Sometimes, international travel health insurance can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Let’s say your friend is traveling to Korea. Just as she starts to enjoy the strange culinary delights of the country, all goes downhill. While eating her dessert after a heavy dinner, she is hit by a severe allergic reaction that requires her to be hospitalized.

She didn’t know about her allergy, but her international travel health insurance plan does not reimburse her. As a result, she has sworn off travel insurance. Her only complaint is that she had bought insurance for precisely such a situation and it was useless nevertheless.

What’s wrong with the picture? Unfortunately, it’s the fine print. International travel health insurance will often not reimburse for pre-existing conditions, and in this particular case, would have treated her allergy as such. In a previous post Insurance Jungle: Conditions Regarding Pre-Existing Conditions, we saw how the fine print can indicate what will be covered.

Several travel medical insurance plans allow you to add allergies to coverage, and some of them will add it for free. Check with your insurance company, and remember that if you are aware of allergies, declare them on your insurance plan application and carry that information on your person. Also, at any restaurant, check the ingredients of the dish you order.