Most travelers are well advised to purchase travel insurance coverage before embarking on a trip, but it is important to know what you are buying and from whom. In the wake of the recent fiscal crisis, many insurers are not solvent or do not provide the coverage they once did, and so it is important to research your options before committing to a particular policy.
Travel insurance typically covers the following areas: trip cancellation; travel medical, for short-term trips; major medical, for longer stays; emergency medical evacuation; and accidental death/flight accident. It is also possible to purchase additional travel insurance coverage that includes provisions for terrorism, high-risk activities, and natural disasters. In the case of medical coverage, travelers are advised to consult with current health insurance providers to determine what conditions would be covered when traveling outside of established coverage areas (Medicare, for instance, does not provide medical coverage to travelers overseas). Some travel insurance policies charge a higher price for pre-existing medical conditions, while some will provide limited or no coverage for other medical emergencies, so travelers are advised to consult with an agent knowledgeable in the area of travel insurance coverage to become fully informed about the choices available.
In light of the fiscal crisis in the United States, many insurance providers, in order to avoid bankruptcy, relied on government bailouts, and many, as a result, were forced to cut their budgets and revise their offerings. It is important to compare plans before buying as some offerings may have changed in recent years. For instance, coverage that was provided a few years ago at a certain price by a provider may now cover less or have revised policy terms and conditions.
For those who rely on credit card companies or auto insurance companies to provide travel insurance coverage, it is also important to check on the status of the coverage provided. Some credit card companies will provide insurance against luggage loss and car rental damage, and some won’t, and some will provide trip cancellation coverage, but the extent of the coverage will vary, depending on the company. Some auto insurance companies provide coverage for travel outside the US. Travelers are advised to read the fine print of all policies before embarking on any trip.