Travel insurance is designed to cover both you and the cost of your travel arrangements against a variety of unforeseeable reasons that may affect you or your travel plans. Following is a more detailed description of each of the travel insurance benefits and its importance.
Pre-Departure Trip Cancellation – What if you are unable to take your planned trip? Are some of your payments non-refundable? This benefit covers the non-refundable trip costs when you must cancel your travel plans. All plans cover cancellation for covered medical reasons (such as Sickness, Injury or death of you, a Family Member or Traveling Companion). Additionally, certain non-medical reasons will be covered as well, such as: air carrier delays or cancellations, theft of travel documents, damage or destruction of your home, etc. The more reasons that are covered the better the plan. It is as simple as that!
Important Tip! When deciding to purchase travel insurance, many people consider only their own health. For example it is not uncommon for younger people to assume that because they are healthy, travel insurance is not needed. But what about parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, aunts and uncles? Remember travel insurance covers you if something happens to you or to any of these people, causing you to cancel your trip.
Post-Departure Trip Interruption – Your child is sick at home and you need to return home early from your trip. How do you get your money back for the remaining time you will miss? This benefit covers the cost of your unused, non-refundable land or water travel arrangements and the additional air expense to either resume your trip or return home, if you interrupt your travel plans and/or return home early from your trip for the same types of reasons listed above for Pre-Departure Trip Cancellation.
Important Tip! You may have to interrupt your trip due to a Sickness, Injury or death of a Family Member either on the trip with you or at home.
Medical Expense/Emergency Assistance – While on your trip, you fall and injure yourself. Does your insurance back home cover these medical expenses? This benefit reimburses you for medical treatment during your trip if you become sick or are injured while traveling. Travel insurance typically covers the same types expenses covered by personal health insurance plans. Additionally, air transport expenses (such as upgraded air arrangements, air ambulance, including doctor or nurse escort expenses) for medical evacuation are covered, if required to obtain the appropriate level of care needed for your condition.
Important Tip! Did you know that many employer provided health insurance plans and supplemental medical plans provide little or no coverage while traveling while outside the United States? And even those plans that do provide limited medical coverage often do not cover the medical evacuation transport expenses required in emergency medical situations. Government plans such as Medicare do not cover any expense incurred outside the United States.
Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation – This benefit covers you for reasonable expenses for transportation to the nearest place of safety if a formal recommendation from appropriate local authorities or the US State Department is issued to leave a country due to: 1) a natural disaster; 2) civil, military or political unrest; or 3) being expelled or declared a persona non-grata.
Missed Connection – Strikes, bad weather, mechanical breakdown and other carrier delays can cause you to miss your connecting flight and force you to make alternate travel arrangements, sometimes with a different airline entirely. When the reason for your carrier delay or cancellation is considered an “Act of Nature” (such as bad weather or other situations outside of the airline’s control), you may be forced to pay for the alternate arrangements to join your trip. The Missed Connection Benefit covers the cost of these additional arrangements when you miss your flight connection due to a carrier delay, generally of three hours or more.
Important Tip! Having travel insurance with the Missed Connection benefit gives you more choice when making your alternate travel arrangements, because you will not be limited by cost to flights available from your original carrier and may allow you to join your trip sooner.
Travel Delay Benefits – What if you are stranded overnight in a connecting city due to bad weather? Who is going to pay for your hotel stay and what about meals? The Travel Delay benefit reimburses you for meal and hotel expense due to carrier and other covered delays of 8 or more hours.
Important Tip! Airlines don’t pay these expenses unless they are responsible for your delay. Most delays are due to bad weather, which is beyond an airline’s control, and the bad weather causing your flight delay could even be in a city not on your itinerary.
Baggage and Baggage Delay – What happens if your bags are lost or delayed? While your personal articles are generally covered by homeowners insurance, most policies have significant deductibles and possibly coinsurance limitations. The baggage benefit provides coverage on your baggage and personal items without deductible or coinsurance requirements. If your bags are delayed for 12 hours or more for a covered reason, the baggage delay benefit reimburses you for the purchase of toiletries and personal articles during the delay.
Important Tip! Collecting reimbursement from an airline for lost baggage is difficult, at best. Each airline has different requirements and rules that also vary from country to country.
Cancel For Any Reason Benefit – While travel insurance policies routinely cover canceling a trip for many reasons, what if your reason for not going just isn’t covered? This benefit allows you to cancel your trip for any reason whatsoever and still be reimbursed for most of your non-refundable trip costs. To be eligible for this coverage, the plan must be purchased within a specified period of time (most often 15 days) after you have made your initial payment for your trip and you must cancel your trip prior to your scheduled departure (most often 2 days or more).
Important Tip! Non-covered medical conditions, divorces, canceled wedding plans, economic hardships, a change in plans, just a few of the types of reasons not typically covered under Trip Cancellation, but covered under Cancel For Any Reason.
Rental Car Damage – Renting a car on your trip? How do you cover your liability for damage to the rental vehicle? With the Rental Car Damage benefit, you are protected for covered losses to the vehicle.
Important Tip! Buying Collision Damage Waiver from a car rental company is the most expensive way to insure a rental vehicle.
Accidental Death & Dismemberment – Want to protect your family in the unlikely event of your death from an accidental injury while traveling? This benefit provides a payment to your estate if you die from an accidental injury. Generally coverage is provided on a 24-hour basis during your travels and additional coverage may be provided for commercial air travel.
Important Tip! Accidental Death and Dismemberment is an inexpensive way to provide protection in the event of death.