What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
Travel insurance can cover medical expenses, delayed flights, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and even personal property. The myriad of companies, costs, deductibles, and types can get very confusing. They key is to first determine exactly what you need. The following information should help guide you so you can make an informed decision without breaking your wallet.
Determine What You Already Have
Find out what coverage you already have that you didn’t know about. Some medical insurance and homeowners and/or renters policies may reimburse you for medical expenses outside your country of origin. In addition, some credit card companies cover flight delays, trip cancellation, lost or delayed luggage, collision damage waiver for rental cars, accidental death and dismemberment, etc. They may even have plans you can purchase. Many times, it’s cheaper to add these coverages to already existing policies.
Decide What You Need
The kind of trip you’re planning will determine the type of coverages you may need. How long will you be traveling? Who is going on the trip? Is your family going? Sometimes, group or family plans are more economical. Most importantly, what activities will you be participating in? There are specialized plans for sports and athletes. If you intend to go hiking, white water rafting, zip lining, rock climbing, or any activity that holds the possibility of serious injury, it may be a good idea to get comprehensive health coverage that will cover emergency things like air ambulance or emergency medical evacuation. Even if you’re not planning extreme activities, being properly insured is still very important.
You also want to consider the health threats of the country you’re traveling to. If it has few threats, a policy with emergency care and hospitalization is probably good coverage. But if you’re planning on visiting somewhere that has a tropical climate or is known for infectious diseases, you might consider a more comprehensive plan that will cover emergencies, minor medical treatment, medicine, medical emergencies, and hospitalization. In many tropical countries, if you need medical attention, there are clinics that are part of their public health system where treatment is usually very affordable. If, however, you prefer seeing a private doctor or a specialist while traveling, make sure you invest in the type of coverage that will allow this.
When choosing, the easiest way to avoid confusion is to go with large companies that specialize in travel insurance or ones that come highly recommended by someone you trust. Call at least two of these companies and compare prices. Large companies often include 24 hour travel assistance or emergency and medical assistance by phone. They’re also more likely to pay for medical services up front so you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket to be reimbursed later. If you have to front the costs, make sure you understand exactly what proof the claim form requires for reimbursement, such as police reports for theft, or medical receipts for treatment.
Read the Fine Print
This is paramount. Make sure you read the fine print slowly and understand it completely. It’s always within the fine print that you will come to understand any conditions or exclusions regarding your coverage. If you do not understand, do not purchase until a qualified representative explains it.
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If you follow these tips, you should be able to purchase adequate travel insurance that won’t break your wallet so that you can relax and enjoy your trip.
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