When you're traveling, there are an infinite number of ways things can go wrong. You could lose your bag, catch the flu, crash your car or break your wrist falling off a camel. Travel insurance exists to protect you — and your travel investment — in a wide range of situations like these.
But one mistake people often make is thinking that travel insurance covers everything. It doesn't. Travel insurance does not cover losses that arise from expected or reasonably foreseeable events or problems.
In general, you could not reasonably foresee crashing your car, catching the flu or falling off a camel. But what about a looming storm or an existing medical condition? How does travel insurance work then? Let's take a closer look at how travel insurance defines unforeseen and foreseeable events.
You don't need a crystal ball to predict a foreseeable event. A foreseeable event is an outcome that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would expect to occur. For instance, if your business partner has been indicted for fraud and you schedule a vacation during his trial, it's foreseeable that you'll be subpoenaed and have to cancel your trip.
Or, suppose your mother has been in and out of the hospital for months when you purchase travel insurance for an upcoming business trip. Because of her prognosis, it's foreseeable that you may have to cancel your trip because her illness worsens. In short, if you're buying travel insurance with a specific scenario in mind — "I'll probably have to cancel this trip because of X" — then it's likely to be a foreseeable event. You're better off rescheduling the trip.
If a hurricane or a winter storm ruins your vacation, travel insurance can be your best friend. Let's say a severe storm slams into the Bahamas and damages the resort where you're staying, rendering it uninhabitable. Travel insurance can reimburse you for your prepaid trip costs plus the extra cost of flying back home early. If your trip is delayed because the storm canceled your flight, travel insurance can reimburse you for the cost of a hotel room or meals while you wait.
However, timing is everything. Once a storm is named by the National Hurricane Center or another forecasting entity, it becomes a foreseeable event with known potential to affect your travel. This means that if you buy travel insurance after a storm has been named, you won't be covered for losses related to that storm. You would, however, be covered for other situations — for instance, if you had to interrupt your trip because of a covered illness.
The concept of "reasonably foreseeable events" gets complicated when you're talking about existing medical conditions. For instance, if you've been treated in the past for back problems, and then a slipped disc forces you to cancel your trip, is that something you should have foreseen?
Here's how we look at it. Travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance does cover most existing medical conditions if you insure the full cost of your trip within 14 days of paying your first trip deposit and if you're medically able to travel when you do so. We define an existing medical condition as an illness or injury that you, a traveling companion or family member were seeking or receiving treatment for, or had symptoms of on the day you purchased your plan, or at any time in the 120 days before you purchased it.
This means that again, timing is everything. To make sure your existing medical condition is covered, get your doctor to certify you're medically able to travel before you buy travel insurance. And don't wait to buy coverage; make sure you purchase your plan within that 14-day window after making your first trip payment (for things such as plane tickets or cruise reservations).
Travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance covers losses resulting from unforeseen pregnancy complications, such as pre-eclampsia or pre-term labor. This means if you must cancel or interrupt a trip because of a covered pregnancy complication, your travel insurance may reimburse you for nonrefundable trip costs. Your plan may also reimburse you for the emergency medical care you received for those unforeseen complications while traveling.
However, travel insurance does not cover trip cancellations due to normal pregnancy, unless your plan names normal pregnancy as a covered reason and the pregnancy occurred after the effective date of coverage (usually the date your plan was purchased). Nor does travel insurance cover the costs of normal childbirth while traveling. To learn more, read this quick guide to pregnancy and travel insurance.
While travel insurance specifically excludes losses caused by reasonably foreseeable events, that doesn't mean every unforeseen event is covered, either. When you purchase travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance, your plan names specific covered reasons for trip cancellation or trip interruption. Reasons that aren't named aren't covered. Also, like other travel insurance plans, your Allianz Global Assistance plan excludes losses caused by things like: