ExperiencePlus! Blog

Photo Courtesy of Rolf Damz

In 50+ years of international bicycle touring and traveling, we have learned a few things. Here are some tips and guidelines for what to consider when choosing trip insurance. Please note that our suggestions do not constitute professional insurance advice. You must do your own due diligence and ask the insurance provider questions about any policy you are considering in order to understand what is and what isn’t covered.

See details about our recommended travel insurance provider, including contact information and quote forms.

General tips when looking for trip insurance

First of all, read your policy closely

Though it might sound obvious, make sure to carefully review any policy you are considering. The policy spells out exactly what is covered and will list explicit exclusions. If you have a very specific scenario that you are seeking coverage for, then call the insurance provider and talk to them. If you don’t understand the policy fully and want clarification, ask the insurance provider.

Be aware of standard exclusions.

Travel insurers do not consider travel warnings a valid cancellation reason. Another standard exclusion are pandemics (as many of us had to learn during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Other common exclusions: reckless behavior by the insured, loss of enjoyment, pre-existing conditions. Exceptions to the pre-existing conditions exclusion may apply for some policies that allow for bonus coverages if the policy is purchases within a certain time window.

Is Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) still available?

Aptly named, Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) policies allow travelers to cancel for any reason. These policies are usually more expensive. During the pandemic, many insurance providers temporarily suspended offering CFAR but many providers have meanwhile brought it back. If this is a provision that is important to you, be sure it is available from your provider of choice.

Trip insurance and medical Insurance – they both matter

Travel insurance does not always include medical emergency assistance coverage.

  • Travel insurance reimburses you for any loss related to the trip itself, e.g. if something happens and you have to cancel your trip before leaving, or if something happens while traveling.
  • Medical emergency assistance provides coverage if you have a medical emergency while traveling, and may not always be included in policies. Be sure to check.

We recommend looking for medical coverage that acts as primary (i.e. it covers your costs first – rather than being a supplemental plan to your standard health insurance coverage). On the other hand, if your standard health insurance has good global coverage, you may not need medical emergency coverage. You might find this extensive article by Outside Magazine insightful.

Call your insurance at the time of emergency

Look for insurance products that have 24-hour assistance, they’re there to help and provide guidance.

Document everything

In case you have to file a claim with your travel insurance, be aware that they will ask for documentation. Be prepared and document everything. Here are a few examples:

  • Lost baggage? Make sure you have a written confirmation from the airline.
  • Something got stolen? Obtain a police report, or have the hotel where it happened give you a written statement.
  • Had to see a doctor? Get a written confirmation and be sure you see a certified medical professional in the country you are in (a doctor happening to be traveling with you does not count).
  • If you become ill during your trip and miss out on your tour you must see a doctor and provide documentation of that visit. Just staying at the hotel and laying low will not qualify as a claim.

What if I get COVID-19 during my trip?

Most insurance providers treat Covid-19 like any other illness and you can file a claim. You will need to see a medical professional, or provide a third-party test result if you wish to make a claim.

The Take Away

Keep in mind that trip insurance is not only useful to recover costs caused by cancellations before you travel, it is most useful to cover the unexpected during your trip. Knowing what’s included and excluded in your policy is essential. AFAR Magazine has put together a practical guide to buying travel insurance that you might also find helpful.