Should you have travel insurance? An interesting question. But if you question the need for travel insurance, perhaps you are the same person who questions the need for any kind of insurance. Most people have auto insurance, health insurance, homeowners’ insurance or renters’ insurance, and maybe even life insurance or disability insurance – so I ask you: Why not have travel insurance?
Insurance is for “What if’s”
Insurance is protection for that unwanted and unexpected challenge. Your auto insurance protects you from shelling out $2,000 for that unexpected fender bender that wasn’t even your fault. Travel insurance does likewise. Have you ever had luggage “misplaced” by an airline and been left with no clothes to wear on your trip? Have you ever had to cancel a trip that was fully paid due to some unforeseen incident that arose before you even had an opportunity to leave? Or have you had to cut short that cruise because of something that happened at home? Ever gotten sick on vacation?
These are all travel problems that can be covered by travel insurance. One company I reviewed will reimburse your trip cost for covered (always read the small print) cancellation, and 125% of the cost due to an interruption of the trip. They will also pay $500 for your accommodations if you missed your connecting flight and can’t get another until “tomorrow morning, at the earliest.” Ever slept in an airport on behalf of your Atlanta-based flight crew, who were very happy to serve you, but couldn’t manage to get the airplane to your connecting airport by the time they said they would? A $500 hotel room might not get you to your destination, but it sure could be a sweet wait. Can you say “honor bar?”
Here’s another swell deal: your travel insurance could pay you $1,000 for lost luggage, or $200 for delayed luggage. That’s some pricey underwear and deodorant, but I’m not arguing.
Travel insurance can also be purchased to cover emergency medical treatment or “medical evacuation and repatriation.” Or, if you prefer, you could just click your heels together three times and say, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place…”
Yeah, but how much is it going to cost me?
The cost of travel insurance is based on the number of people traveling and the value of the trip. Time away can also be a factor if you will be gone for more than a month. For example, a family of four taking a trip valued at about $3,000 could expect to pay in the neighborhood of $250 for all of the coverage mentioned above. Is it worth it? On the website of one travel company it stated, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.”
Can I ask my uncle?
Sure. Uncle Sam says medical evacuation from a foreign country can cost $10,000 and up. And in his inimitable way, he warns that Social Security Medicare does not provide coverage for hospital or medical coverage outside of the US. If you have a private insurer, you might want to check on what out-of-country coverage you have if your trip will take you outside of the good ol’ USA.
OK, OK, you’ve convinced me. Any last bits of advice before I leave for Katmandu?
I am so glad you asked. Here’s a little extra for you – at no additional charge:
1. Take all your travel insurance documentation with you – DON’T put it in your luggage!
2. Put all of your policy numbers on a separate piece of paper in a separate location from the actual policies in case of loss or damage to your policies.
3. Leave a copy of your policy(s) at home with next of kin, or whomever knows your whereabouts.
4. To expedite service in case of an accident, fill in all of your vital statistics on the information page of your passport (name, address, phone number, etc.), or carry it on a card that you keep in your wallet or stuffed into the sleeve of that tag that says Hello My Name Is_____.
In a coconut shell…
Travel insurance can help you with:
· Reimbursement of your travel investment due to cancellation or early termination
· Reimbursement of unexpected travel expenses (delays, loss of luggage)
· Covering emergency medical assistance and medical referrals
· Obtaining medical assistance abroad
Have a nice trip!
© 2005 Travel Insurance Directory