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Travel insurance. Here’s what it doesn’t cover

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Comprehensive travel insurance is a great way to bring you peace of mind on your holidays. It will cover you for a medical emergency, cancellation of your trip, and a whole host of other events that you can't plan ahead for. But travel insurance doesn’t cover everything and it pays to know what events most travel insurance policies do NOT cover.

It’s always a good idea to read your insurance company’s policy details to get a full picture of what your travel insurance covers. Having said that, many people just don’t have the time nor the inclination to do that. They skim over the details and hope their travel insurance will cover them should the worst happen.

So as a starter, here is a list of a few situations where you may not be reimbursed even though you think that your claim is absolutely valid. The incidents we have chosen are standard industry practice across most insurance companies in Singapore.

What is not covered by comprehensive travel insurance?

1. You are not covered in certain countries.

Insurers will deny coverage if you travel to war-torn countries or destinations that have been declared unsafe by news outlets and governments. These include countries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Congo, Sudan, and Syria. Your insurer may think that these countries are too dangerous to visit. Each insurer will have a list of nations where your travel insurance policy is invalid. Intrepid travellers who risk going to the countries on the insurer’s blacklist will have a tough time trying to find a travel insurance policy to provide coverage for them.

2. You are not covered for most extreme sports.

Many standard travel insurance plans do not cover injuries resulting from extreme sports like skydiving, mountain climbing at high altitude, jet-skiing, and bungee-jumping. Check your policy details to find out exactly what is excluded.

3. You are not covered if travelling against the advice of a doctor.

You will not be covered for medical expenses if you are travelling against the advice of your doctor. And many standard travel policies do not cover your trip if it is for a medical purpose, including pregnancy-related reasons.

4. Injured under the influence of drink or illegal drugs

If you fall and hurt yourself when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may not be eligible for the reimbursement of your medical expenses. Therefore, if your insurance claim is very obviously as a result of being intoxicated or drugged, the insurer would probably be within its rights to refuse to pay you.

5. Missed deadline for seeking medical help in Singapore on your return.

In some cases you may need to continue your medical treatment even when you return to Singapore. Most policies will provide coverage for this. However, there is one caveat. Usually, many policies require you to visit a doctor in Singapore within a number of days of your return. A failure to make this visit within the stipulated time frame could result in the rejection of your claim.

6. You’ve recouped the costs from a travel agent or airline.

Generally, if you are able to recoup the costs for trip delays, disruptions or cancellations from your travel agent or airline, your insurer won't approve your claim. 

7. Buying travel insurance too late

Buying a single trip travel insurance policy AFTER news broke out of an insured event such as an airline strike, civil unrest, or an ash cloud/volcano. You may not be covered if you bought a travel insurance policy after news of such an event was made public. If you have an annual travel insurance plan then you will be covered from the moment you book your holiday. But if you book your holiday AFTER the insured event has been made public, then you will not be covered.

8. Accidentally leaving luggage in your hotel room

Most policies don’t cover acts of negligence such as leaving items behind in your hotel room. Do make sure you remain vigilant and on your guard whilst on holiday.

9. Failing to report stolen or lost items as soon as possible

If your belongings are lost or stolen you should report the matter to the local police within 24 hours and notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Failure to do so could mean your claim is rejected. You’ll need either a police report or proof of loss from a third party such as the hotel.

Here’s what travel insurance DOES cover

We’ve highlighted some events that travel insurance doesn’t cover. So what DOES travel insurance cover? Here’s a quick reminder;

Typically, a travel insurance provides payment in case an event happens. Events are generally divided into two categories;

1. Accident and medical. Insurers help you pay for medical bills if you happen to be in need of medical care. Or if you need emergency medical evacuation. They can also provide payments in cases of death or disability.

2. Travel inconveniences. Insurers provide reimbursements if your flight is cancelled, flight is delayed or if your baggage is lost, damaged or delayed.

There are other scenarios that are also covered, like missed flight connections or cancelled hotel room nights.

Read your travel insurance policy document carefully

We can’t stress this enough. If you want to understand the benefits that a travel insurance policy can provide, it is necessary to take the time to study the contract that you will be entering into with the insurer. By doing this, you will be better prepared if it is necessary to submit a claim. You are also less likely to get an unpleasant surprise if your claim is not passed.



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