My Beef With the Travel Insurance Industry
I’ve got a beef with the travel insurance industry, and it’s got to do with their pre-existing medical condition waivers.
Most of our clients and the readers of this travel blog are baby boomers or older.
Because of this, most of them buy travel insurance to protect themselves primarily from cancellation if they or perhaps someone in their family suffers a serious medical condition or death that might prevent them from traveling and thereby cause them to cancel and lose their travel investment.
And, an important part of this provision is a waiver that protects them from pre-existing medical conditions.
Here’s my beef: these pre-existing medical condition waivers come with strings that can bite you if you aren’t very careful. 🙁
Let’s take a peek at the language from one of the nation’s most popular travel insurance companies.
Travelex Pre-Existing Medical Condition Waiver Language
The Company will waive the pre-existing medical condition exclusion if the following conditions are met:
(1) This plan is purchased within 21 days of Initial Trip Payment;
(2) The amount of coverage purchased equals all prepaid nonrefundable payments or deposits applicable to the Trip at the time of purchase and the costs of any subsequent arrangements added to the same Trip are insured within 21 days of the date of payment or deposit for any subsequent Trip arrangements;
(3) All Insured’s are medically able to travel when this plan cost is paid;
(4) The Trip Cost does not exceed the maximum Trip Cost limit under Trip Cancellation as shown in the Schedule per person (only applicable to Trip Cancellation/Interruption/ Delay);
Now, lest you think that I am picking on Travelex, please know that this language is common and found in most travel insurance policies.
Folks understand that if they want this waiver, they must purchase the policy shortly after they make their first deposit on the journey. For example, go past 21-days with Travelex and you do not get the waiver.
Here’s the rub: most folks don’t purchase travel packages that are neatly tied in a bow up front that allows them to insure all of their non-refundable payments within the 21-day window up front.
For example, a couple might buy a cruise that sails Australia in January of 2019. With a cruise booked that far out, they can’t yet buy airline tickets and they are also likely to want a pre/post cruise experience in Sydney or Aukland.
So now, when they ultimately deposit on the final pieces of their journey, if they don’t add these pieces to their travel insurance policy with 21-days of the new deposits, then they will forfeit their pre-existing medical condition waiver.
So what’s the problem? Simple. While we point this out to our clients up front and work hard to help them comply with these provisions, the chances of forgetfulness are great and therefore problematic if a claim arises. If a client books their own air six months after their cruise booking and forgets this critical clause, then they can kiss their pre-existing medical condition waiver goodbye.
In my humble opinion, this is burdensome to the client. I’d rather they allow travelers to insure whatever portion they choose and forget all this “insure future bookings within 21-days” nonsense.
While we’ve yet to have this bite one of our clients, I shudder a bit when our clients have future bookings to make to complete their journeys.
See the problem?
Travel Tip: If you desire a pre-existing medical condition waiver clause in your travel insurance policy, then you must pay very strict attention to this hidden little gotcha. Just like anything else, it is important that you read, understand, and remember all of the fine print.
I think whoever created fine print should be slapped profusely about the head and shoulders. Don’t you? After all, why do we need fine print? Just be forthright and put it all out there. Right? And, let’s get rid of the second clause in the above-stated policy requirements.
This now concludes my rant. You may now go about your day. 🙂
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Besides pre-existing medical conditions, Travelex (which i believe is Allianz), also requires that if you must cancel your trip due to conditions, such as Hurricane Maria wiping gout your island, Allianz wanted a letter from American Airlines saying that they will NOT refund your money. No airline issues refund letter at all and Allianz knows that. I had to threaten them with all sorts of stuff to get a waiver of their requirement to get my airfare back. That is a wrinkle that no amount of planning can help. At least with the medical waiver, if you follow their rules, you will get reimbursed. Another pet peeve to add to you list.m
Hi Ira. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your beef. 🙂