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If you travel around a lot either for the holidays or for any other reason, then you’d agree with me it gives you an interesting and wider view of the world.
With travel insurance, you’ll get to provide financial safety for your trip and so you can travel wherever you want with confidence.
Since close to 4 in 10 Americans are likely to purchase travel insurance for an international trip, I believe it’s the right time for you to get familiar with this insurance policy and how it works.
So, let’s get enlightened on travel insurance and all it entails.
You must have heard about or even had your fair share of lost baggage or canceled flights.
With travel insurance, you—as a policyholder—might not be able to prevent these travel troubles, but guess what? You would be protected from their financial impacts.
This ranges from covering you and reimbursing your nonrefundable flight costs from a canceled flight due to poor weather, your travel provider going bankrupt, lost baggage and so on.
Unlike car insurance, travel insurance is optional.
So, it’s up to you to decide if you want to go for it or not.
In the end, it’s just meant to help you travel with an absolute peace of mind and keep you protected from losing money on unexpected expenses.
If you travel, then you should have travel insurance. Why?
Well, it will cover the huge and unbearable financial risks for you and give you a sense of security when you plan an international trip or make expensive trip prepayments.
Besides, you won’t be the only one with travel insurance.
According to Statista, more Americans are buying travel insurance with over 40% of them buying this insurance coverage out of concern about their family’s welfare and health when traveling.
When Should You Buy?
So, you have decided to purchase travel insurance for your trip.
But you're probably wondering when it would be the best time to get one.
Well, if you ask me, I would tell you to get one immediately‘’.
But—depending on the coverage you’re looking for—you can purchase travel insurance almost until your flight takes off.
With that being said, you can purchase travel insurance within 14—15 days of booking for your trip.
However, I’d advise that you buy a travel insurance policy the same day you make your first trip deposit [like the flight ticket].
Why this early?
First, a lot could go wrong between booking your trip and when you board the plane for your trip.
But if you buy travel insurance when you make your first booking, you’ll cover yourself for any unexpected event that occurs.
Besides being covered for unexpected events, purchasing travel insurance early enough has its benefits.
You can look at it this way; let’s say you booked a trip for Seychelles two months in advance.
You could decide to purchase travel insurance for this trip anytime you want but if you decide to wait until there’s a tsunami alert, then you’re unlikely to get coverage for tsunamis.
Travel insurance has been designed to cover financial losses caused by unexpected events like an injury, illness and other events that could occur before or during your trip.
Most travel insurance policies have been designed to fit perfectly with your main worries in mind and provide coverage for lost baggage, flight delays, medical emergencies and trip cancellations.
To ensure that you get the coverage that you need and also, pick the right policy for your next trip, you should do your bit by reading each policy’s documentation so you can understand the benefits that have been included.
Before buying travel insurance from an insurance company, read the policy carefully to find out if there are any specific exclusions and what they are.
For example, if you have a medical condition, then you should pay close attention to what your policy says about pre-existing conditions before purchasing it.
This is because most travel policies deny claims if you had a medical condition that caused you to be hospitalized while on a trip.
A travel insurance policy would also deny a claim if you get injured while participating in a dangerous sport, like mountain climbing, while visiting another state or country.
In the case of bad weather, your travel insurance only helps when your flight gets canceled but won't help if, after reaching your destination, there was bad weather that hindered your movements and you would like a do-over.
Also, if you were late to the airport and missed your flight, your travel coverage might be unable to help as well.
So, as I explained earlier, always check your policy carefully to understand the valid reasons for making a claim to avoid unpleasant circumstances.
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Trip cancellation can occur when something unexpected happens and as a result, stops you from going on your trip or cuts it short.
These unforeseen events can be anything from a family member’s medical issue back home, an unexpected medical problem on your part to terrorism or natural disasters in your destination country.
Generally, with trip cancellation insurance, you’ll get back some amount of money but only for the part of the trip that you didn’t complete.
If you don't have trip cancellation insurance and any of these events occur, then you run a high risk of losing almost 100% of the money you invested in the trip.
