What Does Travel Insurance NOT cover?

What travel insurance does and does not cover are some of the most common questions we get, and the details are important to understand. The last thing you want is to buy travel insurance, file a claim and not get paid. We don’t want that to happen either. The best way to prevent that is to understand what is explicitly not covered and set the right expectations.  

There can be some fine lines between what travel insurance does not cover and what it does. The best advice is to take a deep dive into your travel insurance plan documents and read everything, including the fine print.

What you’ll find most travel insurance plans won’t cover – including those from Generali Global Assistance – are things like these:

Let’s look at these one-by-one.

Disease Outbreaks

If you know there’s an epidemic or a pandemic in an area and you choose to travel there anyway, travel insurance won’t cover you if you cancel or interrupt your trip out of fear to travel – unless you bought “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage.* 

Pandemics and epidemics are listed as excluded for coverage in our plan documents. This means claims for losses caused by or resulting from those events won’t be paid. However, we can provide coverage if you, a family member, or a traveling companion contract COVID-19 and plan requirements are met. You can be covered for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Travel Delay, Medical & Dental, and Emergency Assistance & Transportation, in addition to our 24-Hour Emergency Assistance services.

Read exactly how our plans can help with COVID-19 illness


Storms are one of the most common areas of confusion over what’s covered and what’s not. But, it really just falls under the “reasonably foreseeable events” umbrella.

If there’s a known storm coming and you choose to book a vacation regardless, travel insurance probably won’t cover you. If you booked your trip far in advance of the storm, before it was predicted, you could be covered.

In other words, if you book a trip to Cancun and buy travel insurance in February for a July vacation, and several days away from departure Cancun issues a mandatory evacuation order for a coming hurricane, travel insurance can cover your trip cancellation if the terms are met in the plan documents.

But, if you hear about the storm and then decide to book a trip to Cancun anyway or buy a travel insurance plan after the storm has been forecasted, travel insurance won’t cover you.

Once a storm is named, any subsequent travel bookings won’t be covered under travel insurance.

What is a foreseeable event?

Foreseeable simply means reasonably known beforehand. Once it is reasonable that people traveling to an area would know about an event, it becomes foreseeable. For example, if employees of the airline you are flying announce that they are going on strike, the event becomes foreseeable once they make the announcement.

Pre-Existing Conditions (in many cases)

Pre-existing medical conditions can be tricky in regard to what travel insurance doesn’t cover. Some travel insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions, but put some sort of prerequisite around the coverage.

If you purchase our Premium plan you can qualify for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, as long as the travel protection plan is purchased prior to or within 24 hours of your final trip payment, you are medically able to travel at the time the plan is purchased, and all prepaid trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions have been insured.

Under that scenario, someone could buy the same travel insurance policy for two identical trips and have pre-existing conditions covered under one policy and not the other – all because of when they bought the policy. Timing is everything.

Also read: 5 Things to Know About Pre-Existing Medical Conditions and Travel Insurance

Dangerous Activities

Many things fall under the heading of dangerous activities, including:

  • Mountain climbing
  • Bungee cord jumping
  • Skydiving
  • Parachuting
  • Hang gliding
  • Parasailing
  • Caving
  • Extreme skiing or heli-skiing
  • Boxing
  • Full contact martial arts
  • Scuba diving below 120 feet (40 meters) or without a dive master
  • Operating or learning to operate an aircraft, as pilot or crew
  • Participation in professional athletics
  • Riding or driving in any motor competition

If you get injured while doing any of these things, travel insurance probably won’t pay your medical bills or pay other coverages, such as Trip Interruption.

Again, this is an area where travel insurance policies can differ, so read yours to make sure.

Other Things Not Covered

Depending on the plan, some of the other things that travel insurance won’t usually cover include:

  • Any unlawful acts
  • Participation in organized amateur and interscholastic athletic or sports competition events
  • Being under the influence of drugs or intoxicants, unless prescribed by a Physician

Another area of some confusion involves frequent-flyer miles. If you have to cancel a trip you paid for with frequent-flyer miles because of a covered reason you may be reimbursed for the cost to reinstate the miles to your account. This is only available with Trip Cancellation coverage.

Also, if frequent-flyer miles were used to arrange anything other than air transportation – like lodging, for instance – most plans don’t cover those situations.

Understanding what travel insurance does and doesn’t cover can be tricky, but when you start by reading your plan documents, things become much clearer. And if you still have questions, calling your travel insurance company can help clear up any confusion.

Tired of learning what travel insurance won't cover? Read these to see what can be covered:

Enjoy your travels and -- we can’t stress this enough -- read your policy!

*This coverage is not available to residents of New York.

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