Not reading the fine print when buying travel insurance could cost you

Before settling on a travel insurance policy, go through the fine print and see what you are and are not covered for.
Before settling on a travel insurance policy, go through the fine print and see what you are and are not covered for. iStock.

When planning a vacation, travel insurance is usually a high priority, after all who wants to take chances on their health right?

One Surrey, B.C. couple that suffered from chronic illnesses bought insurance before their Caribbean vacation. However, once the policy was used when the wife became life-threateningly ill during the vacation, it reduced her coverage with her regular insurer (even though the travel insurance was with a different company) due to extremely high medical bills resulting from her illness.

How could this happen?

Likely the couple didn’t read the fine print of their travel insurance.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t read the fine print and we’re usually OK, because either nothing will happen or we’ll have minor injuries which the travel insurance will cover.

However, what happens if the injuries are not minor and may be a result of chronic or pre-existing conditions which require an operation and/or extensive treatments?

This is where the fine print in travel insurance comes into play. Often if you are dealing with chronic illnesses or pre-existing conditions, the travel insurance can list it as a limitation/exclusion in the fine print and in the end you may not be covered.

So before settling on a travel insurance policy, go through the fine print and see what you are and are not covered for, especially if you are already sick.

Confused by the legal-ese in the fine print of the travel insurance policy?

In that case, it’s often a good idea to contact a lawyer and ask him or her to review the fine print before you buy.

Even if you are an employee whose travel insurance is arranged through your workplace that is not an excuse to forgo reading the fine print and have it reviewed by a lawyer.

See: Do employees know enough about their travel insurance?

After all, not knowing about an exemption could still leave you without coverage.

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