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Know your policy: Travel insurance exclusions

Passport on a mapIf you’re thinking of heading off on a jolly, it’s always a smart idea to pack your travel insurance policy. As with all insurance, it’s best to opt for the exact level of cover you’re likely to require rather than merely the cheapest policy. In other words, be sure you’re getting a policy which caters for the type of trip you’re making.

Familiarising yourself with your policy may well save you a lot of heartache in future. And with travel insurance, knowing what’s excluded from a policy is as important as knowing what’s included. So here are a few of the more common exclusions and limitations to keep an eye out for:

Pre-existing medical condition

Travel insurance providers require that you inform them of pre-existing medical conditions before you travel. It’s important that you do so, because if you have to make a claim on the policy later, then the underwriters may ask for records from your GP; and if you have withheld any information they consider to be relevant to the claim, then it can be rejected.

This is not to say that if you have a medical condition then you won’t get insurance in all circumstances... It just means that the insurance providers need to know, and will calculate your premium accordingly. Common conditions such as diabetes and asthma are frequently covered by insurance providers for example, so long as they’ve been informed.

Cruises

Cruises are often not covered by basic policies, so be sure to look for a policy which does.

Low-budget flying

If you’re off on a budget airline, you may want a policy that affords protection from flight delays or cancellations.

Winter sports

If you’re heading off on a skiing or snowboarding holiday then you’ll want to make sure you’re adequately covered for winter sports. For a detailed breakdown of scenarios that you may wish to consider, follow this link to our ‘Finding yourself without winter sports cover may be snow joke’ article.

Other ‘extreme’ and adventure sports

If you quite fancy getting up to some adventurous sporting whilst away, think about whether an insurance underwriter is likely to consider those activities dangerous. Such sports will vary significantly in terms of coverage.

The best bet is to think of what you might wish to do beforehand, and check those activities against the policy. The terminology varies between insurance providers, but look for ‘adventure sports’ or ‘extreme sports’ (or anything which might mean an activity in which you may get a few scratches and bumps) exclusions and inclusions. You may find that you can upgrade your policy to cover what you want to do – which could prove to be an invaluable safety net for a few extra quid.

Danger zones

Rather unsurprisingly, any claim on your travel insurance policy will most likely be refused if you are travelling to a country that the government has advised you NOT to travel to. This could be due to exposure to disease or – more frequently – civil unrest. If you are in any doubt, go to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website and browse by country.

Policies sometimes also include ‘Act of God’ clauses, which limit liability for natural phenomena such as lightning strikes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and so on. So if you’re heading to an area which could be considered volatile in this respect, then check for this on your policy.

In addition, the vast majority of travel insurance policies will not cover you for acts of terrorism.

Actually, the best advice we can give is to steer as far clear from mortal peril as you possibly can. And have a great trip!




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Owe Carter

Owe Carter

Owe Carter has been a consumer interest writer for Confused.com since 2007. His career as a scribe began in local press, which saw him hunting ghosts, taking challenges from readers, living as B.A. Baracus for a week, and seeking out Pembrokeshire’s happiest dog.

Twitter: @ConfusedOwe
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