Most times this could be a large sum of money, especially if it's an international trip.
This type of travel insurance acts as a replacement for your health insurance at home while you’re on your trip.
So, if you end up falling ill or getting into some accident abroad, medical insurance will be there to help cover the medical expenses.
It won’t be a surprise if after reading about this type of travel insurance, you then say, “I’m healthy so I don’t need this.”
You might be right but what happens if you eat something that makes you in dire need of medical attention in the Bahamas?
Or you twist an ankle while snorkeling in Seychelles and need to make sure you’re OK?
This isn’t to scare you but these unforeseen scenarios aren’t uncommon, especially on an international trip and if you ask me, I believe your health is worth the investment.
Keep these Important Points in Mind:
Before going for travel medical insurance, speak with your insurer to know the type of coverage you’re going to get when you’re on a trip.
In case you don’t know, Medicare doesn’t provide travel coverage and even if your health insurer happens to provide some sort of primary cover, I’d advise that you get some supplemental coverage to cover any unusual costs that your regular insurance doesn’t cover.
You should also know that the U.S. State Department regularly issues out warnings on traveling to specific high-risk countries.
So, if you end up traveling to these areas, your travel insurance might not be honored, unless, of course, you purchase supplemental coverage.
If you’re planning to travel to a remote region that lacks sufficient medical facilities, then you should buy medical evacuation insurance.
With it, you’ll be able to get an emergency transport to a hospital that can provide the medical services needed for your injury or illness.
Like I earlier mentioned, it’s not worth it to gamble with your health.
So, you should buy a plan that ensures that you have access to medical care whenever you need it.
Besides medical coverage, evacuation insurance arranges transport for you during political or civil unrest from an unsafe place to a safer location as well.
If you have valuables like a camera, laptop or any other item in your baggage then it makes sense to insure your baggage financially, should it go missing.
Indeed, a carry-on suitcase might lessen the risk of having your valuables stolen or lost but that won’t always be a feasible option.
This type of insurance is often offered for the whole of your trip besides the activities related to your flight.
Some travel medical insurance policies provide this coverage as part of their services.
So, make sure that you study all the benefits available to you when purchasing an insurance plan to avoid buying more than one insurance policy.
If you already have adequate life insurance, you won’t need this coverage but if you don’t, then read on.
Under the life insurance coverage, there is the Accidental Death and Dismemberment [AD & D] coverage, Air Flight Accident coverage and Common Carrier coverage.
With the AD & D coverage, a substantial amount will be paid to your beneficiary if you die in an accident while on your trip.
If you also lose your hearing, speech, limb, foot and so on, an amount will be paid to you as well.
In the case of an Air Flight Accident coverage, it covers the flight part of your trip and pays out if there’s an accidental death on a plane.
In the event of dismemberment or death, while you're on any type of public transport, the Common Carrier coverage keeps you covered by paying you an amount for the injury or paying out to your beneficiary if you die.
Keep these Important Points in Mind:
The AD&D policy won’t pay out if a heart attack, stroke or some other medical condition causes an accident.
Also, the loss of a limb or death must happen within a fixed time frame like a year after the accident during your trip.
Plus, accidents from high-risk activities might be excluded.
Now that you know why travel insurance is a good idea for your trip and the types of travel insurance that exist, you’re probably still asking, “What travel insurance plan do I need?”
Good question. No one wants to buy what they won’t need.
Plus, you’ll like to make sure that you’re getting the coverage you expect without unpleasant surprises.
Well, here’s a quick summary to help you pick the best one for your needs:
According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, a full or all-inclusive travel insurance plan will cost about 4 – 8 percent of the cost of your trip.
If something goes wrong on your trip and you want to make a claim on your travel insurance, then there are steps you can take to make the process easier and successful.
Your approach depends on the type of claim you’re making, but generally, I would recommend that:
You get and keep all your travel and policy documents handy before traveling. Also, keep their digital copies on your gadgets and don’t forget to take pictures of your valuables for evidence.
