Why doesn't the Travel Insurance Company ask Medical Questions Before They Sell Me a Policy?

25 April 2012

Consumers of travel insurance have asked variations of this question over the years. As a consumer, you have the right to purchase travel insurance to protect your trip, but there are several mistakes travellers often make. We'll explain.

The primary mistake travel insurance consumers make is failing to read their policy.

What happens is that most travel insurance consumers purchase a plan that has ‘trip cancellation’ and they think that it means cancelling a trip for any reason, at any time, and getting a full refund – no matter what.

Travel insurance is no different than other insurance products in that is has limitations and exclusions.

The next mistake travel insurance consumers make is failing to purchase the right coverage.

If you know you have a pre-existing medical condition, or if you’ve been to the doctor to be treated for a condition, then it’s your responsibility to be honest with the travel insurance company about the situation and purchase the coverage you may need on your trip.

The travel insurance policy wording details the list of limitations and exclusions and that is your agreement with the travel insurance company. Typical medically related exclusions include items like the following (this is a summary only):

  1. Pre-Existing Conditions
  2. Suicide, attempted suicide or any intentionally self-inflicted Injury
  3. War, invasion, acts of foreign enemies, hostilities between nations (whether declared or not), civil war
  4. Piloting or learning to pilot or acting as a member of the crew of any aircraft/watercraft
  5. Mental or emotional disorders
  6. Participation as a professional in athletics
  7. Being under the influence of drugs or intoxicants, unless prescribed by a Physician
  8. Commission or the attempt to commit a criminal act by You, Traveling Companion or Family Member whether insured or not
  9. Participating in extreme skiing or mountaineering
  10. Pregnancy and childbirth (except for Complications of Pregnancy as specifically provided in the policy wording)
  11. Traveling for the purpose of securing medical treatment.

The travel insurance companies have done their part by making their policy available to you and, even better, giving you a free look period to review it, ask questions, and make changes or cancel your policy.

Now you have to do your part and read the policy to know that you’ve purchased what you need to cover your trip.