Travel Insurance Questions
The long hours of planning and financial investment in a vacation can go out the window for a number of reasons, from hurricanes to a sudden health problem.
No one plans for a vacation to get canceled or changed, but the number of factors that go into travel mean there is a possibility for problems.
Travel insurance is an option to financially secure your trip.
When Do You Need Travel Insurance?
Not all travel situations warrant a travel insurance policy. If the trip is relatively inexpensive or you have a refund option on cancellations, you usually don’t need to spend the money on travel insurance.
If your traveling circumstances are unstable and you stand to lose a significant amount of money, the policy gives you a financial backup. For example, if you have health problems, you might not be able to travel. If you’re traveling during a time of year known for bad weather, your flight could get canceled.
Cruises are another example of a time when travel insurance is recommended. If you miss the departure or the cruise is shortened due to problems, you lose your money and lose out on the trip.
What Types of Travel Insurance Exist?
You have different options for insuring part or all of your trip, depending on your specific situation. Trip cancellation and interruption policies offer general protection if your trip gets canceled for various reasons. Health insurance for travel is another consideration for people who travel out of the country.
Your regular health insurance policy may cover you only while you are in the U.S. A Medical Evacuation and Repatriation insurance policy allows for you to get treatment in the country and then be transferred back to the U.S. once you are stable, something that isn’t always covered by your standard health insurance policy.
Baggage insurance is another option you can get through the airline in case your baggage is lost.
What Does It Cover?
The specific coverage depends on the fine print of the travel insurance you purchase. Read all of the restrictions and details before you purchase the insurance. In general, a cancellation and interruption policy covers the nonrefundable portion of the travel expenses if your trip is canceled or you have to cut the trip short. It should also cover any extra costs you incur if you have to head home sooner than planned.
Most travel insurance policies list the specific qualifying reasons for a cancellation. It won’t pay if the trip is canceled due to an uncovered event. On some policies, you have the option of a “cancel for any reason” addition, which will cost you more money.
You may get only a portion of your costs back if you just decide to cancel for no valid reason, so you should still read the fine print.
Where Do You Get Travel Insurance?
Cruise lines and other travel companies offer their own travel insurance policies, but this could put you in a tricky situation. If the company goes out of business, you won’t get to take your trip and you probably won’t see any money, either.
These policies sometimes give you credit for another trip rather than a cash refund. Several independent travel insurance companies offer policies, including TravelSafe Insurance, Travel Guard and USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services.
Your travel agent is another resource for finding a quality travel insurance policy.