Think of travel insurance as a rich uncle ready to pull out his wallet to fix anything that might go wrong nearly anywhere in the world.
Cancelled airline flights can cause you to miss a connection, throwing your plans into chaos. Travel insurance covers that.
Lost luggage can leave you stranded with only the clothes you wore on the flight. Travel insurance can remedy this annoying situation.
If climbing mountains or boating down rapids is your cup of tea, travel insurance can protect you.
A medical emergency can leave a pile of bills that would ruin any vacation. Travel insurance is standing by with doctors and a hospital to pay the bills.
This travel insurance uncle will travel with you from the day you leave on your trip until the day you arrive back home.
And the beauty of it all is that you get to build this insurance according your needs and specifications.
The Basics of Travel Insurance
Generally, travel insurance can cover emergency assistance, a delayed flight, cancelled airline flights, medical assistance, search and rescue, lost luggage and goods, cancellation of different legs in your trip and evacuation when troublesome situations pop up in foreign countries.
The level of insured protection will be determined by what types of coverage you buy.
Travel insurance will not only protect you when emergencies arise but also reimburse you with money for expenses that you have already paid for. This would include pre-paid expenses such as hotel rooms, cruise ship tickets, planned tours and personal items like cameras and laptops.
This list can be reduced or greatly expanded, depending upon the type of travel insurance.
Comparing Travel Insurance Plans
The basic plan is the cheapest travel insurance for individuals. It’s also good for those seeking family travel insurance. It covers the basics such as cancellation and interruption along your trip. Lost luggage and emergency medical treatment are also covered. Because this plan is basic, reimbursement will not be as large as other plans which will cost more.
Comprehensive Travel Plans
This travel Insurance offers more toots and whistles than the basic plan.
Buyers will be offered standard limits that will cover cancelled airline flights and interruptions to your trip.
Medical expenses will be included, along with necessary medical evacuations. Pre-existing medical conditions are also addressed. Missed connection coverage will be enhanced beyond what’s offered in the basic plan. Comprehensive coverage is considered a mid-price plan.
The limits to cover medical evacuation and medical treatments are greatly enhanced with this plan. This plan will appeal to senior citizens and those people with pre-existing conditions. This is considered an expensive plan as compared to the first two plans.
This is the coverage people buy who plan adventure trips. If you’re itching to climb the Nepalese mountains or travel down the Amazon River in a native boat, this is the travel insurance you ask for. Adventure travel insurance is covered in detail here.
The coverage offers medical evacuation via helicopter or airplane.
Buy Travel Insurance Online
The first step to buy travel insurance online will require you to click this link and answer four questions. The questions are:
1. Where are you going?
2. What method of transport will you use?
3. How much are you paying for the trip?
4. What will you do once you’re there?
Upon completing the form, you will have a rough idea of what your insurance will cost. But don’t run away yet because next we’ll deal a bit more in depth about travel insurance coverage. This is so you will completely understand what kind of coverage you may need and exactly how travel insurance will cover you.
Protect You and Your Family
The first matter is to protect you and your family from medical emergencies. That will include emergency medical care and medical evacuation.
Emergency medical care will cover hospital and doctor bills up to whatever limit is stated in your policy. Next, you must determine whether your travel insurance is primary or secondary.
Primary vs Secondary Travel Insurance
If your travel insurance is secondary, that means that your emergency medical care will first be covered by your current health care plan. It will pay the bills up to your health care limits. After that’s paid, your travel insurance will kick in and pay up to the limit you chose.
On the other hand, if your travel insurance is primary, it will pay the emergency medical care to the limit you designated.
People on Medicare should be forewarned that Medicare doesn’t provide coverage outside the US.
Travel insurance companies have many rules and exceptions when covering pre-existing conditions.
Coverage may include looking back at your medical history for up to a year.
Some plans may cover pre-existing conditions but only if you bought your travel insurance within a specified time period.
You’ll need to work closely with your insurance agent to understand how the plan works. Get this work done in the initial stages of your travel plans, preferably before you make deposits or purchase travel tickets.
A medical evacuation can cost $100,000 or more. That price can suck the principal clear out of the house or drain a retirement account real quick. Even a simple medical evacuation from our Canadian neighbor can cost $20,000 and more.
Additionally, you will be expected to pay for the medical evacuation up front, before the evacuation starts. Travel insurers will pay the upfront costs required by evacuation services.
This insurance protects you from the unexpected. Suppose that you’ve paid $10,000 for a family vacation. Days before departure, your child falls ill or your boss requires you to attend a critical but unexpected meeting.
You can be reimbursed non-refundable trip expenses. That might include resort expenses that you pre-paid, cruise ship reservations, concert tickets and meal costs. Trip Cancellation is covered extensively here.
One of the nice perks of travel insurance is that it will pay for clothes and toiletries while the hunt for the lost luggage continues. That means you won’t be stinking up the joint wearing the same clothes for days.
Read a complete analysis of lost luggage here.
Delayed Airline Flights
A delayed flight can tally up costs for food and lodging if you’re stuck overnight. Travel insurance can pay for lodging, meals, a change of clothing and even a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Rental Car Problems
There’s nothing exciting about a fender-bender in a rented car where nobody speaks your language. By opting for rental car insurance on your travel policy, everything is taken care of by your agent.
It’s not much fun sitting around an embassy waiting for a passport while the world is partying outside. Travel insurance can expedite the process and get you back on track quickly.
What Travel Insurance Doesn’t Cover
* Incidents while intoxicated, whether it’s beer, liquor or drugs
* Activities or sporting events where the risk of injury or death are high
* Medical travel
* Criminal activity
Should I Buy Travel Insurance?
In a nutshell, travel insurance has something for everyone. Figure out what kind of traveler you are. Ask yourself a few questions:
1. Where am I going?
2. What will I do there?
3. Are there any risks?
4. How am I traveling there?
5. How much am I spending?
The Distinguished Traveler
If you’re an older traveler, you might be susceptible to a medical emergency. The medical care may not be as advanced as in Europe or the US. That may require a medical evacuation that can cost a fortune. The right travel insurance can take care of that.
Older travelers tend to take longer and more involved trips, costing a good chunk of money. If something goes wrong, such as a resort going bankrupt the day you arrive, travel insurance can reimburse you for the inconvenience.
Should you be the happy, lone vagabond, your travel insurer can act as your companion. You can call your insurer to ask for advice. Your insurer can arrange emergency medical care and buy you a new set of clothes should the hostel burn down. And should the jungle rebels take over the capital city, your travel agent can arrange a quick evacuation.
The Family Traveler
Family vacations can be long and involved, with many places to see. If family attractions become unavailable, your insurer can reimburse you for admissions to events, theme-park tickets, scheduled tours and theater tickets.
When to Buy Travel Insurance
As a general rule, buy your insurance within 14 days after making the first pre-payment for your trip. By applying within this window, you may qualify for additional coverage on your policy for no added costs. That includes:
1. Tour bankruptcy protection
2. Terrorism coverage
3. Pre-existing medical
4. Primary medical emergency
The clock is ticking to buy travel insurance. Each insurer will have its own rules on when you can apply and pay for a policy. Don’t expect to buy travel insurance after your excursion begins.
Where Do I Buy Travel Insurance
This link will take you to a travel insurance company to buy or compare different policies.
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