Common travel insurance terms

Travel insurance has some common terms that are used in many plans.  While specific definitions might vary this should provide you with a basic understanding.  Always refer to the specific plan for their definition before buying.


Accident: means a sudden, unforeseen event that occurs at an identifiable time and place.  Sometimes it refers to bodily injury caused by an accident.


Actual cash value:  is used in property(baggage) coverage to establish it's current value.  Usually it means the original cost of an item less depreciation.  Some companies will use replacement value instead of original cost.


Bankruptcy or Default: means the total cessation of operations due to insolvency, with or without the filing of a bankruptcy petition by an airline, cruise line, tour operator or other travel provider.   Coverage for this might be found under the trip cancellation/interruption coverage.


Beneficiary:  the person or entity that will receive payment of a death benefit.  They are usually family members, however, it can be any person or entity that has an insurable interest in the life of the insured person.


Business Partner: means an individual who is involved in a legal general partnership with You and is actively involved in the day to day management of Your business.  This usually refers to the trip cancellation/interruption coverage where coverage might extend to cancellations caused by your business partner becoming ill, or being injured or passing away.


Common Carrier means any land, sea, or air conveyance operating under a valid license for the transportation of passengers for hire.  In most cases it does not include taxicabs or rented, leased or privately owned motor vehicles.


Complications of Pregnancy: means conditions (when the pregnancy is not terminated) whose diagnoses are distinct from pregnancy, but are adversely affected by pregnancy or are caused by pregnancy. These conditions include acute nephritis, nephrosis, cardiac decompensation, missed abortion and similar medical and surgical conditions of comparable severity.


Contract:  a travel insurance policy is a legally binding contract between the insurance company (underwriter) and the traveler (insured).  They are contracts of adhesion, which means that the contract is written by the insurance company and the terms can not be changed.  This makes the insurance company the stronger party to the contract since they wrote it, however, since they wrote the policy than any ambiguity should be held against them because they are expected to say what they mean.


Date of first trip payment:  the date that the very first payment was made for any portion of the trip, including deposits or tickets or land arrangements.  Many plans use this date to determine if the traveler is eligible for certain benefits that are time sensitive; e.g. "waiver of pre-existing medical conditions".


Departure Date: means the date on which You are originally scheduled to leave on Your Trip.


Exclusions:  Items or circumstances that are not covered by the policy.


Family Member: refers to the trip cancellation/interruption coverage and usually includes the following: Your or Your Traveling Companion’s legal spouse (or common-law spouse where legal), legal guardian or ward, son or daughter (adopted, foster, step or in-law), brother or sister (includes step or in-law), parent (includes step or in-law), grandparent (includes in-law), grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew or Domestic Partner.  Most plans include "Your or Your Traveling Companion's" family members.


Flight Insurance:  historically flight insurance has referred to accidental deaths that result from riding as a passenger on a scheduled or charter flight of a licensed airline.  However, it's also beginning to mean coverage if you have to cancel your flight.  This later meaning is a recent development caused by airlines offering travel insurance directly to consumers when buying an airline ticket.


Injury or Injuries: means bodily harm caused by an Accident.  They must occur while coverage is in effect and must require examination and treatment by a Legally Qualified Physician. Injury must be the direct result of an accident and must be independent of all other causes and must not be caused by, or result from, Sickness.


Insurable interest:  a concept where the beneficiary of an insurance policy need to have a financial interest in a person's life or in property.  Family members are presumed to have an "insurable interest" in another, close family member.


Minimum connecting times:   the predetermined allowable times between connecting flight are set by the airlines. Your airline can advise you of the legally allowable time between flights. If you are booking your own flights through an on-line ticketing agent (not directly with the air line) be cautious and contact the airlines to determine allowable connecting times.


Mysterious disappearance: the loss of a piece of personal property where it's disappearance occurs under unknown circumstances.


Pre-Existing Condition: means an illness, disease, or other condition for which You or Your Traveling Companion, Business Partner or a Family Member:

  1. received or received a recommendation for a test, examination, or medical treatment for a condition which first manifested itself, worsened or became acute or had symptoms which would have prompted a reasonable person to seek diagnosis, care or treatment; or
  2. took or received a prescription for drugs or medicine within the pre-existing period shown for the plan.  This usually does not apply to a condition which is treated or controlled solely through the taking of prescription drugs or medicine and remains treated or controlled without any adjustment or change in the required prescription throughout the pre-existing period before coverage is effective under this Policy.


Primary: means that the coverage is first in line to pay and is not "secondary" to any other insurance that might cover the same financial loss.


Published Penalties: means any published cancellation penalties levied by Your travel agency or travel supplier that apply to all clients of the travel agency or travel supplier and can be documented at time of Your purchase of Travel Arrangements from Your travel agency.


Return Date: means the date on which You are originally scheduled to return to the point of origin or the original final destination of Your Trip.


Secondary:  means the coverage is over and above any other coverage that you might have that covers the same financial loss.


Sickness: means an illness or disease of the body which: 1)requires examination and treatment by a Legally Qualified Physician, and 2) commences while Your coverage is in effect.


Travel Arrangements: means (a) transportation; (b) accommodations; and (c) other specified services arranged by the Travel Supplier for Your Trip. 


Traveling Companion: means a person or persons whose names appear with Yours on the same Travel Arrangements and who, during Your Trip, will accompany You.  Please note that some plans may require traveling companions to share the same accommodations as you.


Travel insurance company:  most companies associated with travel insurance are really national insurance agencies that administer a travel insurance product on behalf of a licensed insurance company.  Companies like CSA Travel Protection, Travel Guard, Travelex, and Travel Insured International are companies that fall into this category.


Travel Supplier: means any entity or organization that coordinates or supplies travel services for You.


Trip: means the trip that you're insuring that begins on the departure date and ends on the return date.  Some plans also state that travel arrangements have to be preplanned and/or that travel has to be more that so many miles from your home.


Trip cancellation coverage: means Your cancellation of travel prior to your departure date due to one of the covered reasons listed in the policy.  Insurance professionals refer to these as perils and hazards.

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