Have you ever booked a trip online, and on the last page before checking out you’re asked “Do you want to buy travel insurance?” and you click no?
When you are on that last page before checking out to pay for your vacation, the last thing we all want is another added expense.
But, if you take a second before checking out to pay for your dream vacation, and ask yourself some simple questions before skipping the travel insurance add-on, it may save you aggravation in the long run.
I travel quite a bit, and in the past, I have always skipped that “do you want to buy travel insurance?” page so I could book my holiday immediately.
But, over the past few trips I have taken, I decided not to skip buying travel insurance, and I am grateful that I made this important investment.
If you are unsure about why you should buy travel insurance for your next holiday, I hope in this post I will answer some important questions that will change your perception about travel insurance coverage.
- What is Travel Insurance?
- What is the purpose of Travel Insurance?
- Why should you buy Travel Insurance?
- What does Travel Insurance cover?
- Is Travel Insurance worth it?
- When to buy Travel Insurance?
- How do I buy Travel Insurance?
At the end of this post, I hope travelers will have a better understanding of travel insurance and make their future travel plans the best yet.
What Is TRAVEL INSURANCE and How Does It Work?
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Travel Insurance - My Introduction
When you buy electronic items like computers and televisions, do you buy insurance to protect these items?
If so, why do you do that? Is it because you want to make sure that if anything happens to the product after walking out of the store that you are protected?
I know when I make a sizable purchase; I buy insurance for these items because I never know what can happen. So, why do some of us think that travel is different?
What is Travel Insurance?
One of the most prevalent types of travel insurance is trip coverage from the time you begin your trip until the time you come home from your trip.
This type of travel insurance can also be called Trip Protection because it’s there to protect you from the unexpected while you are on holiday.
Some examples of what travel insurance protects you from are: trip cancelation, travel delays, emergency medical situations, lost or damaged items, stolen luggage, and emergency assistance.
What is the purpose behind travel coverage?
When we travel, we all want a hassle-free vacation from the daily stresses of our lives. But when we are having the vacation of our dreams and something happens out of your control, what do you do?
You have made a huge investment in your vacation, the cost of airline tickets, accommodations, tour packages, and your luggage. Sometimes we forget to protect ourselves before leaving.
- Did you know that according to Tripadvisor that on average, airlines lose around two bags for every 1,000 passengers, and that includes bags that are temporarily “misplaced.”
- Are you aware that 2.5 percent of all U.S. domestic flights were canceled each year since 2015?
- Also, according to airhelp.com, an estimated 4,494,000 air passengers experienced a flight delay, cancellation, or overbooking between 1st January and 30th June 2018.
Things To Consider Before Purchasing Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is different for every traveler, and there are different types of travel insurance coverage that will be best for each traveler.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before buying a trip coverage plan:
- Where are you going? Are you staying domestically, traveling via package tour, or jumping from country to country?
- How are you getting there? Are you taking direct flights, multiple flights, or multiple modes of transportation like trains, planes, and automobiles?
- How much money are you spending on your trip? Is it a budget vacation, a modest vacation, or a luxury vacation?
- What are you doing on your trip? A few attractions here and there or multiple package tours that require advanced tickets?
What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
You are at the stage where you have asked yourself the important questions about your trip, but now you wonder what travel protection coverage really does for you.
Most of the major travel insurance policies available today cover quite a bit in terms of a vacation.
They can cover medical situations, travel cancellations, vacation interruptions/delays, and lost or stolen items during your trip.
Here are a few things to consider that every traveler should be worried about when traveling.
One of the main purposes of why I purchase Travel Insurance is for medical coverage. There is nothing like having a medical emergency in a foreign land to put a damper on any vacation.
When I purchase Travel Coverage, I make sure that I have emergency medical coverage in my policy to cover doctor and hospital expenses.
Just make sure that any pre-existing conditions are cleared with the provider first. You don’t want that to come back to haunt you.
Another reason I purchase Travel Insurance is I have had my luggage lost or stolen so many times that I think travel gods are against me.
On one recent business trip, in which I forgot to pack extra clothes in my carry-on, the airline I was flying on sent my luggage to India while I was flying to New York. Travel insurance can help pay for replacement items when your luggage is lost or stolen.
And another important reason I buy travel insurance is to cover unforeseen situations that may cause me to cancel my trip or adjust the dates.
