Many companies including travel insurance companies can easily tel you when you go to make a claim that you should have read the small print. Yet these companies often send us documents which amount to many pages of rules and regulations and in all honesty, who really reads all of the text and who genuinely can understand every rule and regulation, given the technical and legal expertise one would need to decipher some of the things written?
There are though some rules you can follow though and without reading all the small print. These basic rules should help protect you against what are some of the most common reasons for being unable to make a successful claim.
Recent reports have suggested that a large percentage of travellers to the USA, especially those of older generations, are not sufficiently covered medically as a result of not declaring pre-existing medical conditions. As with many contractual agreements, the consequence of not declaring all information which could impact upon the cost of any travel insurance acquired is that said policies become invalid, meaning that if the people in question were to experience any medical issues the likelihood is that they would not be covered and would end up with a sizeable bill.
Any significant change in political circumstances could have a direct effect on the validity of your insurance policy, especially in the event of political instability. As unlikely as this is in the USA, you should remain conscious of this. Environmental changes such as severe weather may affect your insurance policy, depending on which company you purchase your policy from. You should check carefully whether this is likely to be the case before you commit to a policy, especially if you are visiting an area prone to extreme weather.
It can be considered a given that any claims required as a result of things which happen when you are under the influence of alcohol will not be successful. Alcohol is the cause of a large percentage of claims, and as such, insurance companies are clear that they will not cover alcohol related incidents. The advice is to drink sensibly, leave valuables at home when drinking and stay away from areas with hazards. (More on how alcohol can invalidate your travel insurance).
Many travel insurance policies will cover you for day-to-day activities but will not cover your for dangerous activities, such as diving with sharks or skiing. You may need to take out specialist insurance for activities such as this, so do not just presume you are covered if you only have basic cover.
Make sure your belongings are attended at all times, otherwise you will not be covered should they go missing. (More tips on avoiding losing your luggage).