Travel insurance : What you don’t know will come back to haunt you.
This post was written by Andrea Girones:
Recent cuts to the out of province payment plan in Ontario have prompted may people to purchase private medical coverage for out of province trips. A recent purchase I made for my daughter’s school trip made me realize how complex this issue is. Here are my tips.
- Always answer the questions accurately.
This is general advice I always offer with every insurance policy, car, home, life , disability. Insurance applications require 100% candour at all times. Do not minimize, ignore, or wish away medical treatment of any kind. Do not guess, always be certain. The slightest misrepresentation can invalidate the whole policy. So this is the obvious answer.
However many travel policies don’t ask any questions at all. So people feel safe as no misrepresentation are made.
- If they don’t ask you any questions BE VERY WORRIED
If they don’t ask anything, that means that all the exclusions ( and every policy has them) are buried in the fine print. Get a copy of the actual policy and READ IT, focusing particularly on the EXCLUSIONS portion.
The most common exclusion will include “pre-existing health issues”. If you go to a doctor one week before your trip with terrible kidney pain and then during the beach vacation you have a hospital stay for kidney stones, that won’t be covered. This is obvious, but many other situations are more nuanced.
Some policies allow coverage for pre-existing conditions that are “medically stable” this will be a defined term that you must read. Trying a new medication for a chronic disease could mean your condition was not “stable”. Planning a CT scan for the week you are home, could mean your condition is not “stable” as there was treatment contemplated.
- READ the COVERAGE and EXCLUSION sections or ask the broker
Every policy is different. The public service travel insurance provisions were different from the Manulife policy we purchased from Costco. One of them specifically excluded medically controlled cardiac and lung conditions. One covered standard treatment and the other only emergencies. One will not cover a “minor mental health emergency”, also a defined term.
I know that reading the fine print is a bore, but the cost of not doing it is significant. Be mindful of your health as well before leaving on any trip.
Call us today to obtain free advice on your travel insurance denial.