The answer is a pretty straightforward one. “Yes. You need travel insurance for many reasons” and none of them are to help your travel agent get rich. Your travel agent has good reason for suggesting that you buy travel insurance for your next adventure. The “travel horror stories” agents tell might sound dramatic, but they are nonetheless true. Without travel insurance, you could very well find yourself stuck in paradise with no luggage, at the very least, or stuck facing large medical bills after an unexpected emergency.
Why Should I Buy Travel Insurance?
In most cases, travelers do not experience a life or death illness or any other major issue while on vacation. That is the good news. The bad news? Those travelers who have experienced serious interruptions to their vacation plans will tell you they wish they had travelers insurance to ease the financial and emotional burden they faced during an already stressful time.
Having the financial support to help you deal with any unwanted surprises while traveling is not only smart for your money, but smart for your peace of mind as well. However, all travel insurance policies are not the same. There are a few things you need to consider when making your decision on what type of traveling insurance to purchase and the type of coverage you should expect.
Any good travel insurance should cover the five following things:
- Medical Emergencies and Evacuations
- Cancelled Trips
- Lost or Damaged Personal Items (luggage included)
- Personal liability
- Flexibility with Trip Start/End date.
Let us explain each part:
Medical Emergencies – No travel insurance is complete without this component. Sure, medical treatment is often less costly in other countries. However, paying that bill upfront can still lead to sticker shock. When purchasing travel insurance, take the time to thoroughly read this section over. You will want to pay especially close attention to the type of medical coverage offered (dental, emergency services, routine medical coverage, etc) coverage limits, potential coverage exclusions and more.
Cancellations – Life continues even though you have made travel plans. In the instance that unforeseen situations arise (like a death in the family or medical emergency), having travel insurance will allow you to be refunded in the event you cannot make your trip.
Lost or Damaged Personal Items – Outside of emergency medical issues, nothing can spoil your travel plans faster than stolen, lost or misplaced luggage. In most cases, your belongings will get to your destination safe and sound. On the off-chance that does not happen, travel insurance can help you replace those items at a later date. For items that are stolen, you can file a claim and as long as reasonable diligence was done on your part, you will receive reimbursement for any items taken. For example, if you leave your laptop in a shared hotel and then report it missing, chances are the claim will be rejected as the company will mostly likely determine that reasonable diligence was not exercised. As always, when choosing a travel insurance policy, review the coverage limits on high value items (like personal computers, cameras, sporting equipment, etc.) to ensure the terms are best for your needs.
Be advised that in order to use this benefit of your travel insurance, you will have to purchase far in advance of your trip. Buying traveler’s insurance one week before your departure date and attempting to cancel the trip a few days later will likely result in a denied claim. Also, not all travel insurance plans are created equal. Some do not cover cancellations at all, while some only cover your non-refundable, pre-booked costs if your trip stalls after you’ve already left home.
Personal Liability – Normally, when referring to liability people typically think about car insurance. This component of travel insurance is somewhat like that but not exactly the same. Different countries have different rules, laws and customs. So if you are involved in an accident or unintentionally cause damage that you are held responsible for, personal liability insurance can cover your legal expenses.
Flexible Start/End Date for Trip – This benefit sounds tricky but it is pretty clear-cut. If you have to cut your 4 month Bali trip down to 2 months, this clause in your insurance will cover you should you resume the remaining portion of the trip. What it will NOT do is cover you while you are home. The benefit to this feature is it keeps you from buying two separate travel insurance policies for one trip. Be sure to read the coverage options and benefits and identify the clauses (medical emergency, cancelled trip, etc) that are covered.
For more tips and information on smart traveling, contact Women Traveling the World by calling 866-753-1552 or visit http://www.womentravelingtheworld.com.