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Seven Steps to Help You Understand Your Travel Insurance Policy Wording

There are several times during the process of purchasing travel insurance when you will want to review and understand your policy wording. The policy wording is the document that, when combined with a confirmation of coverage (COC), forms the insurance contract.

Your licensed broker can provide you with a copy of the policy wording to read before you purchase a plan, review the policy wording with you and answer your questions during your purchasing decision. They will also give you a copy after your purchase as part of the contract, along with your confirmation of coverage.

This blog post is intended to help you understand how to read your travel insurance policy wording, including steps to take to find the appropriate sections for eligibility, pre-existing conditions, exclusions, and more. Remember, every part of the policy wording is important. For the best understanding of what will and will not be covered, read the entire document.


Step 1

Refer to the eligibility requirements to see if you are eligible to purchase coverage. If you do not meet the requirements listed under this portion of the policy wording, you are not eligible for coverage and will need to find a different policy to meet your needs.


Step 2

Review the details regarding pre-existing conditions, which may be found under a policy exclusions section or in its own dedicated portion of the policy. The section discussing pre-existing conditions states the requirements that must be met for pre-existing conditions to be covered by the policy (if coverage is available), including the period for which any pre-existing condition must be stable and controlled.


Step 3

Another step to understanding travel insurance policies is to be aware of the policy’s maximum schedule of benefits. Review this section to understand which coverages are available under the plan you are considering. This section will often list plan coverage limits as well. For a detailed overview of each type of coverage available, go through the individual coverage sections of the plan. These sections, such as the parts detailing trip cancellation and emergency medical coverage, will help you understand the coverages available for those situations, as well as learn what to do if you need to make a claim.


Step 4

Once you have reviewed the maximum schedule of benefits, refer back to the full exclusions section of the policy. There you will learn which activities and circumstances will not be covered under the plan. For example, some plans do not cover injuries as the result of extreme activities like skydiving.


Step 5

Use the policy wording definitions section to clarify terminology in the document with the terms the underwriter acknowledges. Often in a policy, words capitalized or bolded in the text are words which are found in the definitions section. For example, the Travelance’s Visitors to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance policy wording defines Accident’ as “a happening due to external, violent, sudden or fortuitous causes beyond your control which occurs during the period of coverage.”


Step 6

After you have reviewed your eligibility, pre-existing conditions, maximum schedule of benefits, exclusions, and definitions, go through the claims information section of the policy wording. This part of the policy wording includes contact information as well as a review of how to submit a claim.


Step 7

Review any remaining areas of the policy wording and to make sure you understand your travel insurance policy, ask your licensed insurance broker any questions you may have about the policy wording as you read it. Your broker may point out additional areas in the policy that are specific to your needs.


The above steps are a guideline and suggest one effective way to read your policy wording. Your licensed insurance broker may provide an alternative method. Regardless of how you read the policy wording, it is important that you understand your role in the travel insurance contract and what to do in case of an emergency. Be sure to ask plenty of questions as you look at purchasing any travel insurance plan, to make sure you find the plan that is right for you! For more information, read our blog post on How to Read and Understand Your Policy Wording.

If you plan to purchase travel insurance, talk to your licensed broker or a Travelance representative today.

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