Increasingly, travel insurance companies are selling their products online, on smart phones, even though social media. They’re trying to make it easier for you to buy, and if it induces people who otherwise wouldn’t bother with insurance to get coverage, that’s good. But be careful. There can be traps.
The biggest potential problem in buying electronically is that you may not see the details of what you’re buying.
You may make a choice on the basis of a few words, pictures, images. But travel insurance is a contract and you need to see the details.
Also, if you are buying a product that has health eligibility requirements—and most do—you need to be fully aware of them, and that’s not easy if you’re completing a medical questionnaire by phone, with an agent that quickly reads a listing of conditions and expects you to absorb them as they fly by. When applying by phone, always, always demand to see the final print-out of the questionnaire (the questions asked of you and especially the answers you gave) to see if they accurately reflect your health status. Are the medications listed accurately? Are your symptoms or conditions properly recorded? Your answers are not designed to impress the agent with how healthy you are. They are recorded to validate that you meet the eligibility requirements and that your insurer knows your health status and is willing to take a chance on you.
Make no mistake: if you generate a claim, your insurer will dig into your medical record, going back years if need be, to make sure the answers you gave on your application match your record. If not, it’s no use saying your agent made a mistake. The mistake will be yours. You are responsible for the answers submitted to the insurer by the agent. That’s why you are given the application to review. Review it. Failure to do so can cost you thousands of dollars—maybe wipe out your savings.
When you sign an application—no matter what the medium of sale—you declare that the answers in that application are accurate. Don’t make a liar out of yourself.
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