Many people ignore the importance of travel insurance. After all, once you’ve paid all the money for your vacation, who wants to spend MORE on something you may not ever use?
Well, the answer is simple: you’ve paid a lot of money for your vacation, and in most cases, it’s non-refundable. It only makes sense to protect your investment, and compared to what you pay for your vacation, the cost of insurance is minimal…and oftentimes, priceless!
Let’s take a look at 4 main ways that Travel Insurance can protect you:
1. Trip Cancellation. Suppose you paid thousands for your dream cruise, and then one week before the trip, you become too ill to travel, or your doctor orders important surgery? What if your destination has just faced a terrorist act or a natural disaster, and the trip is no longer feasible? What if your tour company goes out of business? What if a close family member dies just before you’re scheduled to leave, and you need to attend to family matters instead of take a vacation? As long as you cancel for a covered reason (be sure to read your policy carefully – you probably just can’t cancel because of a bad hair day!), the insurance will reimburse you for all non-refundable expenses.
2. Trip Delay. This coverage applies when your trip is delayed by strikes, natural disasters, or even stolen passports. What if you get into a car accident on the way to the airport? What if your airline goes on strike and stops flying temporarily? Suppose a major snowstorm causes your airport to close, and your flight is postponed to the next day. Did you know that your insurance could reimburse you for reasonable overnight accommodations and other traveling expenses until you are able to resume your trip?
3. Medical and Dental Expenses. If you become sick or injured while traveling, your normal health insurance will generally not cover you if you are traveling outside the United States. Some people are also surprised to learn that once you set foot on a cruise ship you are on foreign soil, as most cruise ships are generally registered to other countries. Travel insurance is added peace of mind while you are away, and you can be confident knowing that you’re covered if you get sick or hurt. And most importantly, if something major happens and you need emergency evacuation to a suitable medical facility, the insurance will cover that hefty bill as well.
4. Baggage and Personal Effects. Generally, if your baggage is lost, damaged, or stolen while traveling, insurance will cover you up to a certain amount (again, be sure to check your policy). If your bags are lost or delayed for a certain amount of time, your insurance provider may also reimburse you for the purchase of essential items until your bags catch up with you.
Also be sure to check your policy’s coverage of Pre-Existing conditions. Some policies will not cover any cancellations or delays due to a condition you already have (for example: if you have a heart condition, and then have a heart attack before your trip, you may not be covered). Some policies will cover any pre-existing conditions as long as you purchase the policy within a certain range of your deposit date. The policy I prefer allows you to purchase insurance at the time of final payment, and all pre-existing conditions will be covered.
Insurance policies differ, so be sure to request a copy of the policy you’re considering, and review it carefully. Obviously, there are a lot of “what ifs” to think about. But I can guarantee you that if you don’t have insurance and run into one of these issues while traveling (and they are all surprisingly common), you will be wishing that you had just spent a few extra dollars for the insurance!
So think twice before declining Travel Insurance on your next vacation; it could turn out to be money well spent. Feel free to contact Sunshine Travel with any questions about travel insurance, and we can work together to make sure that you choose a policy that best suits your travel needs.