Travel Insurance Tips
Do I need Travel insurance? Or Cancellation, Trip Interruption?
Travel insurance documents are full of legal terms, about what mishaps will be covered and what will not, and often with complicated instructions for filing claims should you need to. But travel insurance, especially medical coverage, is usually well worth it, even if you are in that more costly older demographic. When you are in a foreign country and are injured or cannot continue your trip, you will be glad you took the time to arrange travel insurance and / or cancellation / trip interruption insurance. Here are some tips to consider when buying travel insurance.
Trip Cancellation Insurance These types of travel insurance policies, which cover the cost if you have to cancel your travel plans, usually must be purchased at the same time as the trip tickets. If your travel tour package can be exchanged for a credit for future travel to another destination, or for a different date for the original trip, (and with minimum additional fees), then cancellation insurance may not be necessary.
If you have a non-refundable ticket, then consider getting cancellation insurance. Also check to see what types of reasons will allow you to claim cancellation insurance. Consider also the cost of the tickets or the tour versus the amount of the cancellation insurance, as well as what conditions must be met before claims are paid. Some policies include both trip cancellation insurance and travel health insurance.
Travel Health Insurance Should I buy travel health or travel medical insurance? Do I need it? It depends. If you’re traveling within your own country and your regular health insurance covers you anyhwere in the country, you may feel this is not necessary. Be aware you may have to pay for medical services up front and submit claims to your health plan when you get home. For travel outside your own country, travel health insurance is a good idea.
- Check Policy and Travel Dates Make sure the policy effective to-from dates match or overlap your travel dates. My rule of thumb is weigh the cost of the travel health policy against the cost of having to be flown to a hospital or flown home for treatment.
- And it doesn’t take a major illness or accident to take the fun out of your holiday. Just stumble off a curb or trip on broken pavement — a hard fall may result holiday dampening experiences such as a cracked rib or broken arm. Look for policies that best suit you and your pre-existing conditons, age etc. and number of trips you are likely to take.
Existing Insurance Coverage I have an inexpensive policy through my bank that covers tripping and falling and other minor accidents should they occur in North America, Europe or the Caribbean. In other countries, I am on my own. Many credit card and company group health plans offer travel insurance as part of the coverage. Read them carefully or call the company (get the name/ID number of the person you speak to) to be sure you are covered.
Annual Travel Insurance If you take several trips a year, you may find an annual policy less expensive. For about five years now, I have been buying an annual travel health policy that allows unlimited trips to a maximum stay of 30 days/trip. For longer trips, I can add on extra days as needed, and for a minimal fee. The year starts from the date you leave on the first trip under the annual policy, not the date you purchase it.
Injury or illness cover
Check that your holiday costs are covered by your adventure sports travel insurance if you have to cancel your journey or can’t take part in your chosen sport due to injury or illness.
Is the hire of alternative equipment included in your adventure sports travel insurance if your own equipment is damaged, delayed or lost en route?
Bad or good weather cover
If bad weather , are you covered if you move or cancel? If so, what about any extra transport and accommodation costs? And what winter sports travel insurance cover is there if the weather is ‘good’ and there’s no snow?
Search and rescue
Some adventure sports travel insurance policies will also cover the costs of search and rescue if you get lost or go missing.
Other things to consider
Check whether personal accident insurance (and compare any potential payout) and public liability insurance (and check the limit) are included.
Take a copy of the policy / number with you AND leave a copy at home with friends or family!