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6 common reasons travel insurance claims are denied

May 5, 2023
3 mins
A woman reads a map at the airport

If you've purchased travel insurance, the last thing you want is for your claim to be denied because of a misunderstanding with your policy. Here are some of the most common reasons for denied claims and how you can prevent an out-of-pocket expense.

1. Routine and preventative healthcare

Most travel insurance plans are designed to cover emergencies like broken bones or sudden illnesses. However, routine healthcare — like a standard checkup — is excluded. If you have an upcoming routine medical checkup, schedule your appointment before or after your vacation.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition that resulted in a doctor’s visit or procedure prior to your trip, make sure you declare these when you apply for travel insurance so that your coverage is not denied if you need to file a claim while travelling.

2. Cancelling your trip for an uninsured reason

Travel insurance policies typically have a list of reimbursable reasons for cancelling your trip, such as death or severe illness.

If you end up cancelling for another reason, such as a sudden job interview, your travel insurance may not cover your cancellation costs. If you’re looking for maximum flexibility, consider purchasing "cancel for any reason" travel insurance.

3. Claims made outside listed dates and locations

When purchasing a travel insurance policy, you will need to provide the dates and countries you plan on visiting. If you become injured or ill before or after the dates listed on your policy, your travel insurance company will likely deny your claim.

The same is true if you are travelling within a country you failed to mention in your policy application. When signing up for travel insurance, be sure to provide all the requested travel information accurately.

4. Injuries occurring while intoxicated

Having a few drinks can be a fun way to kick off your vacation, but make sure to maintain self-control. Many travel insurance policies have an "alcohol exclusion," where the provider can deny claims for injuries that took place while the insured person was intoxicated.

So, if you have a few drinks and then slip while lounging around the pool, you might have to pay the hospital bill out of pocket.

5. Late or improper claim filing

Travel insurance policies typically have specific claims requirements. You'll need to provide all the necessary paperwork within the time period listed on your policy. If you wait too long to file a claim or don't have documents to support it, the travel insurance company may decide to deny you coverage.

If you have lost baggage, significantly delayed flights, or an unexpected trip to the emergency room, be sure to collect documents as evidence. You don't want the insurance company to deny your claim just because you forgot to compile the paperwork.

6. High-risk activities

If you're planning to go mountain climbing, bungee jumping, or deep-sea diving, any resulting injuries might be excluded from your travel insurance policy. Most travel plans specifically exclude high-risk activities from their coverage.

Consider buying additional high-risk coverage if you plan to take part in extreme sports. Sure, you'll have to pay a bit more, but it’s well worth it for the peace of mind.

Travel insurance policies and credit cards with travel insurance have a wide range of coverage options at affordable rates. Before you take off, be sure you understand what your policy covers and excludes so you can have a worry-free vacation.

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The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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