bc0c72a1-5d82-4ec2-9a42-c36e82fa077aConfusion often reigns when travelers try to decide whether to obtain Travel Insurance when planning a trip – and for good reason.  There are a multitude of plans available, some very costly and some that are not; some with extensive coverage and others that are more restricted. Selecting the policy the fits your personal circumstances requires some research.

This newsletter is intended to provide a few guidelines.

What Is Travel Insurance?

e894029e-ad46-48fd-9f97-608dac4ded8fTravel insurance is an insurance policy that provides coverage for two distinct categories: Trip insurance policies which provide protection for financial losses due to unexpected trip related issues, and medical insurance policies which provide protection for health related issues. Comprehensive plans cover both categories, but some companies allow you to purchase them separately.

 

Trip Insurance Policies

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When evaluating trip insurance coverage one of the first questions to ask is what financial portion of your trip will actually be insured.   In general, travel insurance providers define the cost of a trip to be the pre-paid non-refundable travel costs incurred prior to departure.  Therefore, if your airline tickets are refundable, they would not be covered.  If you are using mileage, some plans provide coverage, others do not.

a29b01c2-b07e-421c-b509-00444dbdd966The most common reason for securing these policies is the concern that a medical condition could cause trip cancellation. If, for example, you become seriously ill just prior to your trip, your non-refundable upfront costs should be covered. However, if you have a pre-existing condition, you may not qualify. And, the same may be true for family members.

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Coverage can also include cancellations due to situations that are beyond your control. But the definition of what is beyond your control can vary.For example, if your boss decides that you cannot take your vacation time as planned – is that a situation beyond your control? Maybe, maybe not.

In today’s world another consideration is upheaval in a destination 79c1b256-3480-47cb-ba8b-b7c263c03cf8country.How dangerous must the situation be to be considered a “covered” justification for cancellation? Many policies will include cancellation if an incident of terrorism occurs 30 days or less prior to your scheduled arrival date. However, acts of “civil unrest” such as riots are generally not covered.

 

Medical Insurance Policies

598adcb1-f174-4dec-8120-00af49f0f0d3Medical insurance policies are short-term policies that cover medical expenses during travel and/or medical evacuation. It can be purchased separately from Trip Insurance. As with Trip Insurance there are a multitude of plans with varying deductibles and covered features. Emergency Medical policies cover expenses incurred in the event of an unexpected medical emergency during travel. Once again, an emergency that is the result of a pre-existing condition may not be covered. Medical Evacuation insurance covers the cost of transportation should a medical emergency arise – either to an appropriate nearby medical facility or, if required, back to the U.S.Personally, I have always carried a straight-forward Medical Evacuation policy from American Express. Other travelers from my groups have used MedJet Assist and recommend it. That said, fortunately none of us have had to use the insurance.

Should you buy it? 

525ee3b4-c279-4545-a6ff-c93e9cd11322Obviously cost is a very significant factor. If your pre-trip expenses are low, it may not be worthwhile insuring your travel.Medical coverage however only becomes increasing important as we age and unfortunately, the single most important driver for increased costs are one’s age, not as you might expect, your remote destination.

 

 

 

Research and Compare
Like many group tour operators, I require Medical Trip Insurance for some of my trips but I do not recommend specific Travel Insurers.  Rather, I suggest that you visit https://www.insuremytrip.com, and/or https://www.squaremouth.com – websites that allows you to easily research and compare different companies and pricing.

Another website that I find helpful is http://www.reviews.com/travel-insurance .  It posts results of annual surveys of the industry and this year rates Travelex Insurance Services on top for its broad coverage options and custom packages and Allianz Global Assistance as the best cheap Travel Insurance.  Also rating highly on some information websites are CSA and TravelSafe.

Good Luck with your research.  Hope this helps a bit.eed1be68-6494-4be7-8d0c-49729b28bd1d