If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you can make the best plans in the world, and they can still get turned on their head because of the unexpected.
Are you a detailed planner when it comes to your travel plans? Do you like reading the fine print on all your reservations, plan each stop on your travels?
Many people make travel plans assuming they’ve got it all covered and not imagine how anything could disrupt their travels. Some people don’t even think cancellations coverage is worth the money.
But if you’ve ever been stranded in an airport because of a flight cancellation or had lost luggage, or gotten sick while away on vacation, you understand how disruptive these events can be on your travel plans and travel budget.
If you’ve ever sat in front of your computer screen debating whether trip cancellation insurance is worth the cost, this article is for you. Read on to learn more about travel insurance, the protections it offers, and how to get it.
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What Is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is another type of insurance that helps to protect travelers from unexpected expenses that can arise if something goes wrong while traveling. It provides peace of mind against those unforeseen mishaps that can occur during travel like natural disasters, cancellations, lost luggage, or medical emergencies.
Travel insurers cover a wide range of potential travel pitfalls. You might know that some of your regular current homeowners, renter’s, auto, or health insurance could provide you some coverage. However, it’s not likely to cover every potential travel problem that could arise. This is especially true of international travel.
What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
There are several different types of travel insurance. The different types provide various types of coverage depending on your concern or needs. Many factors contribute to trip costs and unexpected events from travel, and most can be covered through some form of travel insurance.
Before you purchase travel insurance, consider what your own personal insurance already covers. Then consider what you want to be covered. This might include:
- Medical plan for travel
- Emergency medical travel and repatriation
- Need to cancel a trip
- Trip travel delays or interruption
- Cancellation for any reason
- Loss of baggage
- Emergency 24-hour services
- Rental car protection
We’ll take a closer look at each of these types of coverage in more detail shortly.
Who Should Get Travel Insurance?
If you’ve ever made reservations for a plane ticket or hotel, you’ve likely seen the opportunity to insure the trip. You’ve probably also wondered do I need this or the extra expense? It can be hard to decide whether to buy travel insurance.
If you’re trying to decide whether purchasing travel insurance is a good idea, ask yourself these questions.
- Can you afford the risk of lost deposits or prepayments if your trip gets canceled?
- Can you pay out of pocket if you have to get back home for any reason during your travels?
- Can you pay for medical expenses, including basic care to a medical evacuation home if you get sick or injured while traveling?
- Do you have other insurance or credit card coverage that might provide some additional travel insurance coverage?
Remember, if you’re planning a trip for you and a family member, you want to cover them too.
What Impacts the Cost of Travel Insurance?
If you seek additional travel insurance, several things can impact the cost of your coverage.
The cost of your trip will, of course, impact the cost of coverage. The more costly the trip, the more expensive the coverage. The amount of time you’re traveling also affects cost.
Other factors include:
- Local health care costs
- Medical conditions you seek coverage for
- Breadth of coverage
You might also be surprised to learn that the older you are, the more cost there’s likely to be for the coverage.
Types of Travel Insurance
If you already know, certain things will be covered through other insurance policies you have, and then you might want specific coverage for certain things.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of specific travel coverage you can get.
Travel Medical Coverage
The first type of coverage is medical health care coverage for travel, which often works much like traditional health care coverage. This coverage is not likely to cover routine medical care while traveling.
It should offer coverage for activities, but make sure to read the fine print, especially if you like adventure travel. Most travel medical insurance won’t cover you if you participate in adventure sports.
If you plan to travel internationally, make sure the plan covers you abroad. Your own health care coverage is not likely to cover you if you travel abroad. Medicare for seniors doesn’t cover international health crises in most situations.
Cancellations, Delays, Interruptions
Trip cancellation coverage provides protection for prepaid trip expenses that would be nonrefundable.
Let’s say you pay for a trip excursion, and the operator goes out of business, or you can’t make the reservation. This type of coverage would protect you.
It also protects you if you become ill, or a family member who isn’t traveling with you becomes ill, or you face a natural disaster in the course of travel times.
This coverage also covers delays and interruptions, as well as cancellations.
Baggage and Personal Items Being Lost
There’s nothing quite so frustrating while traveling as lost luggage. This type of travel insurance protects you if your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged.
Many policies will also cover the inconvenience of a baggage delay if it extends to a certain period of time, like 12 hours late.
If you have a loss or theft, sometimes homeowner’s insurance policies cover this. Be sure to check your individual policy before purchasing additional coverage. Remember to factor in your deductible costs, though.
Emergency medical coverage protects you if you become sick or injured while traveling. It covers the medical expenses related to your illness or injury.
It can also cover medical transport to the nearest hospital for care or medical repatriation if you need transportation back home.
