Commissioner Poizner Urges Californians to Protect Their Vacation Investments with Travel Insurance
SACRAMENTO (August 29, 2007) - With Labor Day Weekend quickly approaching, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today urged California travelers to make sure they are protected against possible vacation losses. While considering holiday destinations, Commissioner Poizner encourages Californians to also evaluate their needs for travel insurance.
"Whether your family is headed to Sea World or San Francisco, travel insurance can protect against possible financial losses if you are forced to cancel, delay or interrupt your vacation," said Commissioner Poizner. "With the upcoming holiday weekend, Californians are using their hard-earned money to take their families on vacation. I want to make sure travelers are protecting themselves so they don't have to come home to financial loss."
Travel insurance can protect against the loss of non-refundable travel costs, such as airfare, hotel and tour expenses. Other types of travel insurance offer protection against losses due to medical emergencies, damage to personal property, and even death. Before buying travel insurance, consumers should check the refund policies on prepaid expenses. For example, some policies will issue refunds for cancellations made months in advance, but few will offer any refund for a trip canceled at the last minute.
To find out more about travel insurance, ask a trusted travel agent for recommendations of travel insurance companies. Travelers planning adventurous vacation activities like skydiving or scuba diving should ask if their insurance will cover those activities.
Major types of travel insurance include:
Trip Cancellation - Reimburses you for pre-paid travel expenses if you are unable to take your trip because you or a family member becomes ill or dies.
Travel Delay - Reimburses you for pre-paid expenses if you are unable to take your trip because of a travel delay, such as a flight delay or cancellation.
Trip Interruption - Reimburses you for pre-paid expenses if your trip is cut short because you or a family member, become ill or die, or because of any other misfortune listed in policy. Covered reasons might include bad weather, airline strikes, terrorism, bankruptcy, jury duty, or fire or flood damage to your home. Medical and Accidental Death Insurance
Medical or Health - Reimburses you for medical and emergency dental expenses that you have because of an illness or injury while you're traveling.
Medical Evacuation - Provides emergency transportation to take you either to a hospital in the geographic region where you are or for transportation back to a hospital near your home.
Accidental Death - This coverage is usually split into three parts:
Air Flight Accident - Covers death or dismemberment during flight only.
Common Carrier - Covers death or dismemberment while traveling on public transportation such as a plane, ferry, train, bus or taxi.
Accidental Death - Covers death or dismemberment at any time during a trip.
Baggage and Rental Car Damage Insurance
Baggage Loss - Reimburses you for lost, stolen or damaged personal items. This usually does not cover personal items that may be lost or damaged by an airline. If you buy baggage insurance, be sure to review the policy for the list of property that would not be covered. Some of your property may exceed the limits allowed.
Rental Car Damage - Reimburses you for damage or loss to a rental vehicle. If you have this coverage you may decline the "collision damage waiver" rental car companies offer. This coverage does not provide liability protection.
Tips for purchasing travel insurance:
Travel insurance polices aren't all the same. If you buy travel insurance, be sure to review the policy, especially the list of covered reasons for canceling your trip. For example, a travel insurance policy may not reimburse you if you decide not to make a trip because a conference was canceled.
Before purchasing a travel insurance policy, ask about pre-existing conditions and age limits. Some policies cover pre-existing conditions if you buy the coverage within a week or two of booking your trip. Others won't pay for pre-existing conditions or charge a higher premium to cover them. Some insurers charge more for older travelers.
Cruise and tour operators may offer cancellation waivers. Keep in mind that waivers are not insurance policies and are not regulated. Read all of the restrictions before you buy a cancellation waiver.
Before you buy travel insurance, review the policies you already have. If you have life, health or homeowners insurance, you may not need to buy certain types of travel insurance. Read your policy and speak with your insurance company or agent to learn what personal property and medical coverage you have while you are traveling. Also, ask what insurance benefits you may have if you use a credit card to pay for the trip.
No policy can guarantee your safety when you are traveling, but knowing that you are covered for medical emergencies or the loss of personal property may help travelers relax and enjoy their vacation.