Whether you’re planning a quick get-away to the beach or mountains, a dream cruise of a lifetime, an adventure trek, or an overseas business trip, travel insurance can be a wise investment that can save you money and provide you with peace of mind.
The information below answers some common questions that can help you make a better-informed decision about your travels.
Is Travel Insurance Right For You?
When determining whether travel insurance is right for you, ask yourself the following basic questions:
- Can I afford the financial risk of losing my vacation investment if something goes wrong due to illness, weather, or other unforeseen circumstances?
- If I have to cut my trip short because of an emergency can I afford the cost of a return airline trip home?
- Does my health insurance cover me away from home and in foreign countries if I become ill or am injured while traveling?
- If my bags are lost or I have to spend an extra night because of weather-related problems, can I afford to buy replacement necessities and pay for extra lodging?
If you answered 'No' to any of the above questions, chances are that travel insurance may be a wise investment. Travel insurance can end up saving you a lot of money.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is designed to cover the times when things go wrong and problems arise. Most travel insurance policies usually bundle the following three types of coverage into one comprehensive policy:
- Financial reimbursement for trip cancellation, interruption and delay in situations arising from conditions such as illness or bad weather; and for baggage loss and/or delay.
- Medical insurance and medical evacuation coverage in case you become ill or are injured while traveling.
- 24-hour assistance line to help find doctors, help arrange accommodations, contact your family or other assistance in case of emergency
Why Buy Travel Insurance?
There are a number of reasons why you may want to purchase travel insurance. The most common reasons are peace of mind, protection from the unexpected, and concern over losing the financial investment in a trip.
Here are some real-life examples:
- You have to cut your trip short because of illness
- You have to cancel your nonrefundable trip because a family member had an accident
- Your flight is delayed overnight because of bad weather, and you need a hotel room
- Your baggage is lost or substantially delayed
- You miss your cruise departure because of weather-related flight delays
- You need medical assistance while abroad
- You have an auto accident in a foreign country and need legal assistance
- You have to cancel a trip because your home is flooded or uninhabitable
- You can’t get home because of a hurricane, floods or other natural disaster at your destination
What to Look For/Questions To Ask
When deciding whether travel insurance is right for you, compare companies, policy coverage, benefits and prices. Also find out what is included as well as what is excluded.
Check your current health and homeowners policies to see what coverage you have. For example, many people are surprised to find that their medical insurance may not cover them in international waters, and may provide no coverage at all for medical evacuation.
Here are some basic questions to ask:
What type of insurance will you need?
- Will you need insurance for possible trip cancellation, interruption for trip
- Do you need insurance for trip cancellation, interruption and delay?
- Do you need medical insurance and medical evacuation coverage while traveling?
- Will you need a 24-hour assistance line to help find doctors, contact your family or other assistance in case of emergency?
- Do you travel often? If so you may want to consider an annual policy.
How about Special Circumstances?
- Are pre-existing medical conditions covered?
- If on a sports trip, are sports-related injuries covered?
- Are strikes, civil disturbances and terrorist acts covered?
- Are you covered if your travel supplier goes out of business?
- Especially if on a cruise or tour check whether the policy covers the entire trip, including airfare, hotel, shore excursions, sightseeing and pre-and post-touring.
What will it Cost?
- Travel insurance generally costs from 4% to 8% of the total trip. Cost is based on the length of trip, destination, and age of policy holder.
- What is the waiting period for trip or baggage delay?
- Is coverage primary or secondary? Secondary coverage means that you must file a claim with your other insurance such as homeowners or medical first. Primary coverage means that the insurance reimburses you before any other insurance.
Where can you purchase travel insurance?
- Travel insurance can be purchased from travel agents, travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, cruise lines, tour operators) a private insurance firm, insurance brokers, or online.
What type of product should you buy?
- This type of policy is good for U.S.
- This is good for international
Why purchase from a UStiA member?
- UStiA membership is your assurance that a company has met high industry standards including participation in the association’s Code of Ethical Conduct.
UstiA is nonprofit professional organization whose goals are to foster ethical conduct, ensure that the public has access to affordable travel insurance, educate the public, and promote a commitment to excellence in the travel insurance industry. The association’s membership is comprised of Full Member companies that underwrite, develop, administer and market travel insurance, plus brokers and general agents who derive at least 50% of their annual revenue from travel insurance. Associate members are travel assistance companies, air ambulance companies, travel suppliers, and software suppliers.
When selecting a travel insurance company you can trust, look for the UStiA logo:
Click here for a list of UStiA companies.