holiday

What travel risks are NOT covered by travel insurance?

Every travel insurance policy contains specified limits, excesses and exclusions. When you buy travel insurance, always check the level of cover being offered. All policies have what are known as “general exclusions,” which apply to all sections of a policy. For example, you may not be covered if before you travelled, you received treatment for a pre-existing condition which you did not disclose to your insurer when taking out the policy. You will not be covered if you travel against medical advice, if you suffer injury as a result of a suicide attempt, if you only received non-emergency treatment, if you were under the influence of alcohol, if you required treatment due to drug abuse, and if you deliberately put your life in risk or engaged in a hazardous activity, for which you were not covered by your policy.

“Hazardous activities” are typically defined as including water-ski jumping; motorcycling; parachuting; bungee jumping; sub-aqua diving; potholing; paragliding; rugby and professional sports. Most travel insurance policies offer you a choice of three categories: hazardous activities that are covered automatically; hazardous activities that will be covered for an additional premium; and hazardous activities that will not be covered at all.

Regular skiing as such is not considered a hazardous activity. However, if you intend to go skiing while abroad, a standard travel policy may not cover you fully. Cover for skiing usually includes a refund of pre-paid expenses such as your ski pass, lessons and ski equipment hire if you have to cancel your holiday or you cannot ski due to injury. Cover also includes loss, theft or damage to hired ski equipment. If you have your own ski equipment, it should be covered under the Money and Personal Belongings section of your travel policy, but it’s worth checking that the limits are adequate. Ski cover also includes loss or theft of your ski pass; mountain rescue in the event of you getting injured; and closure of the piste (typically for more than 24 hours).

Two other categories that are not covered by standard travel insurance policies include being detained or having your belongings confiscated by Customs or other state agencies; and war, civil war or a coup.