I had a situation where I had to cancel a trip to Los Angeles because a week before my trip a family member was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
Trip insurance helped me get back the money I spent on the vacation to tend to a loved one. In times like those, money doesn’t mean anything as health matters the most, but it’s nice to be protected.
This also works the other way when you are on holiday, and need to fly home ASAP because of an emergency situation to tend to a loved one, trip insurance will help pay the difference in airfare prices for a last-minute flight home.
What Does Travel Insurance Not Cover?
Well, there are some situations that any traveler should be aware of to avoid being denied travel coverage.
Things that travelers may not be covered for are the following:
Extreme sports that could cause injury or death. So, basically, when you are on holiday, try to stay safe but have fun though. Just don’t have too much fun.
This leads me to another thing that travelers might not be covered for — travel to countries listed on the don’t travel list. If something happens to you in that country, even your government might not save you.
There are other things that you may not be covered, but I would suggest talking to a Travel Insurance representative for the entire list.
How much does it cost for travel insurance?
Since I don’t work for a travel insurance company that is tough for me to give an actual number amount. But I know that there are some aspects of a trip that can cause the travel premium you pay to be higher or lower.
With most travel protection coverages, the amount a traveler pays for premiums is roughly around 5 to 10% of the entire trip cost. But a few things can affect the cost of the travel coverage.
- First off is the age of the travelers. Unfortunately, it’s just like life insurance, that the younger you are, the cheaper the premiums can be.
- Second, how much the trip is costing the traveler. If you are on a budget holiday at a 3-star hotel, your premiums will be lower compared to a holiday where you are staying at a 5-star resort for a week.
- Third, how many travelers are going on the trip. The more you have coming with you, the more people have to be covered.
Travel Insurance - Is It Worth It?
Have you ever been to Costco and just kept loading up your cart without paying attention to how much each item costs? Then when you reach the till, and the cashier surprises you with a bill that you need to take a mortgage out to pay with?
That’s how travel planning is to many travelers booking vacations.
If you are spending so much to have a holiday of your dreams, do you want to leave it to chance and not buy Travel Coverage?
Do you know that saying that “Sh*t Happens”? Well, unfortunately, it happens sometimes while you travel, and when it does, it’s not pretty.
Here are some examples of how trips could go sideways, and how much it could cost you if you are not covered.
Since I am Canadian, we have universal healthcare, and while it has some plus and minus to it, when I am stuck in an emergency I know I am covered in Canada.
But, when I am traveling in the United States, for example, I am not covered at all and when an emergency happens, it could financially ruin me. Even if I break a leg while I am traveling, that could set me back thousands of dollars in medical bills if I am not covered.
Say you are a traveler that loves cruises on the open sea as your relaxing holiday. But what happens if you are at sea where you need to be emergency evacuated to a hospital on land?
That helicopter ride to the nearest hospital could be the most expensive helicopter tour you ever take. If you have travel coverage, it could save you around $100,000 if not more in costs.
Since the recent pandemic that has hit the world, there have been many travelers stuck at home with nowhere to go, and paying for a trip that they can never take.
Or being stuck in a foreign country, and being told by his/her government to get home immediately, and having to pay out of his/her own pocket high fees because they did not buy travel insurance.
Having travel insurance protects you in situations like this, and can help with getting reimbursed for unexpected costs.
I had a cousin who was in Spain recently and was told by the government to fly home immediately due to the pandemic, and her flight cost was over $2,000.00. Nobody wants to be hit with that amount!
There are so many more things that travel insurance can protect you with that I could go on and on with, but the examples mentioned above are the most important to me.
When Should You Buy Your Travel Insurance?
My suggestion for buying insurance is to buy it within 15 days of making your travel purchase. Why? You never want to leave things to chance.
I know I always forget where I put my car keys on a daily basis, so if I don’t purchase my insurance immediately, I’ll forget. Plus, that one thing you don’t have to worry about.
How Do I Buy Travel Insurance?
Buying Travel Coverage is actually quite easy.
Most major travel insurance companies have a questionnaire to fill out, they send you out a quote, and if the policy coverage works for you, then you buy it. Simple right?
Even if you have buyers remorse most travel policies will allow you to cancel within a stipulated time frame.
What are the questions that will be asked?
The questions are pretty straight forward:
- How many travelers are taking the trip?
- How old are the travelers?
- The total cost of the trip has been spent so far?
- How much coverage are you looking at?
Try to be as honest as you can in regards to the details of your trip. If you lie it could come back to bite you in the behind.
