Travel insurance can usually be arranged at the time of the booking of a trip to cover exactly the duration of that trip, or a “multi-trip” policy can cover an unlimited number of trips within a set time frame. Some policies offer lower and higher medical-expense options; the higher ones are chiefly for countries that have high medical costs, such as the United States.
The most common risks that are covered by travel insurance plans are:
- Medical emergency
- Cancellation, curtailment and trip interruption
This section covers any unused travel and or accommodation costs, pre-paid charges (including any additional travel expenses incurred, provided they are deemed reasonable and necessary) if a trip is canceled or cut short under a variety of circumstances, which may include any of the following, depending on the policy:
- death, bodily injury, illness, disease, or pregnancy complications
- compulsory quarantine
- jury service
- being called as a witness
- termination of employment (provided you did not know about it before you booked the holiday)
- being called up if you are a member of the armed forces or other public defense or safety organization
- prohibition of travel by the government to the intended destination
- officially recommended evacuation from the intended destination
- official advisory against going to or remaining at the intended destination
- Repatriation of remains
- Return of a minor
- Trip cancellation
- Trip interruption
- Visitor health insurance
- Accidental death, injury or disablement benefit
- Overseas funeral expenses
- Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal effects or travel documents
- Delayed baggage (and emergency replacement of essential items)
- Flight connection was missed due to airline schedule
- Travel delays due to weather
Medical expense coverage can be per-occurrence or maximum-limit.
Some travel policies will also provide cover for additional costs, although these vary widely between providers.
In addition, often separate insurance can be purchased for specific costs such as:
- Pre-existing conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes)
- Sports with an element of risk (e.g. skiing, scuba diving)
- Travel to high risk countries (e.g. due to war, natural disasters or acts of terrorism)
- Additional AD&D coverage
- 3rd party supplier insolvency (e.g. the hotel or airline to which you made non-refundable pre-payments has gone into administration)
- Acute onset of pre-existing conditions
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Elective surgery or treatment
- Terrorism – Most trip cancellation policies include terrorism but only when there is an act of terrorism that meets the policy’s criteria including definition, place of occurrence and date of occurrence.
- Injury or illness caused by alcohol or drug use
Travel insurance can also provide helpful services, often 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that can include concierge services and emergency travel assistance. Pre-existing medical conditions must be declared prior to the trip start date. In case you ignore this requirement and fall ill during your trip abroad, you may find that you are not covered. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles to treatment in state-run hospitals in EU countries and Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland but it is not a substitute for travel insurance.