Travel insurance is a wise investment. It protects travelers from rising trip costs, flight delays and cancellations and travel medical expenses.
The best travel insurance policies include coverage for a variety of financial risks, including the cost of refundable non-refundable reservations, trip interruption/cancellation and lost luggage. Some also cover pre-existing health conditions and extreme adventure activities.
Review Your Credit Card Coverage
The decision to buy travel insurance can be a personal one. If you feel your credit card protections and individual health coverage are enough, a policy may not be necessary for you.
However, it can offer a safety net if you are planning pricey reservations or a big trip during COVID-era, or if you want to cover the financial risks of an emergency medical evacuation or other unforeseen costs.
The cost of a travel insurance policy depends on the type of trip, your age and the level of coverage you select. In general, premiums are higher for people who have a greater likelihood of making a claim (such as an older person taking a two-month trip). Many travel insurance providers have websites where you can compare policies and rates to find the best fit. Some offer the option to pay in installments. Others accept credit cards or bank transfers. And some offer a 24/7 hotline for assistance with booking travel arrangements or getting in touch with loved ones in an emergency.
Review Your Health Care Coverage
The cost of a visit to a hospital abroad can be astronomical, and medical evacuation coverage in a travel insurance policy can help cover the costs. Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, recommends that travelers choose a plan with at least $50,000 in emergency medical coverage.
Many plans also include a 24-hour helpline that can assist with arranging for medical care and communicating with medical personnel if necessary. This can be helpful if you are in a country where the language barrier or culture may present obstacles to communication.
To take advantage of the most comprehensive coverage, purchase a travel insurance policy soon after booking your trip. Most policies require the policy to be secured within a few weeks after reservations and payments have been made, in order to qualify for the most popular benefits, including cancellation coverage. Most companies also provide a free-look period where you can return the policy for a refund. This can give you the time to review all the coverage details and ensure that it fits your needs.
Read the Policy Terms and Conditions
Whether you’re a leisure or adventure traveler, the best travel insurance policy is one that fits your needs and budget. Depending on how much you’re investing in your trip, purchasing a travel insurance policy with perks like cancel for any reason and pre-existing conditions exclusion waiver can offset costs that may arise during your vacation.
According to a Berkshire Hathaway SOTI study, escalating trip costs and fear of flight delays or cancellations remain the top concerns for American travelers in 2024. This has led to more travelers buying travel insurance, and people are purchasing their plans earlier, which can make them eligible for perks like the cancel for any reason benefit.
When searching for a travel insurance plan, you should always read the policy’s terms and conditions before making your purchase. Many companies offer a free look period, during which you can cancel your plan and receive a full refund. You should also consider bundling your home and auto insurance policies, which can result in premium discounts.
Review the Policy’s Exclusions
Depending on the policy’s scope, travel insurance plans may cover medical expenses, trip cancellation/interruption costs, lost luggage and rental car damage. It’s important to read the policy closely to be sure you understand what’s covered, as well as any exclusions that might limit your coverage.
Some travel insurance policies exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, and they also often exclude claims related to pregnancy/maternity and activities that involve illegal activity, drug use and alcohol abuse. Some also exclude coronavirus-related claims.
The length and cost of the trip can also drive up travel insurance premiums. Some insurers offer supplemental policies for high-risk travelers, such as those traveling to destinations with poor or unreliable health care systems. Other insurers offer annual multi-trip policies that can reduce the per-trip policy cost and provide more extensive coverage. In addition, travelers who want to be sure they’re protected for unforeseen events during their trip should consider purchasing additional protection, such as a trip interruption/interruption or cancel for any reason (CFAR) add-on.