As the economy is slowly improving, many are starting to take long put off vacations. Is travelers’ insurance a necessary expense for those vacations? Is it worth it? Who should really be thinking about buying travel insurance? The short answer to this question is: Everybody should at least consider the options.
Travel insurance isn’t a great investment for every trip. People who are taking a road trip or planning a weekend getaway relatively close to home probably don’t need travel insurance. When you’re investing in a cruise, a Caribbean vacation or a European excursion, you should consider the options and make an informed decision. Travel insurance is particularly important for anyone who is planning a trip and can ill afford to lose the money they’ve invested.
The inability to begin the trip, or to complete it, as scheduled are the reasons most commonly cited for needing travel insurance. Commonly this involves a change in your work situation before you depart. If an illness or injury could hinder your plans, travel insurance may be important. When you’re traveling with young children, a family trip may be derailed when one family member gets sick. These are all common reasons warranting the purchase of travel insurance.
Weather commonly impacts trips. Those of you planning vacations over the winter should consider the adverse impact of winter weather on flights. In the summer months, we think of hurricanes and tropical storms striking your vacation destination. Weather impacted travel plans leave you with increased costs to get to, or home from, your vacation destination. The cost to take a flight to the next port of call when you’ve missed your cruise ship’s departure is usually an unplanned trip expense. When weather forces the cancellation of a flight during your trip, the hotel and meal expenses you incur without travel insurance come out of your pocket.
A major concern for many is getting sick or become injured while on your vacation. Your regular health insurance might not cover all of your expenses. You may incur added costs just to get to a medical facility capable of caring for you. How would you deal with any increased costs to get home for treatment if a conventional airline could not accommodate your needs?
The third coverage component, and the most common component claims are submitted for, is the cost for you to replace your luggage when its travel destination turns out different from yours. Included with that same coverage are losses due to theft. Thieves don’t usually steal your clothes; they’re looking for your camera, I-pad, jewelry or lap top? Your personal homeowner policy will usually cover up to 10% of your “personal property/contents” limit but you first have to absorb your deductible and then face higher rates for the claims experience. Travel insurance rates are set based on the values and deductibles you select. The price difference between a $0 and $250 deductible is minimal. Simply put, the luggage coverage with a low deductible is commonly well worth the cost.
The coverages you buy with a travel insurance plan vary, as do the price you will pay. The most common travel insurance plans are: Package plans, Medical plans, and Medical Evacuation plans:
Package Plans: These plans provide the best investment protection for your trip. In addition to trip cancellation, most package plans offer coverages for trip interruption, lost baggage, medical expenses, dental care, emergency evacuation, 24-hour traveler assistance, and accidental death benefits. Some package plans offer coverage for rental car damage and even bail bonds. Package plans are usually used for both leisure and business travel.
Travel Medical Plans: You don’t have to be on a vacation to experience the added costs when your health insurance company holds you responsible for seeking medical attention from outside your plan’s “provider network.” That added cost commonly results in a minimum of 10-15% additional of out of pocket expenses just to receive medical care; some health insurance plans provide partial and even no coverage while you are traveling in another country. The travel medical insurance plans provide coverage above and beyond your regular health provider. There are several types of such travel medical plans providing a range of benefits such as medical coverage for pre-existing conditions, multi-trip, emergency medical evacuation, and coverage for long-term travel (such as a 6 month trip abroad).
Travel Medical Evacuation: These plans provide assistance in the event that you become seriously ill or injured while traveling. They can be purchased with a travel medical plan or seperatly. These plans provide emergency medical evacuation to the nearest appropriate care facility or, with some plans, to the hospital of your choice. Most plans include coverage for bringing a deceased body back into the United States. With Medical Evacuation plans, the plan provider arranges all of the details of the transport. They arrange transport from the local medical facility to the airport, the flight, deal with customs filings, and coordinate ground transportation when you land state side.
How can I purchase Trip Insurance? Travel agents utilize agreements with one or more insurance companies allowing them to sell you the travel insurance plan best suited for you. However when booking trips over the internet, you miss out on the travel agent’s knowledge, experience, and other resources such as access to travel insurance.
In direct response to internet bookings, came the establishment of internet and 800 number travel insurance agencies. The problem you face with most internet based companies is that you are guessing at the plan’s coverages and pricing options. An exception to that appears to be InsureMyTrip.com
I have always avoided promoting a business in my articles. Travel insurance is a topic with limited purchase options. This Rhode Island based company is recognized as the first ‘online’ travel insurance agency. Their “Customer Care Representatives” are all licensed insurance agents and do not work on commission. That allows them to recommend the best possible travel insurance solution for you. Their website provides customer access to as much unbiased information about travel insurance plans as possible.