Honestly, I purchased my one-year valid travel insurance last month and decided to read the instructions only now in SFO terminal while waiting to board flight to Dublin. It says "we recommend thorough reading of the instructions...". The first page says to make sure to activate card prior to travel. There's an expiry date of 4 June 2010 so I guess my policy has been activated.
Have you heard of a PIR form? Its the abbreviation of Property Irregular Report provided by the airline that must be completed for missing luggage. The insurance will cover expenses 36 hours from the reported loss (you have to call)together with this PIR form. For cancelled or at least 6-hours delayed flights, they need a written proof from the airline.
Medical assistance is limited to emergency treatment that prevent continuation of the trip or in case of an accident or unexpected illness. The good news is the insurance will cover up to 10 physical therapies, medications, ambulatory, dentistry (up to$150), hospitalization, surgery, intensive care and coronary unit, repatriations, transfer of a relative (up to ten days), funerary repatriation; and,including legal assistance from an attorney and loan to pay for a jail bond.
The BAD news is expressly excluded are endemic and/or epidemic illnesses in countries under sanitary emergency status (- - duh! guess with H1N1 pandemic, this means half the world?), training or active participation in all kinds of sports competitions (--- hmmm, triathlons and marathons???) and high risk sports such as water skiing, jet skiing, para sailing, scuba diving (--- at least, there's the Divers Alert Network for diving-related emergencies), mountain climing, surfing, windsurfing, and winter sports. Yikes! most of my sports are not "insurable". I guess the golfers are the only ones covered!
So, in case some unforseen event does happen, make sure to place the call (in my case case to Assist-Card Alarm Center) so the clock starts ticking and then, have all the proper forms from the airline (for delays or missing luggage), an ID card, passport, airline tickets and collect all the receipts.
Thank God I read the instructions! It also says to check voucher for maximum global amounts. What voucher??? I don't have it with me. Well... at least I'm out of an epidemic illness country under sanitary emergency status...