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Information on travel insurance can sometimes seem messy, confusing, or even contradictory. For those trying to understand the fundamentals of insurance for foreign travel, this article will provide concrete answers to some of the most common questions.

Do I really need insurance?

It isn’t legally mandatory that you have travel insurance, but this form of coverage is generally seen as being both standard and vital. While there are those who choose to travel abroad without any coverage, doing so represents a significant financial and personal risk. A single medical emergency can cost the equivalent of thousands of dollars, and can dramatically alter plans for a continued or return voyage.

What does trip insurance cover?

There are several different categories of insurance you can get for your journey, including:

  • Trip cancellation protection: These policies allow you to delay, change, or cancel your trip. Some policies implement specific terms on when a valid cancellation can occur, while others allow a “no cause cancellation.”
  • Medical insurance: This insurance acts in the same way to standard medical insurance, but allows you to work with foreign doctors and pharmacists.
  • Major medical insurance: This coverage is designed to assist in case of major medical issues, such as injury or severe illness. These policies sometimes include coverage for emergency medical evacuation, where an individual facing a medical emergency can be transported out of the foreign country at no personal cost.
  • Accidental death or dismemberment: This serves as a supplement to existing life insurance, and is intended to cover costs associated with death in a foreign country (such as transporting the remains to the next of kin).
  • Property insurance: Some travel insurance policies will cover your luggage, or items used temporarily, such as a rental car. Items are typically insured against accidental damage, theft, and loss.

Which plan is right for me?

It’s important to compare the benefits and coverage of each policy before deciding which one to purchase. Travelers often require different coverage dependent on their destination, frequency of travel, group size, mode of international transportation, and travel duration. Additionally, specialized plans with special coverage can be provided for those who: are pregnant at the time of their trip; plan on engaging in dangerous sports; suffer from a chronic illness; or are facing any variety of other, less common circumstances.

Whether traveling for work, relaxation, or a family getaway, trip insurance provides peace of mind-and, should the worst happen, an insured traveler will be able to face any crisis situation with all the necessary resources and support.

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