Buying Travel Insurance: What to Ask-1

shutterstock_139989664For you, there’s no question about buying travel insurance for your next great adventure. The trip or cruise involves significant expense. You may be going to a foreign country, and your regular health care insurance won’t cover you. You may even want to protect yourself if your trip is cancelled or interrupted.

Now, the critical question becomes: “Which insurance plan should I purchase?”

At, a big part of our job is to work 1-on-1 with customers to find the right answers to this and several more key questions that derive from it. As well as making the purchase process easier, we’ve found that this approach makes it far better. Our customers are much more likely to choose the best possible coverage for them for the best price. And they are much more likely to set out on their great adventures with the confidence that comes with knowing that they’ve chosen well.

So, what are the kinds of questions do we encourage you to ask? Here is Part 1 of a brief overview of this process. We will post Part 2 shortly.


Ask: “Have I made my initial trip deposit within the last 14 days?”

If you have, we strongly recommend that you consider plans with a pre-existing condition waiver—a feature you can only get if you buy with 14 days of making that initial trip deposit. Even if you don’t have a pre-existing condition, we recommend this. Why? If you buy a policy without this kind of waiver and need to make a medical claim, the insurance company will ask your doctor for your medical records to verify that you didn’t have this medical problem just prior to purchasing the insurance. This can—and often does—complicate and delay the claims process. If the problem was known when you bought the policy, and you don’t have a pre-existing conditions waiver, then the insurance company won’t cover the loss. Among the 5 national insurers we work with, American Modern, BCS, Nationwide, and U.S. Fire all offer a pre-existing condition waiver.


Ask: “Which risks should I be most concerned about?

This depends, of course, on who you are, what kind of trip you are taking, where you are going, when you are going, and numerous other factors. So, it’s important to spend some time reflecting on what your biggest concerns are and then learning which insurers and which policies are the best fit for your needs on this trip. Among the companies we work with, for example, BCS and U.S. Fire will cover you if your boss tells you at the last minute that you can’t take your vacation and you have to cancel. Or, if you are visiting the Caribbean during hurricane season, American Modern and U.S. Fire offer the best coverage in case a hurricane strikes. Other risks range from the need to cancel or interrupt a trip because of a health issue in the family (something travellers with young children and/or aging parents must often contend with) to the need to cancel because of civil unrest (often an issue in parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia).


Ask: “How much medical evacuation coverage do I need?”

While most travellers will never need emergency medical evacuation coverage, each year thousands of people do. If you end up needing to be medically evacuated, the expense can by catastrophic. It is the single largest financial risk of international travel, and it’s absolutely worth purchasing. In addition, it’s critical not to skimp on the coverage. Many people, for example, assume that getting $50,000 in medical evac coverage will be plenty. But that’s rarely enough. Today, a typical medical evac from Europe to the U.S. is about $150,000. From the Far East to the U.S., it’s about $250,000. And, whatever you’re not covered for must come out of your pocket. It’s imperative to select a plan that offers enough medical evac coverage for where you are going. For a fascinating glimpse into the medical evac process, check out this piece we posted a couple of months ago.

These are 3 extremely important questions to ask when you’re actually considering different insurance plans. In another blog, we cover 3 more equally important queries:

 • “How much coverage do I have for trip interruption?”

 • “What’s the best deal for my age bracket?”

 • “I might need to cancel for a non-medical reason. What are my options?”

For our responses to these questions, check this out.

In the meantime, if you have any questions either about buying travel insurance or any facet of the travel insurance process, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-219-8169 or email us at You’re under no obligation to buy from us, and we’ll be delighted to help even if you’ve already purchased your travel insurance from someone else.

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