But! This is an avoidable scenario if you review your plan and understand the exclusions.
That being said, the following are travel events that no travel insurance plan will cover.
1. Your trip is rescheduled by a supplier
A traveler purchases a tour and pre-pays. The tour operator cancels for lack of attendance, but they offer the traveler a refund or they can reschedule. The traveler reschedules and files a claim with their travel insurance.
Travelers often think that just because a travel supplier cancels, they get their money back. Not so if you use that same pre-paid money for a future trip. After all, that would be ‘double-dipping’ when travel insurance is meant to make you whole.
2. Changing your mind
A traveler pre-pays for a two-week international trip, but as the vacation draws closer they realize they just don’t have the extra cash they’ll need to spend. So, they decide to cancel the trip and save their money instead.
Unless you have ‘cancel for any reason’ with your plan, this claim will not be covered because it amounts to changing your mind.
3. Accidents caused by drinking
A traveler has a few drinks on vacation but on the way back to the hotel, they misstep and break an ankle. After being treated at the hospital, they file a medical claim with their insurance plan.
Travel insurance plans include an exclusion that applies to all coverage stating it will not pay for losses caused by “being under the influence of drugs or intoxicants.” You simply don’t have coverage if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
4. Lousy weather
A traveler on a beach vacation is horrified when the rain simply will not stop. The golf courses are closed and beach time is ruined. Weather reports indicate the rain won’t end anytime soon, so the traveler decides to head home and file a claim.
Unless the weather enters the range of natural disaster or a mandatory evacuation is ordered, you’ll just have to stick it out. Once you’ve started your trip, there’s no coverage for giving up and heading home.
5. Tickets you never paid for
A traveler uses frequent flier miles to book a summer vacation, but work responsibilities prevent them from taking the trip. They cancel it and file a claim expecting to receive the full reimbursement.
Travelers do not receive cash back travel costs they never paid out in the beginning. The point of insurance is to make you whole again, not to cash in where there’s no retail value. There are, however, many travel insurance plans that will pay the fee to re-bank your frequent flier miles.
6. Extreme (or stupid) behavior
A traveler decides to try bungee jumping off a bridge. Unfortunately, the harness tears and he is dropped into an icy river. While recovering in the hospital, he contacts his travel plan to file a claim.
Unless your plan specifically includes coverage or a waiver for high-risk activities like mountain climbing, skydiving, parasailing, and yes, bungee cord jumping, you will not have coverage. Stupid behavior, such as committing an illegal act, will also invalidate your coverage.
7. Losses due to mental illness
A traveler receives a desperate call while on vacation. His brother, who is being treated for a mental illness, has been hospitalized for attempting suicide. He immediately abandons his trip to return home.
No travel insurance plan covers losses due to nervous disorders or mental illness. Suicide and self-inflicted injuries are not covered either. These are exclusions that apply to all coverage.
8. Medical tourism
A traveler decides to visit a foreign country to obtain surgery that’s deemed too expensive in the U.S. Before the trip, the doctor cancels the surgery. So the traveler cancels their trip and files a claim with their travel plan.
This travel claim would not be covered by most travel insurance plans because the purpose of the trip was to obtain medical care, but there is one exception to this rule. Seven Corners offers one plan specifically for medical tourists: Bordercross Worldwide.