Most common exclusions and limitations of international travel insurance policies

Charlotte Miller

Updated on:

Investing in international travel insurance makes it natural to assume that you are fully protected. However, the reality is that international travel insurance policies often come with significant limitations and exclusions. These restrictions can catch travellers off guard and lead to unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. Some of the most common exclusions include pre-existing health conditions, dental and mental health coverage, and non-coverage of pregnancy, childbirth, adventure sports, and personal items. Understanding these limitations is crucial for making well-informed decisions and securing additional coverage.

Let’s look at these exclusions and limitations to help you know the scope of coverage of such policies.

  1. Pre-Existing Conditions in Travel Insurance

Travel insurance often excludes pre-existing health conditions, which are medical issues you had before buying the policy, such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Some policies might cover these conditions if they have remained stable for a specified period with no recent treatment changes.

2. Dental Treatment in Travel Insurance

Travel insurance online typically covers emergency dental expenses from accidents, such as a chipped tooth or severe toothache. However, the coverage usually does not include routine dental check-ups, cleanings, and non-emergency dental work like fillings or teeth whitening. While some policies may have exceptions for routine dental care, reviewing your policy details is crucial to understanding the extent of your dental coverage while travelling.

3. Mental or Emotional Disorders

Travel insurance policies commonly exclude claims related to mental or emotional disorders like depression or bipolar disorder.

4. Pregnancy and Childbirth

Unless your policy explicitly states otherwise, travel insurance typically doesn’t cover expenses related to pregnancy or childbirth. While some complications during pregnancy may be an exception, you will not receive coverage for standard pregnancy and childbirth costs.

5. Travel to High-Risk Areas

If you knowingly travel to areas known for natural calamities despite official warnings, your travel insurance may not cover losses incurred due to these events. This emphasises the importance of heeding travel advisories.

6. Adventure Sports

Often, travel insurance policies do not cover injuries sustained while engaging in adventure sports like skydiving, scuba diving, or rock climbing. You might need to purchase an additional premium or rider to ensure coverage for these activities.

7. Limited Coverage for Personal Items

While travel insurance typically covers baggage delay or loss, not all items inside your luggage receive equal coverage. Valuables like jewellery, cash, or expensive electronics may have no coverage. It is essential to know these limitations before packing valuables.

8. Inclement Weather

Travel insurance usually does not cover changes in travel plans due to inclement weather conditions unless it leads to flight delays or cancellations.

9. Last-Minute Changes

Last-minute changes made by your travel operator, such as itinerary adjustments, may not get covered by your travel insurance policy unless these changes result in a complete curtailment of your trip. Minor itinerary alterations may not trigger coverage.

10. War and Commotion

Travel insurance does not cover acts of war or riots. Reviewing your policy’s list of exclusions is crucial to understand whether any such conditions are covered. In most cases, they will not be, emphasising the need to stay informed about travel destinations and potential risks.

Limitations of international travel insurance policies

International travel insurance is like a safety net for travellers, giving them peace of mind and financial protection when they explore other countries. But knowing the restrictions is essential. These limitations are listed below.

  1. Cost Accumulation 

While international travel insurance online provides peace of mind, the expenses can add up, particularly for longer trips or when travelling to expensive destinations like Europe. This cost may become a significant consideration in your travel budget. Consider the scope of coverage of your policy before purchasing it.

  1. Limited Coverage

International travel insurance only covers emergencies while you are abroad, excluding certain events in your home country. So, if you experience issues at home, such as car damage, your insurer will not help it.

  1. Coverage Requirements 

Some insurance providers mandate customers to purchase coverage for specific events or conditions, especially if they have pre-existing medical issues or other significant risks. These specialised plans often come with higher premiums, adding to the overall cost.

  1. Availability Challenges 

International travel insurance may not be readily available in every country, particularly in less developed destinations. Travellers must research in advance to identify insurance providers that offer coverage in their destination country and assess the extent of coverage provided.


International travel insurance online is vital for tourists, offering crucial monetary security and peace of mind while travelling overseas. For frequent travellers, considering multi-trip travel insurance can be beneficial. You can also invest in family travel insurance if members of the household are travelling with you. But, it is essential to recognise the limitations of such policies. A few examples are the need to acquire supplementary coverage for certain risks or circumstances, limited coverage for events occurring in your home country, and the possibility of increased expenditures for longer journeys. Understanding policy exclusions is essential because availability can differ by destination. Despite these restrictions, foreign travel insurance is still helpful in reducing risks and unforeseen costs while you are on the road, so long as you know and are ready for them. Additionally, travellers should consider the cost accumulation associated with longer trips and the availability of insurance in their destination country.