Travel Insurance – Got You Covered

Planning to be traveling soon? Should you buy travel insurance? It’s a tough call whether spending the extra money is worth it. Are you over 50? Travel insurance goes up significantly as you get older. If you’re spending a lot of money on a trip, travel insurance is a must.

Travel Insurance Coverage

Travel insurance covers these basics:

  • Trip Cancellation Or Interruption
  • Medical
  • Emergency Evacuation
  • Baggage
  • Flight Delays and Cancellations

Travel Insurance – What Does It Mean For You?

Trip Cancellation refers to canceling prior to your trip whereas trip interruption refers to a problem during your trip. What if you or one of your travel companions gets hurt or sick and you need to cancel your plans. This is where travel insurance comes to the rescue.

What if you have a medical emergency? Think you’re covered by your medical insurance? You might be. But most medical insurance policies don’t cover you outside of the United States. Medicare never covers you when traveling abroad. Find out if you’re covered when traveling to your next destination.

What happens if you do sick and need to be airlifted? Or you need medical care on your flight home. This can be very expensive.

Have you arrived at your destination just to find that you have no luggage? What if you’re ready to board a cruise? Now what? Travel insurance will pay for essential items until your luggage is found and delivered to you. What if it never shows up? Make sure to have a list of items that you packed for your trip. Better yet, keep as many receipts of these items as you can. If your luggage was stolen, make sure to file a police report. This will help in making an insurance claim.

Did you get to the airport just to find out your flight has been delayed? What if the delay causes you to miss your connecting flight? Travel Insurance will reimburse you for hotel stays and meals while waiting to get out on the next flight. But what if your flight leaves on time and you get held up in traffic and miss your flight? You probably won’t be covered.

Travel Insurance – Do I really need it?

Check with your homeowner’s policy. It may already cover such things as lost luggage. Be sure to check the maximum amount of coverage as it may be limited in the payout. Check your medical insurance and find out what is covered when you’re traveling away from home. Verify if you’re covered when traveling abroad. Finally, check your credit card coverage. Some credit cards will provide a limited amount of insurance if the trip was booked with their credit card. If you have an airline’s credit card, check with their coverage. They may have better coverage if you’re traveling with them. But credit cards may not cover you being airlifted back home. Both health insurance and credit cards don’t usually cover travel emergencies.

Once you decide you need travel insurance, read the fine print. Check to see if there are any time limits concerning the purchase of insurance prior to your trip. Find out if the entire length of your trip is covered. Make sure your destination is covered. If the government is warning you not to visit a particular country, you may not be covered if you go there.

What if you get sick? Make sure you list all medications you’re currently taking. Failure to do so could invalidate your policy. What if a family member back home gets sick and you want to cut your trip short. Most travel insurance policies don’t cover this unless it’s a death in the family. There is an option called “cancel for any reason”. If you have older relatives back home, you may want to consider this option for peace of mind. This would allow you to cut your trip short and return home for any reason. Even if you just changed your mind and decided not to go.

Check the fine print and decide if purchasing travel insurance is right for you. You may be glad you did!

Timing is Everything — Especially With Travel Insurance

Few things in life are as satisfying as a trip abroad, and most of us can hardly wait until we leave on our great adventure. Anticipation of things to come merely heightens our delight. Planning our trips is part of the enjoyment. Running around, buying our tickets, luggage, clothes and other items that we plan to take with us don’t even seem like chores. It’s not even painful to pay for these things because we know that soon we’ll be exploring places we’ve never been before. However, there is one “fly in this ointment”, one more expense that we’d rather not have because even though it costs us money, we receive no tangible benefit. What am I talking about? Why, travel insurance, of course!!!

Is Buying Travel Insurance at the Last Moment Okay?

I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, paying for travel insurance is not exactly my favorite way of spending money. Could it be because travel health insurance is not exactly sexy? Or is it because it just adds to the cost of an already expensive trip? Whatever the reason, I’d rather not spend the bucks on travel medical insurance. However, because I know that it really is a necessity, I buy it. Nevertheless, I tend to put off the purchase as long as possible because it still feels like an “extra”. Am doing myself a favor or not?

Are You A Gambler?