When you receive the quote from the insurance provider most of the time, they will have an expiration date to the quote, but you are not obligated to purchase the quote at all.
Just look at the policy the company is providing and make sure you are covered for everything you want.
Don’t leave everything to chance.
If you have questions or concerns about the quote call the provider and have your questions answered.
What do I look for in choosing a travel insurance company?
When I am looking at a travel insurance company, I check reviews of the company I am looking at.
What I am looking at in the reviews is the following:
- Customer service of the insurance provider
- Speed of claim payments
- Emergency Assistance
- And the financial backing of the company.
- Is it a strong company and can pay out the claim if you need to file one or are a financially risky company?
Also, I look at comparing prices of travel insurance companies because no quote is the same.
Some companies’ plans may cover certain things while others won’t.
When you are ready to make the purchase of the travel insurance, make sure you review the coverage and plan and reexamine everything.
Don’t leave anything to chance. I know many of us are not travel coverage experts, but here are a few things to watch for:
- Hurricane and blizzard coverage: Most plans won’t let you buy once a storm is named.
- Terrorism: Many plans will let you cancel your trip if there’s been a recent terrorist event at your location within a recent number of days from you arriving, but what about fear of terrorism? Fear of travel is typically not covered.
- Disease epidemics: Like fear of terrorism, fear of contracting a disease is not a covered reason for canceling a trip. Read your policy or call the travel insurance provider to make sure.
- Pre-existing Conditions: Pay special attention to the “look-back” provision that states how far back in the past the plan looks to see if your condition was present.
What isn’t covered?
Among the things to look for on the exclusions list:
- Action and team sports: This usually includes but isn’t limited to auto racing, pro-sports travel, or extreme sports activities while traveling.
- Medical travel: Travel for the purpose of getting medical care usually isn’t covered.
- Fear of the unknown to cancel: Most plans don’t cover for fear of travel or just because you want to cancel or change your plans. There has to be a covered reason.
- Luggage Limits: It’s not just the total luggage coverage. How much will the plan pay on a daily limit for items needed or how much for one item – and how are electronics treated? Often the biggest-ticket item you take with you when you travel is a computer or a camera.
When To Buy Your Travel Coverage?
If everything is okay on your end and you feel good about the travel policy coverage and quote then buy the trip protection coverage.
When you receive your insurance coverage documents, read them immediately, and make sure everything you wanted to be covered is in the policy.
An example of things to look out for is making sure the travelers on the trip need to be listed, and anything else you wanted to be covered in the policy is there in the agreement.
I forgot to mention that when you are in the quote stage, make sure that there is a stipulation in the quote that allows you to examine your policy after purchasing the coverage to make sure you are comfortable with the travel coverage.
If you don’t like what you are seeing in the agreement, then you can cancel without any penalties and get a full refund, so long as the policy allows for this.
WHERE DO I BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE?
So you are ready to buy travel insurance for your upcoming trip, but not sure where to start?
The great news is there are several companies out there that offer travel insurance coverage and also will let you compare plans before buying coverage.
WHO OFFERS TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Regulations typically prohibit insurance from being included automatically when you book a cruise or buy an airline ticket. You have to be offered it, and you have to accept the offer.
Or you have to shop for it on your own.
Don’t worry about this as the regulation is there to protect you, the consumer. And that means that you don’t have to settle with the first quote you are offered.
Here are two ways I like shopping for travel insurance coverage
- Directly from a travel insurance provider
- Online through a travel insurance aggregator
DIRECTLY FROM AN INSURANCE COMPANY
When buying directly from an insurance company, you have the opportunity to pick from a variety of plans that will suit your specific travel wants.
You can purchase the travel insurance online via the insurance companies’ website, or via the companies call center.
You can pick from any number of plans that will meet your specific travel needs.
THROUGH A TRAVEL INSURANCE AGGREGATOR
Travel insurance aggregators compare plans from different travel insurance companies and provide travelers with plans with the right amount of coverage and the best rate.
Travel insurance aggregators are a very popular way to buy travel insurance because it simplifies the comparison and buying process.
Most travel insurance plans contain the same types of coverages, which makes them very easy to compare using an aggregator.
Now that you are in the know about travel insurance protection, you are ready to get the right quote for you.
Who knows when travel life will be back to the way it was before the recent pandemic, but knowing ways to protect your travel investment in the future I hope will help.
If you have any comments or questions, feel free to comment in the comment section below.
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Thanks and safe travels!