Travel insurance is an important purchase and should be considered carefully. With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health scare creating worldwide concern, some travelers are choosing to cancel trips. Many are inquiring as to what type of reimbursement they’ll receive — if any. Knowing specifics of vacation cancellation and medical coverage is beneficial when planning your next getaway.
Here Are Guidelines to Help Choose the Correct Option
Distinguish if you’re purchasing travel protection or travel insurance. Select vacation booking sites, such as Orbitz and Travelocity, offer inexpensive protection waivers. These usually allow you to change plans for any reason without charging a fee. Should you need to cancel your vacation, they may not refund all the money. Protection may cover a portion of the trip, and not fully reimburse a cancellation. Instead, they’ll issue a credit for future travel. Trip protection is usually offered by tour operators and cruise lines, and can be full of exclusions.
Travel insurance is underwritten by insurance companies and regulated by state agencies.
Reputable insurance providers are members of the US Travel Insurance Association and rated by AM Best. When purchasing, choose a well-known name. World Nomads, InsureMyTrip, or Travel Insurance Center are a few. These tailor packages to suit your needs. Policies cover medical care if you need to see a doctor abroad, as well as personal loss, damages, or stolen luggage. While this coverage cost more, it’s worth the extra money. Especially for expensive international trips. Providers recommend purchasing insurance when making your first trip payment, such as airfare or a cruise. This will maximize your coverage if you have to cancel.
Credit cards are another travel insurance option.
Credit cards offer travel reimbursement when flights, trains, and hotels, are charged onto the card. Chase Sapphire Reserve is touted as one of the best. Their trip cancellation and interruption covers up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses. Also, $2,500 of medical expenses on a trip more than 100 miles from home that has been arranged by a travel agency. Even necessary medical evacuation and transportation on a trip of five to 60 days is covered up to $100,000. Rental car coverage, trip delay and more are included. Chase Sapphire Reserve has an annual card fee of $550.
American Express Platinum card’s travel benefits are comparable. Lost/damaged baggage compensation is up to $2,000 for checked suitcases. Trip cancellation is the same as Chase Sapphire Reserve. But, only on round trip flights. Medical evacuation has no cap on trips less than 30 days. It excludes pre-existing conditions. This card also has a $550 annual fee.
As mentioned above, travel insurance covers more than cancellations.
Losing documents when abroad can make it extremely difficult to return home. A good policy will assist in replacement tickets. Lost medicine can be replaced, and injuries covered. Pickpocketing and theft are rampant in Europe. I was victim when kids in Paris stole my cell phone off a café table while I was having coffee. This was the catalyst to assure my policies now include electrical items.
Most travel insurance providers offer different types of protection. For example, comprehensive travel insurance for a $5,000 two-week Aruba vacation will cost a couple in their 50’s approximately $200. This includes trip cancellation or interruption. Also, baggage protection, $250,000 emergency medical evacuation, $50,000 emergency medical, and more. Travel medical insurance doesn’t include trip cancellation or interruption. For the same Aruba vacation the cost is about $80.
Don’t rely on your existing domestic health insurance policy to cover you abroad.
Peace of mind is worth the nominal price of travel insurance. Particularly when booking a trip costing thousands of dollars. As with any policies, read them carefully for hidden caveats.