How to Read the Fine Print of Your Travel Insurance Policy

How to Read the Fine Print of Your Travel Insurance Policy


Mar 07, 2018 | by Aon

Travel insurance is designed to protect the consumer from the unforeseen and covers three main categories of protection: protecting their financial investment, their health and their belongings. But like so many things in life, there are many factors that impact just how much coverage a traveler has and how they can leverage their benefits, if necessary.

“How far they are traveling, when they are traveling and who is traveling all factor into a traveler’s purchase decision,” said Beth Godlin, president, Aon Affinity Travel Practice. “The more complex the trip, the greater the interest in protecting it. But no matter how simple or complex the travel benefits package is, there are details and nuances in coverage travelers should know to make sure they have the coverage they expect.”

Godlin and the travel team at Aon Affinity, a leading provider of travel insurance and protection benefits, offer this advice to share with today’s travelers:

  • Any Day, Any Way - Travel insurance is designed and priced to protect against unforeseen events. Those events that are foreseeable and likely to happen are generally not eligible for coverage. However “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) products are designed to address both and offer travelers more flexibility. If your plan includes a CFAR option, be sure to understand the terms – if it is included or available as an upgrade, and what percentage of the trip might be either refunded or returned in a credit.
  • Packaged Policy - While every policy is different, many plans provided by cruise lines and tour operators protect vacations from departure to return. Often airfare, activities or excursions booked through and prepaid to the travel supplier would generally be protected, as well. So, make sure to confirm what is covered under the plan you purchased.
  • Invest Early – When a traveler purchases travel insurance matters. In almost all cases, travelers will need to pay for the protection no later than when making final payment, after which penalties typically go into effect. However, some travel protection plans are only available within a short window after booking.
  • Cancellation Coverage – There are a number of little known reasons travelers can receive reimbursement under the cancellation benefit of the plan. The most common reason for cancellation is illness, injury or death. But there are many reasons a traveler can have coverage. For example, if their home becomes “uninhabitable” due to something like fire, flooding or weather damage; if they face job loss; or are called to jury duty. Think Around the Trip – So many different variables can impact a trip. Travelers may not know that their travel insurance could cover them if they get into a car accident en route to their departure flight, for example. Also, many policies include medical evacuation coverage not only for the injured traveler, but allow their traveling companion to evacuate with them for comfort. And if the injured person is traveling alone, their insurance plan may provide a nurse escort to get them home safely.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions Considerations – The usual exclusion of pre-existing conditions can sometimes be waived if the traveler complies with certain terms, such as buying insurance within a few days of booking their travel (remember, the advice to invest early?). And even if a pre-existing condition exclusion applies, it usually never applies to a non-traveling family member. So in the event, a grandparent falls ill due to a pre-existing condition you can cancel and receive a refund.
  • Bottom line: travelers need to read their policy when they purchase any travel protection plan and before they travel. It’s always best to call the insurance administrator for the cruise line, tour operator or travel agent to get clarity and assess whether any supplementary coverage is a valuable investment for added safety and some peace of mind.

If you elect to comment or engage with our content via third-party social media websites, you authorize Aon to have access to certain social media profile information. Please click here to learn more about information that may be collected when using these tools on

More Blog Posts