7 Mistakes Travellers Make when Buying Travel Insurance

20 April 2012

Travellers who get in a bad spot on a trip, and then make a claim with their travel insurance company, often feel like they’ve been cheated when their claim is denied.

More often than not, however, they’ve made a mistake when purchasing their travel insurance. These are the most common mistakes made by travellers when buying their travel insurance.

1. Buying ‘travel insurance’ with your ticket via the airline’s website
Lately it seems that everyone is getting in on the trip protection game, and for a traveller, it seems like the easy choice: buy your airline ticket and for just a Rand more, you’ve got trip cancellation insurance. The problem is that the coverage is very narrowly defined and almost never delivers the protection a traveller wants and needs. You also don’t get a choice the cover or the premium – shop around!

2. Assuming your Credit Card has the Coverage you need
This is a common mistake, travellers avoid purchasing travel insurance because they believe they already have it with their credit card. While the advertising may look similar, the travel protections offered with your credit card agreement simply don’t measure up to the level of protection offered by a true travel insurance plan from a reputable travel insurance company.

3. Forgetting about recent illnesses
If you have seen a doctor for an illness or injury within the last 6 months, that’s going to be considered a pre-existing medical condition. If you encounter a problem related to that condition and you don’t have the pre-existing medical condition waiver, your trip insurance could be invalid.

4. Ignoring the Exclusions
Every insurance plan has exclusions, but the exclusions in your travel insurance plan can leave you in a bad spot. Travel insurance companies have to limit the coverage to limit their liability. Reading the policy wording is essential if you are to understand the plan.

5. Neglecting the covered reasons for trip cancellation
Many people assume ‘trip cancellation’ means for any reason at all, and that’s just not true. For example, you can’t cancel your trip because you just got divorced and don’t have the money to travel anymore if that’s not a covered reason listed in your policy (Cancel for Any Reason policies do cover this). All travel insurance plans provide a clear list of covered reasons for trip cancellation. If your reason isn’t on the list, your cancellation won’t be covered.

6. Failing to purchase the plan in time
While you can buy travel insurance right up until the day before you leave, nearly all plans require that you purchase your plan with a certain number of days from making your initial trip payment to have coverage for a number of travel risks, like Cancel for Any Reason and supplier financial default, for example. Buying your travel insurance as soon as possible is the best way to avoid common problems travellers encounter.

7. Providing incorrect trip details
When you receive your trip insurance documents in e-mail, stop and verify you’ve provided the correct information, such as your travel start and return dates, the traveller’s ages, your target destination, etc. If anything is wrong here, it can invalidate your travel insurance plan.

The solution?
Luckily all travel insurance policies have a free review period in which you can make changes and even cancel your policy.