Travel, or any kind of insurance for that matter, isn’t all that easy to understand. Many of the policies come with an entire Terms and Conditions booklet, which I am sure very few people, if anyone, actually read. It should come with little surprise then, that there are some common misconceptions about travel insurance.
Misconception 1: I don’t need travel insurance in Europe because I have an EHIC card
Reality: Having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) doesn’t mean you’re fully covered and you should still consider buying travel insurance. Most European countries won’t pay the full cost for medical treatment despite EU’s health care agreements. Something as simple as a broken leg might end up costing you thousands. Most airlines won’t let you fly home alone and will require a medical escort for safety reasons in case of any complications during the flight.
Misconception 2: I have a cancellation insurance so I can cancel my flight anytime
Reality: This is a very common misconception. Cancellation insurance is still an insurance against some unforeseen event. This means that just because you have cancellation protection or insurance, this doesn’t mean that you can go ahead and cancel your trip whenever you want. The way things will usually happen is that you won’t be reimbursed by the airline for your airfare. Instead, upon your return home you have to file a claim with the insurance company and provided that your reason is deemed valid (i.e. illness) you’ll get your money back in some time.
Misconception 3: Delayed, cancelled and overbooked flights are covered
Reality: Not quite. This happened to a friend of mine who’s very big on insuring anything he owns. His flight was delayed because of a problem with the wing of the aircraft, and he ended up spending the night at a cheap airport hotel. When he filed a claim, the insurer turned it down under the pretext that the delay was caused by a mechanical failure with the aircraft and that isn’t covered. Indeed most insurance companies will deny responsibility for lost deposits if the delay or cancellation occurred because of a technical issue.
Luckily, we are working on something that will address this issue and help you get up to 600 EUR if you happen to be in a similar situation like my friend. So make sure you stay tuned to be the first to benefit!
Misconception 4: My insurer will not know about any pre-existing conditions, so I just won’t say anything.
Reality: Actually, they will. If you end up requiring treatment while abroad because of a pre-existing conditions, your entire plan will be void and you’ll be stuck with the bill. A simple medical record will be sufficient to determine that you’ve had a pre-existing condition. So make sure you get the comprehensive plan and that you’re covered, otherwise it’s a risky game to play.
There are many other things which may void your policy, but the one that is most often ignored is alcohol. If you’ve suffered an injury under the influence of alcohol, even if the latter is completely unrelated, then there’s a good chance that the insurer won’t accept your claim. We’ve discussed this in our most common travel mistakes - drink responsibly while traveling!
Misconception 5: I have full coverage, therefore I am fully covered
Reality: There’s no such thing as “full coverage”. It’s a legal term, which is used to describe certain events under which you’re deemed to be covered. Although some policies will cover you for millions, virtually all have a maximum limit on payouts, so you’ll be responsible for the excess. Make sure to read the “exclusions” section of your policy, as many plans will not cover you if you engage in particularly risky activities, nor if what happened to you is a result of an act of war, engaging in illegal activities, consuming controlled substances, etc.
Travel insurance is a multi billion dollar market and is growing at nearly 10% a year. So don’t be fooled into thinking that insurance companies will take your claim lightly. Make sure you educate yourself ahead of time and disclose anything that’s relevant. Better safe than sorry.