Have you ever asked yourself, “what happens if I’m injured while traveling?” This isn’t something that many people think about when planning a trip. And why would they? No one plans to go abroad and get injured or sick. But if recent reports of American tourists getting sick on poisoned in the Dominican Republic are to be taken as a cautionary tale, these things can happen. This is where travel insurance comes into play.
What Is Travel Insurance?
Simply put, travel insurance is the kind of insurance that covers losses associated with traveling. You can get travel insurance whether you are traveling domestically or abroad.
Imagine getting injured while going up MT. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and needing to get medically evacuated to the nearest medical center. Once you get there, you need to be hospitalized for a couple of days while the rest of your trip is cancelled, your initial return flight is rescheduled, and you have to figure out a way to safely get you back home. Bear in mind that this was a week’s long safari package that you had already fully paid for?
- Are you going to get your money back?
- What about the flight rescheduling, who is going to pay for your original cancellation?
- What about your medical bills? Does your medical insurance back in the States cover medical care in Tanzania, Africa? Probably not.
- In the wake of your getting injured and medically evacuated, did you lose your gear? Who is going to pay to replace that?
The sheer number of things that can happen on a trip are as astounding as they are scary. That is why you may find that you need travel insurance. The right kind of insurance will cover most of the cost of those losses, thus leaving in a better financial position.
What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
While every type of travel insurance coverage is structured differently, there are four major aspects of your travel that the best travel insurances cover. These include:
Trip cancellation and/or interruption coverage
If you book a trip in advance (as is advisable), there are often times certain aspects of that trip that are deemed non-refundable should you choose to cancel your trip for whatever reasons.
Trip cancellation insurance, also known as trip interruption insurance, offers you some protection against these loses. Every insurance companies determines how much of your trip they will reimburse as well as what constitutes reasonable cancellation causes. The most acceptable reasons for cancellation are sudden illnesses, sudden business conflicts, death in the family and weather or travel-advisory related issues.
The loss of baggage and other personal effects is a common problem among travelers. This can either happen at the destination or on the flight to and from the destination. In many cases, you will find that the airline you use will be willing to reimburse part of the loses if the fault was there.
The same applies to hotels and resorts in your destination. Baggage and personal effects coverage is just an additional safety net in case all other options fail to be useful enough. This is one of the main reasons why people get travel insurance.
Travel health insurance
Now, this is the main reason why you should definitely consider getting travel insurance. There is a good chance that your typical medical coverage will not cover the local hospital in Honduras should you fall ill there or need a medical emergency response. Throughout the world, Medicare is one of the most expensive policies.
There are short-term travel health insurance covers that cover travelers from five days to about a year, and there are major travel health insurances designed for travelers who intend to be on the road for more than six months. The best thing about travel health insurance is not just that it helps with the associated expenses (which can be considerable), but many also go a long way to locate the best healthcare facilities and doctors in your current destination.
Some even go as far as finding you foreign-language services. There are some that will cover medical emergency airlifts as well. It all depends on the package you choose and how much you want to spend on it.
Flight accident and accidental death coverage
Do you have any idea how expensive it is to transport a body by air back home? You could spend thousands of dollars and weeks of red tape before you can get anything moving. To protect your family against this unfortunate occurrence, taking out an accidental death or flight accident coverage is the best option. This coverage may not be necessary if you have a good life insurance plan, but the payouts will be in addition to that of your life insurance, so it’s always a good idea.
Travel Insurance Reviews
Should you decide that travel insurance is good for you, which is the best travel insurance to choose? Do you go for the American Express Travel Insurance or should you find a dedicated provider who does only deals with travel insurance such as Travelex? The truth is that it all depends on your particular needs.
All good providers cover the basics of travel insurance and have different packages for everyone’s needs. These packages come at different prices too. Here are some tips that will help you decide what kind of travel insurance you need:
- Determine the kind of trip you want to take
- Decide what kind of coverage is important to you (if you are taking $150 worth of luggage with you then maybe the baggage insurance cover isn’t exactly worth the trouble)
- The devil is in the details (as is the case with all insurance covers you need to know what is covered and what falls under excesses)
- Check the terms and conditions, always
So, is travel insurance worth it? Absolutely. If for nothing else than the mere fact that it saves you from all the associated bureaucracy and red tape that comes with the territory should you lose your luggage, need medical cover abroad or unfortunately get an accident on your flight. The little extra you pay on your travel insurance package is for your peace of mind, and you simply can’t put a price on that fact!