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Since you never know what can happen when you are away from home, it is smart to make sure that you have a back-up plan. Whether you are going on a road trip or jetting across the globe, travel insurance can help to make things right when everything goes wrong.
With the travel industry experiencing unprecedented upheaval due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, it was reported by luxury travel provider, Embark Beyond, that 90 percent of recent trips booked had travel insurance attached. This is a sign of the times that travel risk is top of mind even though demand for travel is soaring.
With demand rising for both travel and travel insurance, it is important to know that not all policies are the same. You as a traveler are encouraged to read the fine print, ask questions before purchasing, and determine what type of coverage you do and don’t need.
Types of Travel Insurance
Travel insurance plans come with different types of coverage. Consider whether the following coverage attributes will apply to your specific travel needs:
- Trip Cancellation
- Trip Interruption
- Emergency Medical Coverage
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
- 24/7 Travel Assistance
- Flight Accidental Death and Dismemberment (Flight AD&D)
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D)
- Repatriation of Remains
- Group Travel Insurance
- Multi-Trip Travel Coverage (annual insurance plan)
- Baggage Delay/Loss
- Trip Delays and Missed Connections
- Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR)
- Free Look Period (change your mind about policy without penalty)
Why Should I Buy Travel Insurance?
No matter how many hours you have spent planning and crossing off your to-do list for your exciting trip, the world is an uncertain place. Cruises, airlines, and tours often provide little to no compensation if you have to cancel or go home early due to an unexpected event.
Wide Variety of Coverage Options
Travel insurance can reimburse you for trip related losses and expenses if they are due to a covered reason. Depending on the plan you purchase, there can be 20 or more covered reasons for trip cancellation or interruption. Covered reasons can include but are not limited to terrorist events, serious illnesses or injuries, job loss, bad weather, and even contracting COVID-19.
Most travel insurance companies even offer a 24/7 hotline to address your travel emergencies.
Whether you are involved in a car accident or suffer a medical emergency, travel insurance can cover your costs in these situations up to the policy limits.
Depending on the company and policy, you may even qualify for a cash advance to cover medical expenses. This type of policy can be beneficial when you are overseas. Most foreign medical facilities will only take cash upfront (deeming your medical insurance card useless). Medicare is also not accepted outside of the United States.
Travel insurance can cover the high costs of medical evacuations, medical assistance in a facility that is qualified to take care of your specialized needs, and even arrange transportation back home so you can fully recover.
If you have ever experienced a flight delay or cancellation, you know how frustrating it can be to find on-the-spot transportation, food, and accommodations. A travel insurance policy with travel delay benefits can reimburse you for additional expenses you incur for flight delays.
Checking baggage shouldn’t be a nail-biter. Unfortunately, airlines mishandle millions of suitcases every year. Purchasing a travel insurance plan with baggage loss/damage benefits will limit the stress of going shopping on your trip before hitting the beach if your belongings are delayed, lost or stolen.
You are all set to go on vacation when the unspeakable happens – the death of a traveling companion or a family member. With the right travel insurance policy, you can cancel your trip without the burden of a financial loss. Having this coverage can make it easier to drop everything and be there when your travel companion or family members need you the most.
The same goes for a family emergency that occurs during your vacation. Travel insurance can reimburse you for change fees and other costs that you may incur if you need to interrupt your vacation and return home for a covered reason.
Even when you have given your employer weeks or months of notice about your vacation, unforeseen events may happen at work, or you might have a new job that won’t accommodate your upcoming time off. A travel insurance policy with work related coverage can help you recover costs related to cancelling or shortening your trip.
Due to the recent unpredictable COVID-19 travel restrictions, many travel insurance plans include a COVID-19 coverage endorsement. These benefits vary both in plan terms and conditions and state of residence. Especially now, it is worth searching for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?
The cost of travel insurance can vary widely. On average, a comprehensive travel insurance policy will cost between 4-10% of your total trip cost. If you do not choose to insure the total cost of your trip or if you select minimal coverage, the price will be significantly lower.
The cost of travel insurance depends on common factors, including:
1. Cost of your trip
2. Age of travelers
3. Travel duration
4. Chosen policy
5. Coverage dollar amount
6. State of residence
7. Number of travelers
How do I Purchase Travel Insurance?
It makes the most sense to use a travel insurance comparison website to find least expensive policy with the right benefits to cover your trip. While it takes a little extra time to compare plans, in the end you will get the customized coverage you need. Customer service representatives can also answer any questions you may have before purchasing. The best part is that prices are regulated by state law, and you won’t find a lower price anywhere else for a travel insurance plan found on comparison websites such as TravelInsurance.com.
How to Save Money on Your Travel Insurance
- Most travel insurance providers charge the same amount for a 10-day trip as a 30-day trip. The price generally increases after 30 days.
- The cost of travel insurance goes up depending on your age. For example, a 24-year-old traveler will pay less than a 40-year-old traveler. Most travel insurance companies use a 5-year incremental price increase system. To save even more money, purchase the policy before a milestone birthday.
- Optional policy add-ons like cancel for any reason (CFAR), accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), and rental car damage can significantly increase your policy cost, though they may be worth every penny depending on your needs.
- If you currently have life insurance, check to see if it covers accidental death and dismemberment while traveling. If it does, there is no need to purchase this coverage from a travel insurance company.
- Contact your auto insurance company to see if you already have coverage for car rentals and what your specific policy covers.
- You may be offered a more competitive travel insurance rate or more provider choices by changing only one or a few trip variables.
- Check to see if your travel insurance company provides free coverage for children under 17. Certain plans will offer this common benefit for children traveling with parents or grandparents who are purchasing a policy.
- Group travel coverage is generally only valid for groups who reside in the same state. If parties in your group live in different states, you will need to buy a separate policy for each traveler. Failing to do so may invalidate coverage for travelers not residing in the same state.
- Travel insurance costs do not get cheaper closer to your departure date. Purchasing travel insurance earlier provides more benefits and allows you access to policy add-ons not offered to travelers who buy insurance right before their trip.