When it comes to travel insurance, many travelers have more questions than answers, stopping them from even considering it. Sound like you? To help get you started, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked travel insurance questions:
- Is travel insurance actually worth it?
- What coverage do I actually need?
- How do I use my travel insurance while I’m on my trip?
- How much does travel insurance cost?
- Can I avoid buying travel insurance without taking a huge risk?
Is travel insurance actually worth it?
Like many kinds of insurance, for the most part, travel insurance may not feel “worth it”…until it undoubtedly is. When everything is going according to plan while you’re traveling, you may doubt your decision to purchase a travel insurance policy. After all, you’re not actually using it at that point. But then, you get sick and need medical care at a local clinic, your child gets hurt and you need to head home early, or your flight home gets canceled and you end up having to stay an extra night or two longer than planned, just to name a few of the many situations that could arise.
Because your travel insurance coverage will likely be less costly than the costs you’d incur from any of these scenarios, it’s a worthwhile investment. This is especially true when the trip cost is high and paid upfront and/or non-refundable.
Pro-tip: To make sure you’re getting the best price on the coverage you need, without any extras, talk to a travel insurance expert about it. Tell them where you’re traveling and what concerns you have. They’ll help you land on an insurance that provides the coverage you need at the most affordable price.
What coverage do I actually need?
This one’s a little more complicated because it really depends on factors like the region you’re visiting, the activities you have planned, and who you’re traveling with, among other things. That said, there are three core types of coverage included with most comprehensive travel insurance policies:
Emergency Medical Expenses & Medical Evacuation
Most United States-based health insurance plans will not cover expenses incurred abroad, so if anything should happen to you during your travels, you’ll need additional travel insurance coverage for those unexpected medical costs. Each travel insurance policy also comes with a 24/7 emergency assistance provider to ensure you’re receiving the treatment you need as soon as possible. Pre-existing conditions are excluded from coverage unless you qualify for a pre-existing condition waiver.
Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption
This type of coverage protects your nonrefundable trip cost if you or a loved one suddenly fall ill or if your destination is hit by a natural disaster and you’re no longer able to go on your trip. If you’re concerned about cancelling for a specific reason, check the full list of trip cancellation reasons included with the policy before purchasing. You may need to consider a specific type of coverage called “Cancel for Any Reason” if you would like to be able to cancel your trip for any reason at all and receive a partial refund.
Travel Loss & Delay
Almost everyone who has traveled by air has experienced a cancelled or delayed flight (lucky you if you haven’t)! Things like trip delay, baggage delay and baggage loss coverage are generally included in most travel insurance policies and help ease those travel headaches that may arise on your trips.
How do I use my travel insurance while I’m on my trip?
Once you’re on your trip, there are several things to keep in mind should you need to tap into your travel insurance. First, your insurer will have provided you with a 24/7 assistance number that you can call to ask anything from whether or not something will be covered to how to access the support you need in your destination. Then, while you’re going through the process of rebooking, getting medical help, leaving early, or whatever the case may be, document everything—follow up every phone call with an email confirming what was discussed. Get detailed receipts and hold on to them. The more “proof” you have to back up your claim, the less trouble you’ll have to go through in filing it. Filing an insurance claim looks different from provider to provider.
How much will my policy cost?
In general, you should expect to pay anywhere from 5-12% of the total prepaid cost of your trip on your insurance policy. These are the expenses that you would want to recoup if you aren’t able to use them. So if you’re planning an expensive, prepaid vacation, your insurance company will have to reimburse you for more if you have to cancel than if you’re planning a backpacking, hostel-hopping experience, so they’ll want more money up front to cover them in the former scenario.
Can I avoid buying travel insurance without taking a huge risk?
Sure! That’s the thing about risk…you can’t always predict when something bad will happen, but you can certainly manage it to a certain extent. When it comes to travel, there are several steps you can take to plan in way that minimizes risk as much as possible. For example, you can avoid traveling to regions that are prone to extreme weather or storms, skip any hazardous sports, and take extra precautions to keep yourself healthy leading up to and during your trip. In addition, you can spend less money on your flights and accommodations. The less money you pre-pay, the less you have to lose if you have to cancel or change your travel plans.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you get the care and service you need while you’re traveling— and travel insurance helps you avoid spending extra money if you do.
Have questions that weren’t covered here? You’ll probably find the answer here or you can always get in touch with a travel insurance expert to ask your specific questions.