How to Choose the Right Travel Insurance
If you’ve ever booked a flight online you have probably seen an offer for travel insurance. Whether it’s a domestic or an international flight, airlines, travel agents, and third party agents are all keen to sell you a little peace of mind during your travels. For travelers on a budget, it can be tempting to forgo this option and take your chances. But that might not be the best choice in all situations.
Fortunately, 38% of Americans are purchasing travel insurance, according to a AAA Travel phone survey. This number is only expected to increase as more and more people begin to travel internationally. As the world gets smaller and smaller, fewer travelers are leaving things to chance. The number one reason for making that purchase is to protect them against flight cancellations or costly delays.
But there are more reasons to buy travel insurance. Consider all of the non-refundable expenses associated with travel. The flights, rentals, hotels and more that could be a wash if any part of your plan doesn’t fall into place. Consider as well the expensive electronics that have become part of our lives. Cameras, laptops, cell phones, even hair dryers can be hard to replace in certain parts of the world if they are stolen, and the cost might be enough to put a serious damper on your trip. Travel insurance also helps to cover healthcare costs. While a routine infection may only cost a few dollars to treat, a broken bone or a more serious illness in a foreign land can break the bank.
SO how do you choose travel insurance? How do you know how much coverage you need? Here is a short list of things to think about when considering what to pay for, and which plan is right for you.
What are you planning to do on your trip?
A short trip to visit family or for business doesn’t require the same kind of coverage that a tour through Europe would. If your trip is short with a single destination then lost luggage and trip interruption insurance should be enough to cover your needs. Most credit cards offer you some level of travel insurance protection, so be sure to check on what is and isn’t covered before you make your purchase.
If you are going to be traveling to several destinations or will be spending a long time abroad then you will want to add medical coverage to your basket. If you will be playing sports or doing any activities that could be considered “extreme”, make sure that your health insurance covers that as well.
Understand the limits
Be realistic. If you are taking thousands of dollars of electronics with you on your trip it is in your best interest to make sure that your insurance plan will cover the entire cost of your items in the event of loss, theft or damage. If you are generally in good health and won’t be traveling to places where tropical diseases are a concern then you will need less health coverage than somebody who is going surfing in a remote tropical paradise.
Make sure that your insurance will cover the full cost of your potential emergencies. If political unrest or natural disaster is a possibility, make sure that emergency evacuations are covered in your policy. In all likelihood, with proper planning, you will never need any of those services but it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
How easy is it to make a claim?
Having insurance is only useful if you can easily access it. While mobile banking has become a part of the industry, the travel insurance industry has yet to catch up. Fortunately, many travel insurance companies have twenty-four-hour customer service and an online portal that will allow you to begin the claims process online. Look for a company that lower the barrier between you and them.