Be sure to check your health care coverage to see what it covers. You might also check where you’re traveling to so you know the medical standards for payment in the event you need care.
24-Hour Emergency Assistance
Many plans include 24-hour assistance for travelers covered under their plan. Some credit cards also offer this coverage.
This can be for emergencies or information purposes, too, like finding a new hotel or restaurant where you’re traveling.
Accidental Death or Dismemberment
This type of coverage protects your beneficiaries if you die an accidental death while traveling. It also covers you if you experience loss of a hand, foot, limb, eyesight, speech, or hearing loss while traveling.
It’s important to note, if you already have life insurance, you may already be covered. Be sure to check your policy before buying this type of coverage.
Rental Car Coverage
If you plan to rent a car on your travels, you need to do some research. First, see what your own auto coverage covers. Often it won’t cover you in other countries beyond Canada.
Some rental car coverage plans will cover if the car is damaged from an accidental or natural disaster. Yet, they often don’t include liability coverage if there’s damage to another vehicle or medical care is needed as a result of the accident.
Travel Insurance Add-On Policies
For most travelers, getting some basic travel insurance to protect against illness, natural disasters, or illness is enough coverage. It gets you the protection you need.
However, there are some times when you might consider adding to the travel coverage for additional protection. You can buy add-on policies to travel coverage, much like you might do with your homeowners to add special coverage.
Some times to consider extra coverage include:
- You’re an older traveler
- You have a pre-existing health condition
- Participate in sports while traveling
- Your trip is expensive
You might also do an add-on policy if you travel with expensive gear like golf clubs, ski equipment, or a high-end camera, for example.
Sources for Travel Insurance
As you consider your travel insurance options, there are a number of places you can seek travel insurance. First, it makes sense to check with your own insurance company for coverage you already have. This might include coverage through a homeowner’s policy, healthcare coverage, or auto insurance.
There are travel insurance companies who specifically write travel policies too. You might also check with your credit card company too what coverage you have through your card.
Your travel agent or travel sites will often also offer coverage plans when you make reservations. These plans often cover cancellation needs.
As with any insurance plan, it’s important to read the whole policy to know what you are buying, what will be covered, and most importantly, what won’t be covered.
Making a Claim
Often you purchase travel insurance as worst-case scenario coverage. Yet, you might be wondering what will happen if you need to use it. How do you make an insurance claim if you need to actually use the coverage?
The good news is that most travel insurance policies don’t come with deductibles like some of your other policies might. Often when making a claim, you’ll pay a small initial fee to process the claim.
Most travel insurance policies work on reimbursement. This is something you want to ask about when purchasing. This means you pay, and they will reimburse you. You have to pay for the cost or expense, save your receipts, make a claim, then get reimbursed.
If you feel like you’re going to need to use your travel insurance and it’s a non-emergent situation, it might be smart to contact them directly and get directions on how to proceed. This will make the claims process go more smoothly.
When Should You Purchase Travel Insurance
In most situations, you should purchase travel insurance as you make reservations or shortly thereafter.
If you’re traveling to a location that is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, for example, you can’t wait too long. If a storm gets named, you will no longer be eligible for travel insurance against a natural disaster.
You want to make sure your coverage starts when you leave your door to when you return back home. Don’t skip any part of your travel plans. Make sure to include any destinations and excursions while traveling. Some destinations have a higher risk, so leaving them off could leave you without coverage.
Pay Attention to Technicalities
If you have any pre-existing conditions related to your health, you want to be diligent in checking travel insurance coverage. Many travel insurance policies exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions or put strict limits on the coverage.
Can you purchase travel insurance with a pre-existing condition? Yes, you need to be more careful to read the fine print to make sure you’re covered.
Most Common Needs
As you consider travel insurance, consider when it’s most likely you’ll need it. Often travel issues arise related to weather, winter weather, or hurricane-related cancelations or delays.
If there’s a chance for winter weather-related issues in your travel plans, make sure your plan covers:
- Missing a flight because of weather
- Flight cancellations because of weather so the plane can’t take off
- Flight delays or cancellations to or from your destination
If you’re traveling to a hurricane region, it’s important this coverage be purchased well in advance. Hurricane coverage usually comes in three forms. First, if the trip is canceled prior to the trip because of a hurricane, it also covers trip interruptions or delays as a result of a hurricane.
Cancellations Coverage to Protect Your Travel Plans
When you invest in travel, especially for a vacation, you do it to escape and make memories. You don’t want those memories to involve being stranded because of a travel issue. Cancellations coverage can help protect you from those unexpected events related to your travels.
It’s always important to make sure you have the insurance coverage you need in your life. At LoPriore Insurance, we can help make sure you have the coverage you need. Contact us today so we can discuss your insurance coverage.