SEATTLE, Wash. - This is the time of year the rainy, gray days really take hold and somewhere – anywhere - sounds better than being here. If you’re eagerly waiting for winter to be over chances are vacation planning is well underway. You take the time to plan and prepare for that perfect trip – why wouldn’t you ‘insure’ your travel time and money?
What is Travel Insurance?
Just as you purchase insurance to protect your home or your car in the event something happens, travel insurance protects you and your family during your trip. There are a number of things that can happen from the time you book to the time you return home – the last thing you want to worry about is losing money paid or paying more for a trip that ends up getting cut short.
What does Travel Insurance Cover?
Insurance can be confusing – and just like auto and home insurance – where there are a number of factors that play into protections and premiums - travel insurance is no different. At the most basic level, travel insurance is designed to help cover costs associated with trip cancellations, medical expenses, evacuations, and loss or delays during your trip.
“This purchase is non-refundable” – how many times have you seen these words right when you’re about to purchase airfare or pay for a cruise? It makes you stop and think for a second, what if something happens and we can’t go on the trip? What happens to that money? Travel insurance can help offset these kinds of vacation concerns. Trip cancellation coverage reimburses you for non-refundable or pre-paid expenses before you’re scheduled to leave on your trip. Some of the reasons for trip cancellation include, sickness, injury, death, laid off or need to work, and/or jury duty. Each travel insurance policy varies so it’s important to check what is and is not covered for trip cancellation.
Trip Interruption coverage kicks in when you are on your trip and something happens forcing you to end your trip early. With trip interruption coverage money is reimbursed for the lost portion of your trip and any expenses incurred to change flights/transportation.
Travel Insurance and Medical Emergencies
Many times people think if they have medical insurance it will cover them while they travel. That may be true within the United States but that’s not always the case when traveling abroad.
Travel insurance often includes medical expense coverage. This coverage provides protection in the event something happens while abroad and you need medical assistance. Medical evacuation expenses can cost thousands of dollars leaving families scrambling to pay double, triple, even quadruple without protection in place.
While trip cancellation, trip interruption, and medical emergency coverages are the big ones – travel insurance can also help offset extra expenses caused from lost baggage, baggage delays, and travel delays.
The Cost to Insure Travel
Travel insurance doesn’t need to cost a lot. According to the Insurance Information Institute, a standard travel policy will run between 5 to 7 percent of the total cost of the trip and often times, children 17-years-old and younger are included on their parent’s policy at no additional cost.
Where to Go
Travel insurance varies by state, where you plan to travel, and how much you pay. Not every insurance carrier or agency offers travel insurance and while there are a number of online resources available to purchase travel insurance – keep in mind – all are not equal. It’s important to read the fine print so you understand what is covered. Different companies/policies include different coverages, especially pertaining to pre-existing medical conditions and talking with an agent who has experience with travel insurance outside of a tour operator or cruise line is a good idea.