Is keeping my money in my pocket for as long as possible helping me or hurting me? By delaying my travel insurance purchase until the day I leave, I’m actually hurting myself. This is because I’m actually gambling that nothing will happen to me before I buy my insurance. I’m betting that I or someone in my family won’t fall ill or get injured prior to departure. Also, if I haven’t bought it and something bad does happen, I won’t have any insurance coverage and I’ll be out of luck. Wouldn’t I be smarter to get my travel insurance ASAP in order to minimize my risk and maximize my potential benefits?

Don’t Lose Your Pre-Existing Condition Coverage

There is another reason to buy travel insurance without delay. Sometimes we make our travel arrangements in stages and don’t book our flights at the same time. We travelers are eligible for pre-existing medical condition exclusion waivers provided we buy our travel insurance from 7 to 21 days (depending on the policy) of making our arrangements. If we wait longer, we may not be eligible for those benefits, especially if a previously unknown health condition should materialize.

Don’t Wait To Finalize Everything Before Buying

Whenever I have traveled, I have known in advance what my plane tickets were going to cost, but what about you? Maybe you’ve made travel plans but have not yet bought your plane tickets. I suggest that it’s a good idea to buy your travel insurance even if you haven’t bought your tickets because doing so will ensure that you will qualify for the pre-existing condition exclusion waiver. If you don’t know what your flight will cost, estimate the cost and include this figure in the total cost of your trip. Later, when you have purchased your flight tickets, you can advise the insurance company. That way you will not risk being ineligible for coverage for a medical conditions that crops up prior to departure.

What If You’ve Already Left on Your Trip?

I happen to be one of the world’s greatest procrastinators. My motto is, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow because you might get lucky and not have to do it at all!” Maybe you, too, are a Great Procrastinator and you avoid buying travel insurance before you leave on your trip. What happens if you have delayed buying your travel insurance or expatriate insurance until AFTER your departure? Are you out of luck? Are you ineligible for insurance because you didn’t buy it before you left home?

Fortunately, the good news is that, even if you decide to buy after departure, you are still eligible for insurance. If you can get access to the internet, both travel insurance and expatriate insurance can be found and purchased online, even after you’ve left on your trip or taken up residence abroad. As the old saying goes, “Better late than never,” especially in this case!

Can You Get Insurance for Someone Else Who Has Already Left?

Here’s another scenario. What if there is an emergency and a family member (including minors) or a friend or employee has not bought travel insurance but has already left on their trip? Do they have to travel uninsured? The answer is no, they don’t have to go without travel insurance. You, or someone else they designate, can go online and purchase travel insurance on their behalf. It’s good to know that when friends, family or employees are too busy to get their own travel insurance, they don’t have to go without it.

In this case, all you need to do is fill out an online application and make the required online payment. You’ll get instant confirmation and can even print out a copy of the policy. There is one cautionary note though. If you’re purchasing travel insurance on behalf of a minor, you’ll first have to register as an adult in order to get the insurance. It is also important to note that they will not be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions that occur during the trip after departure and prior to purchasing their insurance. This is merely another reason why purchasing travel insurance should not be delayed.

In the World of Travel Insurance, Timing Definitely Is Everything

Timing is everything, they say. Purchasing travel or expatriate insurance was probably not on the mind of whoever coined that phrase. Nevertheless, those words apply as much to buying travel insurance as they do to anything else. Given the potential for financial ruin if you’re not insured, the time to buy yours is before you need it because buying it after you need it is impossible and much too late. Learn from the “Great Procrastinator” and get the insurance you need before you need it.

Don’t Risk It, Get the Protection and Security You Need With Travel Insurance

Let’s face it, getting travel insurance can be a very overwhelming and tedious process, making it easy to put off and even forget entirely. But before you head off on your international adventure, you might want to consider getting coverage through some travel insurance, just to be on the safe side.

With some luck, you’ll be glad it’s something you have and won’t need to use. But we all know that in life things happen, so it’s a good idea to find a travel insurance policy that fits your individual needs, travel agenda, and budget. Many travel agents and private companies offer travel insurance, and they have a wide variety of types and options to choice from.

What does Travel Insurance cover?

Basic coverage of travel insurance includes some financial losses while traveling, as well as limited medical expenses, including medical evacuation. The most common type of travel insurance is trip cancellation or trip delay insurance. This type of policy covers you and your travel companions in case you need to cancel, interrupt or delay your trip. However, the acceptable reasons for canceling or interrupting your trip will depend on the insurance policy, but most likely you’ll be covered for the following reasons:

o Sudden business conflicts
o Change of mind
o Delay in processing your visa or passport
o Illness or injury
o Weather related issues

In case your flight is canceled or delayed, travel insurance companies may provide additional coverage such as expenses that the airlines won’t cover, like taxi fares to the hotel or meals during your wait at the airport.

