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How to “Vet” Your Travel Insurance Policy

Critics of travel insurance often argue that claim denials are too frequent, unfair to the customer, and might be avoided if issuers vetted policy applications at the time of distribution instead of when a claim is made. The rationale for that argument is that applicants could then be certain that their policy would pay off in case of medical emergency abroad. Sounds reasonable, as a principle—except that it’s impractical given the millions of policies issued to Canadian travelers each year. At present, most policies are issued on the understanding that customers provide complete and accurate information about their medical histories when applying for insurance. Some are asked a few questions about recent treatment interventions, medication use, or hospitalizations; others, usually elderly travelers, are required to complete detailed medical questionnaires designed to give underwriters a more precise assessment of their health status. And there are other policies—usually attached to credit cards—that…