Travel Insurance Basics

Travel insurance benefits are conditioned upon key concepts, terms and provisions which define not only what is covered, but items that may not be covered or are limited by definition.  Understanding what these provisions are and how they work is key to understanding what you are buying.

Unforeseeable losses: travel insurance like all other insurance is designed to provide coverage for unforeseeable losses which occur after your purchase of the policy.  If a circumstance or event has occurred prior to your purchase, generally, it will not be covered.


Example: you will not be covered for a loss due to a hurricane if you purchased your policy after the hurricane has been named, because once named and known, it is no longer unforeseeable that a loss may occur.  Remember, you cannot insure your car for collision damage after the accident!

Definitions: the policy definitions detail the meaning of the important terms and conditions of the policy you purchase.  Definitions are used to give specific meaning to what is covered and what may be excluded from coverage or otherwise limited.  If you are canceling your trip due to a sickness, injury or death of a member of your family, to be covered, the individual must be a “Family Member”, as defined.

Example: most “Family Member” definitions include a wide variety of relatives from grandparents to grandchildren, to Domestic Partners and to relatives of spouses and Traveling Companions, but generally do not include cousins.

Exclusions and Limitations: policy exclusions detail losses, events or circumstances that are specifically not covered.  There are two types of exclusions.  General exclusions apply to the policy in total, while specific exclusions may apply to a given benefit or circumstance.

Example: typically all policies have a general exclusion for war or acts of war.  Some policies may exclude losses arising from an epidemic or pandemic.  If you are purchasing a policy because of concern about an epidemic flu outbreak, you should not purchase a policy with this exclusion.

Important Tip! Since policy provisions, definitions and exclusions determine the scope of the coverages provided, you should take the time to review the policy/certificate before you buy, to better understand what you are purchasing.

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