It’s also a good idea to have a plan with medical coverage of up to $1,000,000 in the case you become ill, need medical assistance, or have a flight accident occur. It’s also good to review the amount deductible by your insurance plan (this is the amount you’ll need to come up with before the insurance company picks of the rest). Make sure it covers repatriation (evacuation to your home country, rather than the nearest regional medical facility); make sure that does not mean you will be sent to the country where you purchased your travel insurance plan either, but your home country. If you’re planning a visit to multiple countries, make sure all the countries are included in the region covered by your insurance policy.

To learn more about these types of coverage and more specialized coverage, read The Basics of Travel Insurance.

To invest or not? How to make travel insurance work for me.

Purchasing travel insurance is great for insuring your money, should any unforeseen events pop-up, especially if you invest large sums of money on extravagant travel packages. To determine whether you want to invest in travel insurance your not, ask yourself these questions:

o Did you invest a lot of money into your travel plans?
o Are you traveling overseas?
o Which regions or countries are you visiting and for how long?
o Are you planning on participating in any extreme sports?
o Can you afford the cost of your trip back home if any emergency arises?
o Will you be able to afford medical care if you or someone you are with gets sick and needs immediate medical attention?
o How old are you and how is your overall health?
o Do you have any pre-existing conditions that need regular, special attention?

You can purchase your travel insurance for a single trip, multi-trip, or with an annual policy, all depending on how frequently you travel and the length of your trip. Comprehensive travel insurance can cost anywhere from 4% to 8% of the cost of your trip, depending on type of coverage, the length of the trip, the destination, and the age of the travelers. It is best to purchase your travel insurance between 7 to 21 days of purchasing your travel itinerary. Usually the maximum coverage period for insurance providers is for one year abroad.

Go through the fine print on your policy and check whether you will have to pay on the spot and redeem the money later for any medical expenses, or will the insurance company pay providers directly. If you have to claim it later on, you will want to hang on to all documents.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, get an insurance policy that will specifically cover it. Also examine which adventure sports and activities the plan does and does not cover (rarely does it include scuba diving and hang gliding). Lastly, for your benefit, a policy that is flexible and can be extended while you’re already away is recommended. You never know whom you’ll meet, and you just might want to extend your trip.

Another good tip would be to get in touch with your credit card issuer before investing in travel insurance. At http://www.creditcards.com/, a credit card information site, suggests calling your credit card issuer to see if you have any free travel benefits that you may not be aware of, for example, insurance on lost or damaged luggage. However, according to USTIA, canceling a trip at the last minute and being reimbursed by your credit card company is the most common misconceptions among travelers. And sometimes credit card companies have limitations on only cover up to 3 months of travel. It’s worth investigating.

Lastly, if you have existing health coverage, it would be wise to get in touch with them before hand, especially if you will need vaccinations and other medicine for your trip. Depending on your health insurance plan, ask for a ‘travel packet’ and they will send you important information regarding your coverage, if any, while abroad. It might turn out you might already be covered for somethings, but not for others.

Where can I purchase Travel Insurance?

There are many sites and companies offering travel insurance online. Among them are leading companies such as World Nomads, Travel Guard, and InsureMyTrip, just to name a few. A new online resource called Squaremouth, helps travelers easily and instantly compare all the major travel insurance plans at one site. You’ll be able to get immediate quotes from several major, reputable travel insurance providers and compare policies and their prices. It’s a good starting point and one that you can trust.

Helpful Tips for once you’ve purchased your Travel Insurance:

o Scan your insurance policy electronically and save it somewhere securely online
o Make one copy for yourself to bring on your trip
o Make another copy for a trusted family member to keep at home
o Have the emergency hotline number accessible during your trip, but make sure you try it out before leaving home to ensure its operating and correct
o List out any medications you are taking (including vaccinations for your trip), and a list of allergies you have; keep this with your insurance emergency number
o Keep all receipts at home
o Review all the fine print in your insurance policy and determine which adventures you will be taking and which risks might not be worth it

Finally, get ready for a trip of a lifetime! Hopefully you’ll avoid ever using your insurance plan, but it will give you and your loved ones more security knowing you’re protected.