Travel insurance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Often people think it’s complete coverage for yourself, your family, and your trip, but it’s usually not. The best way to know what you’re getting is to read the fine print and talk to your travel insurance agent. Take the extra few minutes and read the fine print carefully, because in this case, you literally get what you pay for.

Smarter Travel recently reminded us there are certain things travel insurance will cover and not cover, and if you’re expecting one kind of coverage, you may be in for a rude awakening when you find out you don’t have it in the first place. If you want some of these items covered, you may need to buy it as an add-on policy.

For example, routine dental care is not covered However, dental trauma may be, so if you suffer damage to some teeth on your travel, you may be in luck. But don’t travel to a new country for some dental work thinking your travel insurance has you covered.

Losses due to mental or emotional disorders are not covered. Most travel insurance policies do not cover claims involving psychiatric or emotional disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression.

Be aware of your insurance policy’s “look-back period.” That’s the amount of time the insurance company will look back to see if you had a pre-existing condition that caused you to miss a trip or cut it short. The look-back period is anywhere from 60 – 180 days prior to the day you purchased your insurance.

Travel insurance will cover natural disasters only if you bought it before the disaster became known.

Harkers Island entrance sign in the day Hurricane Florence made landfall. (Photo by U.S. National Park Service.)

You’ll also want to purchase your travel insurance as early as possible, because natural disasters are only covered if they begin after you purchase your insurance. You can be covered if a trip is canceled because of a hurricane or a tropical storm, but if you buy the insurance after the storm starts, you’re not covered.

Also, you’re only covered if a trip is canceled. Weather that limits your activities, like a canceled hike or hot air balloon trip, is not covered.

While your travel insurance will cover you if you get injured on a trip, it won’t cover you if you were engaged in a risky activity or sport, like extreme sports — bungee jumping, backcountry skiing, caving, skydiving, running with the bulls — are typically not covered. Some policies won’t cover sports that involve bodily contact either, like your kid’s football game.

If you’re pregnant or give birth, travel insurance will not cover general childbirth expenses, but in most cases, it will cover complications.

Finally, you’re generally not covered for the loss of itemson our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.

Photo credit: National Park Service (Public Domain)