing while another may not.
5: You are pregnant…
When you are pregnant you are required to get regular medical checkups. However these routine pre-natal appointments are not covered by your travel insurance. Also it is important you let your broker know how far along you will be while travelling as insurance companies have different cut off dates in terms of how long into your pregnancy they will cover you. If you will be travelling in your 32nd week we don’t want to write your policy with a company who will not cover any childbirth or pregnancy complications after the 31st week of pregnancy. It is also good to note that if your pregnancy has been classified as “high risk” you will likely not have coverage at all. If you are pregnant you must discuss the details with your broker to ensure you have the proper coverage.
6: Illegal behaviour
Insurance will not pay for any claims you incur due to any fraudulent, dishonest, or criminal acts done by you or any person acting with you. If it’s illegal – you’re not covered.
7: Travel to volatile destinations
If the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Canadian Government has issued a warning prior to the effective date of your policy to avoid all travel – you will not be covered. Also, if a warning to avoid non-essential travel is issued and your illness or injury is related to or due to the reason for the warning you will not be covered.
It is a good idea to check out the following website before booking your trip and educate yourself on all potential risks of your destination. This could include vaccinations which often need to be administered more than two weeks ahead of your travel date.
8: Failure to arrange proper documents
It is your responsibility to make sure you have all official documentation required for the countries you plan to visit. If you are not admitted into your destination country due to a late or previously denied visa application your insurance will not cover you. However you will have coverage if you fail to obtain a valid travel visa for reasons beyond your control if you are a Canadian resident and are eligible for the travel visa.
9: Travelling for business or work without the proper coverage
If you are planning to work while you’re abroad, whether it is a paid or a voluntary position, then you must be sure that your policy will cover you. Some companies may cover you while other may not so be sure to advise your broker if you are travelling for reasons other than pleasure.
10: Failure to fill out your insurance application fully and honestly
A common reason for claim denials is the application is missing information or has not been filled out properly. This is a good reason to apply for coverage with your insurance broker and not online on your own. Insurance companies often ask questions like “within the last 12 months have you…” and some questions will apply to your application date while others will apply to your departure date. If you apply for travel insurance on your own, or even with your broker, it is very important to read or listen to the questions carefully and answer the questions as accurately as possible.
It is also a good idea to read your application over before submitting. You may notice or catch mistakes before they become a problem later. Check everything including the simple details like your birthdate and that your name is spelled correctly.
It is not uncommon in claims situations for insurance companies to request access to medical records. If they see information in your file that was not stated on your application they may believe you misrepresented your risk on your application. Insurance operates on utmost good faith and if there is any evidence you lied on the application the insurer may deny your claim. This denial may happen even if the information you failed to disclose has nothing to do with the illness that landed you in the hospital.
If you are unsure about your eligibility for coverage or what risks you will be covered for the best thing to do is contact a broker. They work on your behalf to find an insurance company and policy that will best fit your needs.