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Many people have the misconception that travel insurance is only for medical expenses. In reality, travel insurance, depending on the plan, covers a wide variety of things. In most cases, however, there are a few basic things that all plans cover in some way:

  • Cancellations
  • Medical expenses
  • Evacuations
  • Loss or delays
  • 24/7 assistance

Trip Cancellation

Most trip insurance providers cover cancellations for a variety of reasons, including sickness, either yours or someone’s for whom you must care, a death in the family, natural disasters or epidemics at your destination or even terrorist activity, in your destination area. Many plans also provide coverage if you are called for jury duty. Any decent trip insurance plan will also have a clause for when your travel provider goes bankrupt and leaves you stranded.

Medical Expenses

Travel insurance also covers medical expenses, usually up to $100,000. Although there are plans that offer coverage of $20,000 that cost much less than better plans, it is a good idea not to cheapen your coverage. Not only do you not want to run out of coverage before you’re made well again, in the event of an accident or illness, but you also do not want the stress of worrying about it even if it does not happen. Most providers offer options up to roughly $1 million of coverage.

Emergency Evacuation

In any good trip insurance plan, evacuation coverage will be separate from the other coverage options offered by the plan. You might not realize it, but evacuation can turn out to be supremely expensive when you figure in the cost of possible airlifts, by helicopter or plane, from remote areas, medical flights back to the U.S. and other disaster-related expenses. You should plan for about $100,000 to $300,000 of evacuation coverage, just to be safe. Also, be sure to check your plan to see if the flight back home is covered. Although most plans cover getting you out of danger in your destination area, not all of them cover getting back home again.

Loss or Delays

It might seem minor, but lost luggage, delays in reaching connecting flights or theft of your belongings can add up to lots of money quickly, particularly if a connecting flight must be made in first class instead of coach, for example. Other “incidentals” include things like necessary hotel stays, meals and other reimbursements that arise from the delay or loss.

Assistance Coverage

As a general catchall, travel insurance plans offer assistance coverage. This is a phone number, reachable from all over the world, you can call, collect, if necessary, to “get the ball rolling” for the help you need any time of the day or night. In all cases, be sure to check with your insurance provider to see if their coverage extends to the country to which you intend to travel. Most of these plans are extremely reasonable, even with the upper-end coverages that give you total peace of mind, but it is always a good idea to check out multiple options before making a decision.

The Basics of Travel Insurance

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