June 21, 2024
International Travel Insurance

What international travel insurance doesn’t cover

International travel insurance provides coverage for many unexpected circumstances you may experience while abroad. But it doesn’t cover everything.


Here are some examples of what your plan may not cover:


Pre-existing medical conditions (unless you’re eligible for a pre-existing conditions waiver)

Routine dental care (some plans offer emergency dental coverage, but not all do)

Criminal acts that result in conviction (unless you or your companion are the victim)

Pregnancy or childbirth, elective abortion or fertility treatments

High-risk activities, such as skydiving, climbing and snowboarding (although some companies may offer coverage for these)

Alcohol or drug use or abuse

Your travel insurance policy will provide a detailed breakdown of its coverage and exclusions. If the policy doesn’t list coverage for a specific circumstance or event, it’s safe to assume it’s not covered. Contact your insurance provider if you have questions or want additional coverage.

It’s also important to note that documentation is very important when filing a claim for reimbursement. If you fail to provide concrete evidence of the expenses you’ve incurred — such as medical bills and purchase receipts — the insurance company will likely deny your claim.

How to choose an international travel insurance plan

To choose the right plan and avoid paying for coverage you don’t need, consider your risks and budget.


Take into account, for example, the types of activities you plan to participate in and whether they’re covered under a standard policy. If they’re not, you may want to consider augmenting your coverage through an add-on, if available. This could be the case if you plan to participate in high-risk activities like skiing or snowboarding.


Similarly, you may not need all types of coverage offered by travel insurance companies. For example, you probably don’t need CFAR coverage if you don’t have a lot of prepaid, non-refundable trip expenses and are unlikely to cancel your trip for reasons other than those covered under your plan.


Before purchasing travel insurance, it’s also smart to look into whether your credit card affords you any travel insurance benefits to avoid purchasing duplicate coverage. Some of best travel credit cards include trip interruption and cancellation, baggage loss and delay, and even rental car damage coverage.


With that in mind, consider the following steps when shopping for international travel insurance:


Determine the types and level of coverage you need based on your risks and prepaid non-refundable expenses.

Check whether your credit card offers travel insurance.

Look for reputable travel insurance companies that offer the type and level of coverage you need.

Compare plans based on price, coverage limits and exclusions.

Choose the plan that best meets your needs and budget.

If you don’t have time to do all the legwork, our list of the best travel insurance companies can be a good place to start your search.


Benefits of purchasing international travel insurance

Insurance is an investment that can protect you against financial loss. In the case of travel insurance, you’re reducing the risk of incurring out-of-pocket expenses related to illnesses, injuries and other common mishaps that can occur while traveling.


Let’s review some benefits of purchasing insurance for your international travels.


Helps cover emergency medical care costs

First, a travel insurance policy with emergency medical coverage can reimburse you for some of the costs of treatment, medical transportation, hospitalization and even medication if you suffer an accident or become unexpectedly ill during your trip.


This coverage can be especially beneficial if you are traveling for an extended period and don’t know how accessible medical treatment is at your destination.

Of course, coverage limits and exclusions vary by plan, so read your policy documents carefully.

Covers trip cancellations

Another major benefit of purchasing international travel insurance is the possibility of canceling your trip and still being eligible for reimbursement of certain non-refundable prepaid expenses.


Eligible expenses may include:



Rental cars and transportation

Flights, ferries and shuttles

Booked excursions

Keep in mind that, to be eligible for reimbursement, your reason for canceling the trip must be covered under your policy. (That is unless you’ve purchased CFAR coverage.)


And your plan will reimburse you only for eligible prepaid non-refundable expenses up to your policy limits.


Can reimburse you for costs related to travel delays

Most international travel insurance plans offer coverage for unexpected trip delays and lost or delayed baggage.


For example, if your flight is canceled and you’re forced to book an extra night at a hotel or your baggage is delayed and you have to repurchase basic essentials, a travel insurance policy could reimburse you for those expenses.

Just remember that not all travel insurance policies offer the same types of coverage, and all have limits and exclusions. If you’re traveling with highly valuable luggage or paying for luxury accommodations, your policy may not fully reimburse you for these expenses.


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