Enjoy Peace of Mind On Your Winter Vacation with Travel Insurance
During the holiday season and throughout the winter, many Northeasterners travel out-of-state to visit family members, or to spend time in a warmer destination. We all look forward to our upcoming vacations, but there is some stress to it as well. What if something comes up before or during the trip? What if there is an unexpected death in the family? What if you get sick while you are on vacation? Travel insurance can alleviate these concerns.
Many people just decide to “chance it”, i.e. take the trip and hope for the best. But if you are a frequent traveler, this may not be a sound strategy. A wise man once said, “time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). In other words, if you continue to travel year after year, you are likely to run into some type of problem sooner or later. The best way to put an end to the stress about something going wrong on your trip is to purchase travel insurance.
What is Travel Insurance: There is a lot of confusion about travel insurance, what it is, what it covers, and how much it costs. Travel insurance is coverage that protects travelers from various losses that may occur before and during a trip. Travel assistance may also be included in the package.
Travel insurance offers several coverages, and there are various package options available depending on your specific needs. Some of the areas that may be covered by your travel insurance policy include:
- Trip cancellation (for various covered reasons) prior to your travel date
- Trip interruption/cancellation while you are traveling (for various covered reasons)
- Luggage delays and lost or stolen luggage
- Travel delays
- Health coverage while traveling
- 24/7 emergency assistance in multiple languages
- Prescription drug refills
- Eyeglass replacement
- Legal assistance while in a foreign country
- Emergency cash
Travel insurance can cover adverse events that may come up, such as a travel operator going out of business before your trip, flight cancellations due to bad weather, an emergency evacuation, a plane crash, getting injured or sick in a foreign country, and repatriation of remains if someone were to die on the trip.
Travel Insurance is NOT a Health Insurance Replacement: There is some confusion about how travel insurance works when a health-related incident arises. It is important to note that some health issues are not covered such as pre-existing conditions and treatments you may be going to receive in a foreign country. So for example, if you were injured while scuba diving in Mexico, that would probably be covered. However, if you came to Mexico to have hip replacement surgery because it costs a fraction of what you would pay in the U.S., which would not be covered.
If you suffered an injury or illness because of foolish or reckless behavior, that might also be excluded from coverage. Going back to the scuba diving accident example, if it is discovered that you were drunk before you went diving and your chemical impairment contributed to the accident, coverage for your accident and subsequent injury may be denied.
How Do I Find the Right Travel Insurance Policy: Travel insurance generally costs around 5% to 10% of the prepaid non-refundable costs of the trip. The price will be higher for seniors, those who are going on longer trips, and those who opt for more comprehensive policies. If you purchase the insurance through the travel agency or travel website where you book your trip, there are usually only a couple different policy options, and your choices may be limited.
The best way to find the right travel insurance policy is to shop around. Looking at countless travel insurance companies on your own can be time-consuming, however. A smart way to save time in this process is to speak with an independent insurance agent. A local independent agent can consult with you to fully understand what you need, then shop freely among several of the top travel insurers in your state. This helps ensure that you find the right policy for your needs at the most affordable price.