“If only I read the fine print”… Travel insurance must-knows

Have you heard the story of the Canadian mother who gave birth whilst holidaying in Hawaii, only to be slammed with a whopping $1 million medical bill as her travel insurance didn’t cover her?

We are sure she exclaimed “if only I read the fine print!”

So to breeze through your holiday worry-free, we scoured the fine print of a number of travel insurance providers to bring you the top travel insurance must-knows:

1. Medical risks

This seems the most appropriate place to start, as medical bills are one of the biggest travel related money drains. It’s always wise to choose a policy with unlimited medical cover - as proven above medical bills can run into the hundreds of thousands, even millions!

Also inform your insurance provider of any pre existing medical conditions before you jet-set (including pregnancy) and keep in mind mental illness like anxiety and nervous disorders may not be covered unless you pay an extra premium.

2. Tourist activities

You’re on holiday (woohoo!) and just wanna have a blast. We don’t want to be the fun police but adrenaline seeking junkies beware your travel insurance may not cover you for bungee jumping, paragliding, white water rafting...even hot air ballooning! Thankfully there are some policies out there that will cover “extreme sports” for an additional premium.

Some other surprising exclusions we found in the fine print include injuries as a result of playing a game of beach football, running a marathon and riding a motorcycle with more than 200cc.

3. The holiday tipple

Unfortunately, travel insurance providers are a bit like your grandma: they don’t care if you’ve just had a couple. If you’ve touched the vino, you’re intoxicated and most providers won’t cover you “under the influence of alcohol”.

We’re not going to tell you to steer clear of booze for your entire holiday (because who doesn’t have a few mojitos at the resort bar?) but we will suggest steering clear of activities whilst enjoying a few, instead leave the wining for after dinner.

4. Suppliers bankruptcy

If your airline or tour operator goes belly up, you could lose the money you’ve put towards your epic trip. So read the fine print to see whether you’re covered in this scenario and if not, weigh up the risk based on your itinerary.

5. Countries of unrest

Most travel insurance policies won’t cover you if you visit a country listed as “do not travel” by Smart Traveller. If you’ve pre-purchased travel insurance and travel warnings heighten before you leave, you’re covered but if you haven’t, you will have to foot the bill for changes in your itinerary.

Tips for buying travel insurance

- Do your research. Compare various policies to see which is the best fit for the holiday.

- And then do some more research. Fine comb the fine print, to check for any exclusions that might mess up your trip.

- Don’t start your cover on the day you depart. Buy your travel insurance when you buy your plane ticket or book your cruise, to ensure you’re reimbursed for any unforeseen events, such as illness.

- Opt for unlimited medical cover. If your holiday takes a horrible turn for the worse, you won’t be left with a big hospital bill at the end of it.