Travel Advice - Travel Insurance
Travel insurance (also known as trip insurance) is an important
consideration when preparing for a vacation. Many travelers base their
opinions on the need for travel insurance on mistaken information. To
help you decide whether travel insurance is for you, read the following
Few people anticipate unexpected illness or tragedy when planning a
vacation. We feel that it is prudent to consider the possibility that
health problems or accidental injury might happen to you or a
member of your party during your vacation. Trip insurance is designed to
protect you when the unexpected strikes.
As a rule, travel insurance makes more sense the further you travel from
home or if the investment in your planned vacation represents a
substantial expense. Once you depart the United States, the advantage of
having travel insurance increases significantly, since the insurance
that you have at home (automobile, property, and medical) may not cover
you in other countries.
The “whys” of trip insurance
First, consider what happens to your prepaid trip expenses if you should
become ill and unable to depart on schedule. If your travel arrangements
include airline tickets, cruise tickets, or tour and hotel reservations
with nonrefundable fees or penalties, an unexpected cancellation can
cost you thousands of dollars. In this case, insurance covering trip
cancellation would be a wise investment.
Next, estimate the financial consequences should you, or anyone in your
party, be involved in an accident, or take ill during your travels. In
most cases, your present medical insurance either will not cover
treatment for illness outside of the U.S., or will pay only a reduced
portion of the expense. In any case, it is unlikely that your care
provider abroad will release a patient from hospitalization without full
payment of the expense.
Consider that you may fall ill in locations where there are no medical
facilities, or where existing facilities are inadequate to treat your
condition. It is possible that you could require medical evacuation to a
place where proper treatment is available, perhaps, all the way back to
the U.S. Most standard medical insurance (e.g. Blue Cross) does not
provide for medical evacuation when you are outside of the U.S. A
medical evacuation to the U.S. from Europe can cost in excess of
If you are concerned about any of the issues raised above, look into
purchasing trip insurance that provides for medical coverage including
Insurance Benefits Description
If you are interested in purchasing trip insurance, consider a policy
that provides the following benefits:
• Trip cancellation/interruption: protects your investment if you need
to cancel for valid reasons (check each carrier's policy for specific
• Emergency medical/dental coverage (check to see if the policy
reimburses you, or pays the provider directly)
• Emergency medical evacuation/transportation
• Baggage loss or delay
• Travel delay
• Missed cruise or tour connection (if applicable)
Issues to Consider When Purchasing Trip Insurance
1. Compare policies and
benefits, and then determine the coverage you will need to protect your
vacation investment. Various websites compare the policies provided by
major carriers and serve as an online agent for purchasing a policy.
2. Make sure that the carrier is
reputable by comparing their coverage with coverage provided by other
reliable firms. If there is a major discrepancy on cost, it is likely
that there is a substantial difference in the coverage provided. Read
the fine print. If still, in doubt, call and ask the opinion of a travel
3. In most cases you need to purchase
this insurance within a short time of booking your trip (in many cases
you must purchase the insurance by or on the date you make reservations
or pay fees).
- The amount of time varies by insurance carrier, and you should pay
attention to the requirements, or you may find that you have delayed too
long to acquire insurance.
4. Examine the protection that
the policy offers.
- Primary coverage means that the carrier will pay your bill and not
require you to file claims with your other insurance carrier (the ones
that you have covering home, health, or automobiles).
- Secondary coverage means that the carrier will not pay until you
have filed a claim with your primary carrier, and they have paid the
bill, or until the limits of the primary coverage are exhausted.
- Tertiary coverage means that the carrier pays only when primary and
secondary coverage has paid the claim, or when the limits on both have
- You will pay more for trip insurance when the coverage offered is
primary. In addition, primary coverage may not be a good value depending
on whether or not your existing insurance policies (e.g. health or
homeowners.) provide coverage for specific instances of travel related
injury or illness.
- Always ask your insurance agent or a representative of your
insurance carrier to explain the limitations of your standard
5. Pay close attention to the types
of medical emergencies that are covered by the policy. If situations of
specific concern to you are not covered, shop around for another
carrier. You will be spending hard-earned cash on insurance, and you
should make sure that you are satisfied with the protection it provides.
6. Ask if the carrier has 24-7 (24 hours a day, seven days a
week), toll-free, phone assistance and operators who can converse in
English. In other words, ensure that the Company will always be
available to serve your needs in an emergency.
7. You may not want to purchase travel
insurance from the same Company that is managing your tour or cruise. If
the Company fails, you could lose the expense of the tour and the cost
of the insurance. If you elect to go with another insurance carrier,
make sure that the insurance is fully reimbursable, if the tour operator
or cruise line goes out of business.
If you have any other
concerns, make sure you discuss them with a qualified insurance agent
before you purchase the insurance
Finally, if you purchase trip
insurance, make sure that you carry a copy of the policy with you on
your travels. The trip insurance policy is a very important document,
make a copy and carry it in a secure location while you travel. Also,
make sure that you have the contact number or numbers that you will need
to contact the Service in case of emergency.
If you need to find information about Destinations or other Things Travelers
Need To Know, try Googling ThereArePlaces.
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