Your insurer would tell you how best to contact them when you want to make a claim. It could either be via a 24/7 phone number that you can call while you’re abroad or their website. For emergencies, some insurers will provide you with an emergency assistance service that will be useful in helping you find your closest embassy, the nearest health facilities plus keeping you in touch with your workplace and family during the emergency.
Immediately when you have a problem, contact your insurer.
The right authorities. Make sure you have the supporting evidence you need—receipts for your valuables if they are stolen, damaged or lost, police report or medical report.
Tip: if you don’t have all the supporting evidence required, still make an initial claim as fast as possible.
Once you have the remaining documents or information ready, email or post them to your insurer.
If you’re confused about what you need to submit your insurer will run you through what you need to submit when you’re filling the claims form.
Be honest about what happened as lying could render your cover invalid. Follow the instructions given by your insurer and get in touch with them if you encounter any difficulties while making your claim.
To track the progress of your claim, you can log into your account on your insurer’s website to do that.
An ‘Excess’ in travel insurance is the agreed amount you’re to pay your insurer if you end up making a claim on your policy.
Let’s say you purchased a travel insurance policy for two weeks in Seychelles.
This same policy could cost you about $120 with a $400 excess, $144 with a $200 excess or $216 with a $0 excess.
What do you notice? You’re right.
Choosing a higher excess will make you save some money.
That’s the best thing about it. The grim news, however, is that you must pay the amount [excess] before making a claim.
So, you lose your laptop that’s worth $1,000 and you have a $400 excess, your insurer validates your claim, you must pay the excess amount and that means, you would only get $600 back.
That’s not all. There’s also the possibility that if you’re making a claim of a lower value, your claim amount could end up being equivalent to that of the payable excess.
If you’re wondering when you’ll pay the excess amount when you make a claim, that will depend on your insurer’s policies.
They may ask you to pay before you receive what’s left of your claim or they deduct it from the claim before paying you.
Keep in Mind: If you go for the higher excess option, it could be a bit riskier if you end up making a claim.
Taking the Coronavirus, for example, if you choose to travel to China and any other area that the Travel State Government has advised against, then it could be classified as a known risk and might invalidate your travel insurance.
If you’re worried about traveling to a particular area out of fear for the outbreak, it’s not a covered reason under a standard trip cancellation insurance.
Unless you have the optional Cancel for Any Reason upgrade.
Whether you’re looking to go on a single-destination trip or you’re traveling multiple destinations, you need to make sure that they cover the destinations in your policy.
Choose between a single trip policy that covers you only for a single trip [a yearly vacation] and a multi-trip policy that will cover you if you’re looking to make many trips in one year. With a multi-trip policy, you’ll save money and time from booking a separate policy each time you want to travel.
You can also go for a policy that comes with a policy extension. With this you can have an additional cover for a brief period, should your trip get extended for any reason.
You should take time to understand how much coverage you’re getting and with medical cover, the circumstances that apply. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, confirm that it won’t exclude you from the coverage you’re buying. You also want to know the excesses you must pay before you can make a claim.
Just like you would do for any investment, make sure you compare quotes from different insurers before settling for one. You can also research their customer feedback to know what to expect from each.
If there’s no tendency for dangerous things to happen when people travel, then there would be no need for travel insurance.
However, according to Flight stats, over 300,000 flights cancel and 6, 000,000 additional flights delay yearly.
That’s without mentioning the millions of mishandled luggage and thousands of evacuations, medical emergencies, and many more that hit travelers yearly.
Your trips might go well and so you won’t need to deal with being injured or sick abroad.
But if something goes wrong, I believe the last thing you would want is to lack the financial support or means to fly home or to get treated, right?
For this alone, getting travel insurance is worth the investment.
Travel insurance won’t prevent the troubles that come with traveling.
It can’t prevent the unforeseen circumstances that undermine your best laid-out plans.
However, it will provide the financial support you need when the worst or most inconvenient situation comes up.
We all work hard and so deserve a vacation that helps us let go of the stress for an enjoyable, worry-free holiday.
If a life without worry is your definition of happiness, safeguard it just as you do your life with life insurance.
Why make an exception with your travel plans?
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