Don’t Let Your Travel Insurance Company Deny Your Claim!

Canadian Travel Insurance Claim Denied

Many travellers assume everything is covered when they buy travel insurance, but that’s not always necessarily the case. We constantly hear stories about travellers claims being denied. Most often, denied claims result when travellers misunderstand their insurance policy.

When you buy travel insurance, you enter into a legal contact. The policy certificate from your insurance company outlines all of the fine print that can help you understand what your policy covers and doesn’t cover.

Policies and coverage can change at any time, without warning. This article is only intended as general advice. Please check your own policy carefully.

Here are some of the most common reasons travel insurance claims are denied.

Purchase Insurance Before Leaving

Almost all travel insurance policies require that you purchase your travel insurance before leaving on your trip. The only policy we’re aware of that allows you to purchase insurance after leaving is World Nomads.

However, World Nomads won’t insure Canadians over the age of 60. Check out our World Nomads Canada review.

Pre-existing Conditions

Be careful with pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies may deny a claim if you had knowledge that a condition (diagnosed by a doctor or not) could cause you to make a claim on you trip.

In addition, any condition that appears from the time you buy your insurance to the time you start your trip may be counted as a pre-existing condition, even if you didn’t know about it at the time you purchased your insurance.

Pregnancy is often considered a pre-existing condition by many travel insurance companies.

You can determine if pre-existing conditions are covered by reading a review, like Allianz travel insurance reviews, and looking carefully at the travel insurance policy.

Questionnaire

Answer medical questionnaires truthfully and carefully. You could have a claim denied for filling out a questionnaire incorrectly.

Call Before Treatment

Always call your travel insurance company before you receive emergency medical treatment. If you can’t call, get someone to call on your behalf, if at all possible. Your insurance company can deny a claim or reduce the amount they’ll pay if you don’t call before treatment.

Extensions of Coverage

Generally, your coverage will automatically extend if you need to delay your return due to a medical emergency. If your return is delayed for a medical emergency, get in touch with your insurance company as soon as possible.

Some companies may not offer this automatic extension, or may have time limits on the extension.

Common Exclusions

Travel insurance policies often have a list of common exclusions. You can find these in the policy certificate in a section entitled General Policy Exclusions (or something similar). If you injure yourself when engaged in any of these, your travel insurance company probably won’t cover you.

  • Self-inflicted injuries. While this includes attempted suicide, it also can refer general stupidity. If you decide to climb to the mouth of an active volcano when guides have warned you it may be dangerous, guess what? Your insurance probably won’t cover you.
  • Adventure sports. Many insurance companies will not cover you if you participate in activities like bungee jumping, parachuting, mountain climbing or scuba diving (although you may be covered if you hold a basic scuba designation – check your policy).
  • Drug or alcohol use. If you fall down stairs and break your leg after five martinis, your insurance probably won’t cover you.
  • Criminal activities. This includes any injuries you get while committing, or attempting to commit, a criminal offence.
  • Participating in a riot or civil disorder. If you injure yourself during a protest, you may not be covered.

Incomplete Documentation For A Claim

Failing to complete the insurance company’s claim documentation completely, and in time, results in a lot of claims being denied. Even if the insurance companies requests seem ridiculous, fill out the paperwork they ask.

Trip cancellations require a doctor’s confirmation letter. If at all possible, contact the insurance company before going to the doctor, as they may require a special form.

You can avoid delays and denials of claims by contacting the insurance company early, and keeping all receipts and documentation.

Reason For Cancellation Not Covered

While most trip cancellation policies cover cancellation if you, or your travelling companion, fall sick (and get a doctor’s note), many do not cover cancellation for other reasons. Other common reasons allowed for cancellations are being laid off from your job (though you often need to be employed for a specific amount of time), hurricanes and terrorist incidents.

Your travel insurance policy will list all the allowable reasons for cancellation. If something isn’t on the list, it won’t be covered.

You can get a cancel for any reason rider on many travel insurance plans. It costs more money, but will let you be reimbursed if you cancel a trip for any reason.

Provincial Health Insurance Plan

Every Canadian travel insurance policy we’re investigated requires that you are covered by a government health insurance plan for the full duration of your trip. If you don’t have provincial health insurance coverage during your trip, you may not be covered under your travel insurance, or your benefits may be severely cut.

Read Your Policy

You can increase your chances of a claim being accepted if you carefully read your policy and buy early. Sites like Kanetix.ca will let you compare different policies before you buy.

As always, the information in this post is from one traveller to another and please remember, we are not travel insurance agents. We have spent years abroad and have gotten to know the ins and outs of the industry however, if you have any travel insurance questions, please talk to a qualified travel insurance agent or broker. Finally, always consult your insurance policy since that is the legal document to which you are agreeing to.

Lanie Kay

A true world traveller, Lanie Kay has been to over 30 countries in the past decade and loves nothing more than waking up in a foreign country. Born and raised in western Canada, she knows the value of a dollar and, just like everyone, wishes there was more transparency when dealing with large companies.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. This is Good Information!!

    I can not get over the fact that most people don’t know when traveling that if they drink and have a accident they are Not covered. So since our coverage travel insurance was just denied, I am fair warning people don’t drink on vacation…you won’t be covered! Wonder how many people do.. most! I will never use RBC insurance again, they treat you like your a criminal and there policy is a scam in my eyes, I would never purchase it again.
    Matter of fact I’m looking into pulling all my investments out from under them, just to give it right back to them. Plus everyone I come in contact with I will inform how I was treated and disregarded. Getting blood work tests done while your in the hospital without you even knowing! Is that even Legal?
    Tip of the day, don’t drink on vacation… Ya Right! Get real RBC.. Charge more and cover all the real scenarios of life, ya bunch of Cheap Screws!

    1. Andrea, thanks for sharing your story and bringing to light a seldom heard travel insurance tip. If you are hurt as a result of being intoxicated, you risk not being covered under your travel insurance plan.

      I would imagine that most Canadian travel insurance policies have a little leeway in regards to alcohol consumption however it’s always important to fully understand what your policy will cover when you buy it.

      Sorry you had to find out the hard way. I will say that having your insurance claim denied sucks no matter what the reason.

      As you now know, most travel insurance policies out there are fairly strict in regards to things you’re allowed and not allowed to do.

      Most people fail to realize that a lot of adventure activities they do on vacation such as para-sailing, white water rafting and even scuba diving aren’t typically covered either. It’s up to everyone to read the fine print and if they know they’ll be partaking in these activities while travelling they might be better off finding a travel insurance company with less stringent rules.

      World Nomads is a good example of a company with more “flex” in regards to this. You can check out our review of them here.

      Good luck with your dispute!

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