Exclusions and Cancellations

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Carefully check all the exclusions before you decide on a travel insurance policy. They should be clearly identified in the policy document. The following are examples of exclusions found in many travel insurance policies.

Loss or damage suffered if :

  • You have a pre-existing medical condition which is not advised to the insurer or you travel against medical advice. This exclusion may also apply for any members of your household or any persons with whom you intend to travel or stay.

  • You join in “adventure”, “danger sports” or other hazardous activities. “Adventure” activities often include bungee jumping, white water rafting, ballooning, snow skiing and scuba diving.

  • You leave your luggage “unattended” in a “public place” and it is lost or stolen.

  • Your valuable items such as cameras, sound equipment or mobiles are lost or stolen when left “unattended” in a motor vehicle or put in unaccompanied baggage.

  • You exceed the age limit. Some insurance companies will not insure you if you are over a certain age.

  • You cancel plans because of a change in your financial circumstances or business obligations

Make sure to check what coverage you have under the policy before you actually sign (unless this is offered as an added benefit to a specific debit or credit card). Pay particular attention to when cancellation under your policy is covered and when this is excluded. Don’t assume that your policy covers you for any eventuality that leads to cancellation of your trip. Below we describe typical cancellation scenarios that are covered or excluded under a travel insurance policy.

What may be covered:

  • Accidental bodily injury to or illness or death of the insured person, any immediate relative, close business colleague or any person with whom the insured person has arranged to travel;

  • You or your travelling companion being summoned for jury service or called as a witness in a Court of Law during the period of insurance;

  • Your home becomes uninhabitable following a fire, storm or flood.

What may be excluded:

  • Withdrawal from service temporarily or permanently of any ship or aircraft on the orders or recommendations of any port authority or the civil aviation authority or any similar body in any country;

  • Pre-existing medical condition or travelling against medical advice;

  • The insured person or travelling companion is not inclined to travel, suffering from anxiety or are in financial difficulty.

Some policies may offer additional cover for cancellation as a result of adverse weather conditions. Check with your insurer about such cover and the applicable limits and conditions. Always keep an eye for specific exclusions under a travel insurance policy, such as one-way journeys, winter and extreme sports (unless the last two exclusions are specifically catered for under the policy). Other common exclusions are unattended personal effects (such as luggage), valuables and money.

If luggage is lost or damaged while in the care of a transport company, authority or hotel you must immediately write to them and give details of the loss or damage. If the luggage is lost or damaged by an airline you must obtain a property irregularity report from the airline desk and keep the damaged items, travel tickets and tags as you will need these to file a claim under your travel policy. Insurance companies may also require a written police report when personal belongings are lost or stolen and normally this has to be obtained within 24 hours of discovering the loss. The insured person must provide the insurer, at his/her own expense, with all the detailed particulars and evidence relating to the cause and the amount of the loss, damage or expense.

The extension of cover will depend on the type of policy chosen; the one with the lesser cover (basic policy) will obviously be the less expensive. Insurance companies will usually not make good for the whole amount of the claim and the policy holder will have to bear a part of the cost of a claim himself. This is known as the excess. The amount of excess will vary between insurance companies and even between insurance policies, with the basic policy usually having the highest excess.

There are time limits during which a travel insurance policy will be considered as valid. The period of insurance under the cancellation section starts from the date the schedule is issued and ends when you begin your holiday or journey. The period of insurance for all other sections starts when you leave your home or workplace and ends when you return home from your holiday or journey. Cover applies for the number of days shown on the schedule (which might vary from 3 to 6 months).

Last updated: Sep 07, 2016