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Guide to Travel Insurance

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is insurance that is purchased to cover unforeseen circumstances such as last minute cancellations, lost luggage, medical charges and evacuation while traveling. Travel insurance can be purchased on trips within your country or for international trips. Costs vary depending on trip length, price and where you are traveling to, but it usually doesn’t cost more than a couple hundred dollars to insure a trip.

What types of travel insurance policies are there?

There are a number of travel insurance options but most fall into these categories.

Medical and evacuation

An accident or illness when overseas can cost you thousands. If your current policy doesn’t already cover it, medical and evacuation insurance covers the cost of medical care when traveling. It also covers the cost of transportation if you need to be transported to another hospital or evacuated back to your home country for treatment. Though illness can strike at any time or in any place, this type of policy is especially important if you are engaging in adventurous activities such as mountain climbing, skiing or hang gliding. Just make sure the policy you choose covers these activities.

Baggage and personal items

If your luggage is damaged, lost or stolen while traveling, a baggage and personal items policy will cover the costs not paid by the airline.

Death and dismemberment

Similar to a life insurance policy, this policy will pay your beneficiaries in the unfortunate case of death while traveling.

Trip cancellation and interruption

Trip cancellation insurance covers your financial investment if you need to suddenly delay, cancel or interrupt your trip. Policies will differ on acceptable reasons for cancellation but they often include injury, illness, weather or business conflicts. Some policies will cover you if your tour company or cruise line defaults. The most comprehensive policies will allow you to cancel for absolutely any reason including a change in financial circumstances, political unrest at your destination or if you simply decide you don’t want to go anymore.

Do I need travel insurance?

If you spent $200 on a plane ticket and plan to crash on a friends couch when you get to your final destination, you might not see the need for travel insurance. However, we have seen clients rack up some serious costs when they’ve cancelled big trips or gotten sick while traveling. As a rule of thumb, we usually recommend some sort of insurance any time you travel. Chances are you won’t need to make a claim, but if you do have an issue and don’t have insurance, the costs incurred could be financially crippling.

Other tips for getting travel insurance:

  • Before you choose a policy, see what’s covered under your current health insurance plan or through your credit card company. It won’t be all you need but it will prevent you from paying for coverage that you already have.
  • Review policies very carefully to ensure yours is as comprehensive as you need it to be. Check for things like acceptable reasons for cancellation, countries covered, what injuries are covered, etc.
  • Purchase insurance through your travel management company. They will often have access to the best deals and will be able to advise you on the best policy for your trip.

 

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