Last Updated on Feb 22, 2022 by James W

Red Suitcase Travel Insurance

One of the most important things to understand about travel insurance—and really, any kind of insurance—is that all policies are not created equal. You can visit the HBF travel insurance website today to compare their policies.

Steve Dasseos, founder of the travel insurance sales and educational site, reiterates this point saying, “People assume that all policies work the same and that all terms are define the same way; that’s not true.”

To stay ahead of the game and understand the fine print of what your policy will cover in the event of cancellation, or if your travel plans change, here are 3 things you should pay special attention to.

Fine Print Point 1: Understanding Evacuation Coverage

In most cases, “medical evacuation” is not covered under the heading of “emergency evacuation”, and this is rarely understood, or explained, to a policy buyer.

If your policy does include medical evacuation specifically, it’s still important to ask questions to make sure it’s what you expect and that your other forms of insurance add up with it. Dasseo explains, “The trick with these is that they’ll transfer you from a hospital in the country where you’re located to one in the U.S. Of course, this means you have to be in a foreign hospital, which can result in steep medical bills when you get home, since many health insurance plans, as well as Medicare, don’t cover policyholders overseas.”

Fine Print Point 2: Understanding the “Pre-Existing Conditions” Clause

Unfortunately, if you’re travelling with a pre-existing condition (i.e. diabetes, high-blood pressure) and a medical problem arises born from this condition, chances are that your travel insurance won’t cover you. However, good policies will provide you some wiggle room.

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Look for policies that have a shorter “look-back period” of around 60 to 180 days; this period is the allotment of time the insurer will look back to determine if your condition is “pre-existing” under their definition. Policies that aren’t so great will have much longer look-back periods, or as travel attorney Al Anolik indicates, “I’ve seen policies that say if you’re ever taken medication for an ailment, it’s excluded.”

Fine Print Point 3: Understanding Terrorism Evacuation

More and more, travel insurance policies are covering cancellations, or interruptions, due to terrorist attacks, but usually the fine print dictates that it will only cover you if the attack happens in the city where you were present.

Anolik explains, “I handled a case for a tour group that went to Turkey and had the misfortune to be there when an attack occurred on the outskirts of Ankara. Because it technically took place in a separate municipality, the policies they thought would protect them didn’t pay out.”

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