Travel insurance is insurance you can purchase to protect yourself before and during travel which will help to cover: any illness or medical expenses, lost luggage, accidents, and even deposits should you not be able to make your trip as planned. Many tour companies offer the insurance when you purchase a travel package, or the insurance can be purchased from an independent insurance company.
One of the biggest benefits of travel insurance is peace of mind. People can pay thousands of dollars for vacations and trips of their dreams, only to have their plans dashed at the last moment. It’s bad enough to have to miss a trip you’ve been looking forward to, but when you lose money you’ve already paid it’s even worse. Protecting your trip with travel insurance means you can relax and not stress over plans, even if you or someone you’re traveling with gets sick at the last minute.
Select the Right Travel Insurance
Types of Insurance for your Vacation
Although the most common type of travel insurance covers people who are unable to make their trip as planned, there are also other emergencies they cover. Some of these are:
Medical Emergency – This doesn’t mean coverage for those who just get sick before they leave. It can include coverage for emergencies before and during the trip. This type of travel insurance also covers things like putting off travel due to a broken leg, because chances are if you’re on crutches the last thing you want to be doing is walking around seeing the sights.
Emergency Evacuation – Whether you’re traveling to South America to visit ancient Indian ruins or heading to the Philippines for a scuba diving adventure, things can and do go wrong. Natural disasters can occur anywhere at anytime, and if you find you have to curtail your vacation early, travel insurance can cover these natural disasters. When you most want to get home, the last thing you need is to have to pay for is an early flight home on top of the flights you’ve already paid for.
Trip Interruption – As unfortunate as it is, things do happen when people are on vacation. Maybe a loved one gets sick or a grandparent dies. This isn’t the time to worry about how much extra it’s going to cost you to get home early. At times like these you want to focus on getting home to friends and family at this crucial time. Although it doesn’t happen often, knowing you can get where you need to without additional funds is important.
Overseas Funeral Expenses – One of the most unfortunate things that can happen while on vacation is someone in your party dying. When tragedy like this strikes it can be not only devastating, but a confusing, stressful time as well. Having overseas funeral expenses means you can pay for a burial in the country you’re visiting or you can have a body transported home. A final trip to someone’s home country is often a gift family likes to give older family members, so it may be ideal for them to be buried in their home country. If not, airlines and travel insurance companies are well versed in how to handle these emergencies and having coverage can greatly take the burden off of the family.
Health Insurance – It’s not uncommon for health insurance companies to cover their insured only if they are in a certain location. Before traveling, it’s important to determine what your health insurance company will cover while you’re traveling, if anything. While travel insurance policies are meant to protect people should they need emergency care, there are limits to the policy so it’s important to make sure you understand exactly what you’re buying with travel insurance.
Lost Connections – Airports are usually pretty good at getting people where they need to go and flights are usually on time. However, if you should miss a flight that was due to something out of your control, you need to know that you won’t be paying any extra fees. Some travel insurance companies will pay even if it’s something that could have been prevented. Lost connections often occur due to weather, so you’ll want to read the policy you’re considering in detail. Does it pay for a hotel should the flights be grounded due to a snowstorm? Knowing things like this will help you to choose the right policy for your trip.
Stolen or Lost Luggage – There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination and finding out you have no clothes to wear. When luggage is stolen or lost by the airline, it can be disruptive to the rest of your trip. You might have to go shopping first thing, just to replace necessary items. While the airlines are pretty good at eventually finding the right owners for lost items, it can often take time – valuable time you just don’t have when you’re on vacation.
Optional Travel Insurance Coverage
Although it may seem like travel insurance covers a lot of situations, and it does, there are always other things to consider. Take for example if you’re a scuba diver. If for some reason a diver has to ascend too fast from deep water, they can get what’s commonly called the bends.
After getting the bends, the only way to get the body back to proper cellular functioning is to put the diver into a hyperbaric chamber. Even if there is a chamber nearby, the cost of using them is truly astronomical. One treatment can cost upwards of $80,000 USD, so it pays for divers to understand that travel insurance doesn’t cover this type of thing. There is special diver’s insurance that will cover it, but many extreme sports don’t fall under the umbrella of typical accidents someone might have on a vacation. So if you’re traveling to conquer Mt. Everest or dive the Great Barrier Reef, consider another type of insurance in addition to travel insurance.
Some policies will even cover work related reasons for having to cancel a trip. Maybe you’re an important salesman for your company and a potential big client has just expressed interest. If you feel you need to reschedule your trip, it may not be what you want to do but it may save your job. Determine if you’re a key employee that may be required to stay should your company ask you to. That Caribbean destination will still be there four or six months down the road and so will your job.
Call Your Credit Card and Car Insurance Companies First
While it’s important to purchase travel insurance to protect your trip, it’s even more important to know exactly what you’re getting. Many major credit cards cover some types of travel problems if you’ve paid for the trip on their credit card. Contact the credit card company or bank you’re using to pay for the trip to find out what they cover and how much coverage they offer.
You will also want to call your car insurance company. Many car rental companies will try and get you to buy extra insurance to cover the rental car when it may already be covered by your own car insurance policy.
When you’ve called both of these companies, you will have a better idea of what additional coverage you need. A couple of quick calls can certainly save you a good deal of money.
How to Select the Best Travel Insurance for Your Trip
There is no single travel insurance company that is the best for everyone. Many major insurance companies offer travel insurance, so it may be more cost effective to check with all the insurance companies you already do business with. If you prefer to go with an insurance company that only deals with travel insurance, you can easily type “best travel insurance companies” into any search engine and see what different companies offer. You can even check reviews from other people.
When you decide on a travel insurance company and call them, have a list of questions to ask in regards to what all is covered. For example, if you’re traveling to a hotspot for terrorist activity, you might want to know how they deal with acts of terrorism should it occur when you’re in that country. The important thing at this time is being positive of what is covered and what isn’t. It’s also very important to talk about policy limits, especially when it comes to health coverage. Even a short hospital stay can wreak havoc on someone financially, so understand just what your coverage will offer you in case of emergency.
Then, before you pay for travel insurance, make sure to read the policy in fine detail. Yes, the policies can be cumbersome to read because of the legal jargon, but when you take the few extra minutes to know exactly what it says, you’ll be able to relax more before and during your trip knowing that you’re really, truly covered. The price you pay for the travel insurance can be some of the best money you’ve ever spent should something happen to you or someone you’re traveling with.