We buy auto insurance, home owners or renters insurance, life insurance, disability insurance and health insurance but a lot of people never even consider travel insurance. There are lots of different reasons for not getting travel insurance but some of these are based on misconceptions or lack of understanding coverage. I can tell you that I for sure never travel without insurance any more. Though I didn’t always purchase it in the past, I will now never travel without it, EVER!!!!!!!!! I have seen way too many clients have crazy, “that would never happen to me” issues occur on trips and also had my fair share of clients have delayed and cancelled flights, lost luggage, or missing hotel reservations. Though you hope to never use it, that $200 purchase of travel insurance might be the best purchase you make for your trip.
Unfortunately, we all know that illnesses can easily get in the way of an amazing trip whether the illness happens before the trip, during the trip, or is caused by the trip. Yes, you have health insurance but if you are leaving the country your health insurance will likely not help you. Also, your travel insurance can help to cover any costs that may not be covered by your health insurance. It is in no way a replacement for your health insurance but it is definitely a supplement and may be your only option when you are abroad. I had a client unknowingly infected with MRSA before departing on an international trip. During the trip she had to seek medical care. Because she had trip insurance, she was able to submit a claim to cover the cost of care she received while abroad. If she did not have trip insurance she would not have been reimbursed for this expense. It will even help you set off the cost of the $200 fee you had to pay to visit your resort medical center to have your son get a wound cleaned out and a band aid since you forgot to bring one (you think I am kidding about this cost but sadly I am not). Plus, in some cases it will allow you to cancel your remaining trip and get a refund on unused portions if you or someone with coverage ends up getting ill during the trip. A family that planned that a fun first time trip to Disney for their young children ended up having to leave their trip early when their child ended up with a miserable stomach bug. They were able to get a new flight home that was covered by their trip insurance and also get refunds for the portion of the trip they had not used yet. In addition, it will also provide coverage if an emergency occurs at home while you are traveling. If you are traveling without your children and there is a medical emergency while you are away, travel insurance will cover the costs to get you home and also reimburse you for the cost of the trip you will miss. Yes, insurance will cover you if you have to cancel or cut short a trip because family at home becomes ill. I had clients that were taking a once in a lifetime trip to Africa. Upon arrival they learned that your youngest son had been rushed to the emergency room and they had to turn around and come home. The trip insurance not only covered the cost of their very expensive emergency airfare from Africa, it also reimbursed them for all trip costs with the exception of the airfare they used to travel to Africa. In addition, if you, your child, or your traveling partners get diagnosed with an illness before a trip and can not go, it will cover your lost costs. In addition, if you have a close family member die and their passing effects your travel, you can cancel your trip.
Just as illnesses can occur, weather can definitely negatively impact your trip. As most of you realize, if there is some type of weather emergency where you are traveling, travel insurance can help but it can also help if there is a weather issue from your departure point. For example, when your area gets over 36 inches of snow and the airports are closed for an extended period of time, travel insurance will not only help to refund you money for portions you did not use, it will also help to cover any additional costs you may incur to then get to your destination a couple days late or it will help you to recoup the costs for the trip if you cancel it entirely.
None of us want to think about having to deal with a terrorist attack while traveling but we all know that no matter where you are in the world, this is something you might have to deal with. Travel insurance will not only help to cover the cost to get you out of the area but they also have people that develop emergency plans to keep you safe. Each company is different but all reputable travel insurance companies are prepared for this issue these days.
Travel issues that are the airlines, cruise line, hotel chain, tour operators’ fault
I can not stress enough the importance of buying third party travel insurance and this is exactly why. Most travel companies do advertise and offer a travel insurance policy through their company. Unfortunately, a lot of these policies are not all inclusive meaning they will only cover those items that they offer so you will have to end up purchasing a different policy for every element of your trip. In addition, they often will not refund your money but instead offer trip credits, etc… to use on a future trip. Third party travel insurance will not only offer you a refund, it will cover any additional costs you many incur. For example, if your flight is delayed or cancelled travel insurance will cover the cost of the food you eat while waiting for your new flight, the hotel you may have to stay in, the cost to get you caught up with your group if you are doing a tour or cruise and it may even cover the purchase of clothing if you have already checked your bags, etc…. In addition, we all are well aware that you may lose your luggage. Travel insurance will cover the cost that you may incur as a result of losing your luggage. Travel insurance can also cover the non refundable money you may have spent on a port excursion that the cruise line has to skip because of weather, the items that were stolen out of your hotel room, and the pet care center you now owe additional money to since you flight was cancelled and you got home a day later than you intended. In addition, if your cruise line, airline, or tour operator goes out of business, a third party travel insurance can help you recover any fees you may have already paid to this company and would likely not get back otherwise.
The unexpected needs for travel insurance
In addition to all of the above mentioned issues, travel insurance can help you deal with all kind of additional trip emergencies that might not fall into one of those categories. Many times, your travel insurance will also cover your already paid travel costs if you lose your job before you travel. It will sometimes also cover freak emergencies that happen like your house flooding before you travel and as a result, you need to cancel your trip. If you lose important travel documents while traveling like your passport, trip insurance can help to cover the cost of getting an emergency passport and the companies can also help direct you on how to go about getting the new passport. In addition, besides just covering costs your trip insurance company can provide emergency assistance services. If you are traveling in a foreign country and your train is suddenly cancelled the company will not only help with the cost portion but can also be your communicator for you if you do not speak the native language or are dealing with cultural barriers.
On average, travel insurance costs you about 5% of the cost of your trip. Lots of people see this as a way to cut costs and save money but as a travel agent I can not stress the importance of travel insurance. I am here to help you but I am limited with my options available in dealing with the different elements of your trip and though I will help in every way possible there are somethings that are completely out of my control. So that travel insurance we ask you to purchase not only gives you piece of mind but also me. I always leave the option to purchase trip insurance up to my clients but every time I ask a client about it, I am crossing my fingers and hoping they purchase it.