Comprehensive travel insurance is a huge topic! We are determined to help bring you clarity on the topic in the following areas:
- What does comprehensive travel insurance mean?
- Who should buy comprehensive travel insurance?
- What is not covered under this insurance?
Let’s break it down.
What does comprehensive travel insurance mean?
This is a common question, but rather easy to answer in the travel insurance industry, compared to other types of travel insurance. Comprehensive travel insurance, though, is literally the most extensive travel insurance policy you can find. It includes the three main pillars of travel insurance as well more specific coverage for various needs.
The three pillars of travel insurance include:
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption
- Emergency Medical Expense and Medical Evacuation Coverage
- Travel Loss and Delay Benefits
Other types of specific benefits that are included or can be added on to comprehensive policies include:
- Pre-existing condition waiver
- Cancel for any reason
- Change fee
- Rental car collision
Who should buy comprehensive travel insurance?
Comprehensive travel insurance is always a good choice when traveling internationally, but it’s not only good for this reason. It offers some of the most robust coverage, so if you have a large financial investment into your trip, a comprehensive policy is the best way to protect your nonrefundable trip cost. If you’re an empty nester, travel with your family or for business, having extensive coverage brings much needed peace of mind as well. When there are variables against your trip, causing a higher concern for cancellation, getting a comprehensive policy should be a consideration.
What’s covered by a comprehensive policy?
Moving on to what you might want to know the most. With so many different travel insurance companies, it’s best to compare policies in regards to coverage. However, there are some really coverage categories that most travel insurance plans offer such as:
One of the most sought-after coverage is being able to cancel your trip and get reimbursed for it. With comprehensive travel insurance policies, trip cancellation coverage is included. The condition is that the reason you cancel must be listed as a covered reason in the description of coverage. Here are some common reasons for cancellation that are covered by most plans:
- You or a person you’re traveling with gets sick, injured, or passes away before the trip.
- One of your family members that isn’t traveling with you is in the hospital or passes away.
- Your destination was recently hit by a natural disaster and is now uninhabitable.
- The airline you’re flying closes or is on strike for a period of time specified by the policy.
- Your passport was stolen.
Of course, these aren’t all the possible reasons to cancel, but some of the more popular ones. If you’re looking for more flexible coverage, you should consider buying a policy with the option of Cancel For Any Reason. This allows you to cancel your trip for any reason at all, with a few conditions that must be met. This specific type of coverage must be purchased within 14-21 days from the initial trip deposit date and other certain requirements must be met.
When it comes to trip cancellation coverage, though, 100% of your nonrefundable trip costs will be reimbursed when you cancel due to a covered reason. Talk about travel insurance being worth it!
It’s never fun to cut a trip short, but sometimes it’s necessary. With trip interruption, if you’d need to go home early, you’d get up to 100-150% of your total trip cost back. This would include any additional accommodations and airfare needed to get you home. The covered reasons vary from company to company.
Emergency Medical Expenses
Many travelers don’t know their major health insurance won’t usually cover them once they leave their home country. This is why it’s so important to get travel insurance before your next trip. Comprehensive travel insurance includes coverage if you got sick or injured during your trip and needed to receive medical care. Make note that travel insurance usually works on a reimbursement basis, so you would pay out of pocket for any medical charges and then submit a claim for reimbursement.
If you think you can’t travel or be insured with a pre-existing condition, that’s actually not true! If you’re concerned about a recent change in health flaring up on your next trip, be sure to get a plan with a Pre-Existing Condition waiver, with which your condition will be waived if you need to seek medical care. Don’t delay in getting this coverage, as it usually needs to be purchased within 10-21 days of your initial trip deposit date or prior to your final trip payment date.
Emergency Medical Evacuation
This is something we never hope has to happen on your trip, but you can rest easy knowing if it ever does, you won’t have to worry too much about the bill. With this coverage, if there is no other appropriate medical facility that can give you adequate care, you can be evacuated to the next best-equipped hospital.
Usually, these costs can add up in a hurry, so when calling the 24/7 emergency assistance line, payments can usually be wired for your medical when needed. When in a foreign country, translators might not be available, so your comprehensive policy emergency assistance line can help you understand and communicate with the doctor or nurse. There are several other benefits and services that come with having medical evacuation insurance that we won’t go into depth with here.
We’ve had our fair share of delayed flights and bad weather, but that doesn’t stop us from traveling when we have comprehensive travel insurance. Travel or trip delay coverage is really important to have if there are concerns about a natural disaster, poor road conditions, or a traffic incident causing you to miss your departure. Of course, each policy’s description of coverage is different on how long the delay must be to collect coverage, so pay attention to this before purchasing. Keep in mind, you’ll need reporting and receipts for the extra accommodations, food, and local transport turned in to be paid out from a claim.
Baggage Loss and Delay
Experiencing baggage loss and delay can be pretty inconvenient while traveling, especially after carefully packing exactly what you needed for your trip. However, you could get reimbursed (with the help of your travel insurance plan!) for extra clothing and toiletries you need to get you by while you wait for your delayed baggage to show up. You’ll need to be cautious of the coverage limits for baggage loss and delay though, so be sure to do some research before you leave.
If you do encounter damaged baggage or missing personal items, the travel insurance company will require you to provide proof that it wasn’t damaged before or that you actually had packed the missing item in the first place. Our best advice is to take pictures of everything before departing in the off-chance you’ll need the evidence later. In the event of theft, make sure to file a police report as soon as you notice the personal item is missing. These are all required documents that will speed up your claims process if you submit them upfront.
What is not covered under this insurance?
Although you might think anything and everything is covered by travel insurance, it’s important to check the fine print before assuming so. Not everything will be covered and we wouldn’t want you to buy the wrong plan! Here are some of the more asked about topics that are excluded from most travel insurance policies.
If you’re the type of traveler who loves an adrenaline rush or experiencing new activities while traveling the world, missing out on travel insurance coverage could be detrimental. Most standard comprehensive travel insurance policies exclude coverage for more risk-oriented activities such as skydiving and mountain climbing, among other things. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop your adventure travel dreams! With travel insurance, there are always options. If you’re planning on participating in something others would call dangerous, make sure to add on what’s called a “hazardous sports rider”. This add-on plan will provide coverage in the rare case an emergency happens while participating in adventurous sports.
Travel insurance is always a good idea, but when pregnant, it becomes even more vital. Normal pregnancy and childbirth are not covered by travel insurance since they are considered events that are expected and foreseen. Most women can travel until the last month of pregnancy and be just fine. However, if you’ve experienced problems or complications that lead to an emergency birth while traveling, travel insurance is more likely to cover those related medical expenses.
This is a tough one because there are many bucket list-worthy parts of the world that are experiencing civil unrest. That being said, civil unrest is typically not covered by travel insurance policies. If you know you’re traveling to a country with travel warnings or advisories, you do so at your own risk. In this case, if you needed to be evacuated or canceled your trip, those expenses likely wouldn’t be covered. In some circumstances, if you travel to a destination and the travel warning rises to a level 4 while there, according to the State Department, then a mandated security evacuation may be covered but only if your policy includes non-medical evacuation.
Now that you’re armed with knowledge about travel insurance, we hope you can make a more informed decision when purchasing. Our best advice is to compare plans to ensure it has the medical insurance, evacuation coverage, and other protection you need for your next trip. That way, you won’t have to guess on what insurance policy is right for you!