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Selecting the right travel insurance policy can be an involved and overwhelming task. It is not always wise to assume that one visit to a price-comparison website and quick scan of the options will square travelers away. The search requires a thorough examination of the options available. Travelers need to be secure in the fact that all needs and bases are covered, especially in the event of illness or injury while away from home. Here are some tips for selecting the right travel insurance.
1. Basic Coverage Is a Must–For most people, medical coverage is an essential part of any travel insurance policy. Travelers want to know they will be OK should a medical emergency arise while away from home. While travelers do not have to spring for top shelf coverage, they should make sure that the policy selected has enough coverage in the event of a major medical crisis. In terms of luggage and personal items, make sure the policy provides a sufficient level of coverage for all bags and personal items. For example, a good policy would provide at least $2,000 to $5,000 to cover loss and/or theft. A potential pitfall to look out for with travel insurance policies is what the limit is for a claim on individual items. Many policies tend to set this limit pretty low. Make sure the travel insurance selected will cover all personal belongings without a hassle or low-balling travelers on their claim reimbursement. This is especially important if travelers are insuring expensive camera equipment or other similar items for their journey.
2. Make Sure All Bases Are Covered–A very important thing to keep in mind is that there is intense competition among insurance providers to ensure that their policies get the clearest visibility and highest SEO rankings online. As a result, while the cheapest deals that appear at the top of the listings might seem appealing, they will not necessarily provide the coverage that travelers need. Another consideration to explore is that many travelers might already be covered without even knowing it. Many financial institutions (e.g. banks, credit unions, etc.) provide basic travel insurance for their customers at no charge. Moreover, some credit card companies also offer coverage to their cardholders. It is always wise to check into these options before travelers start shopping around. It can save travelers a great deal of time, money, and frustration. Furthermore, while travelers are exploring existing coverage, they should also take a look at their renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy as well. In many cases, there is some level of travel insurance that often covers the loss of personal items while away from home. While the existing coverage will likely not cover all bases, it might reduce the amount of coverage travelers will need to purchase in order to cover all their bases while traveling.
3. Check Out the Cancellation Policy–What happens if someone has to cut their journey short or cancel their travel plans altogether? Will the travel insurance policy cover the cancellation or will there be out-of-pocket expenses associated with the altered plans? If there is cancellation coverage, what is covered and to what degree? For example, a good policy would provide at least $5,000 to $10,000, which should cover any travel plans already organized and paid for in advance. Moreover, the selected travel insurance coverage should also include the cost of getting travelers home in the event their journey is cut short. Imagine someone is enjoying a Caribbean vacation or Mexican getaway and they are stricken with Montezuma’s revenge, malaria, or perhaps they are injured and must return home early? What about if an earthquake, hurricane, or some other act of God occurs to alter travel plans? Make sure the selected travel insurance policy has fair and adequate coverage in the event of a cancellation, acts of God, injury, or other mishaps.
4. Make Sure All Destinations and Locales Are Covered–Make sure whatever travel insurance policy is selected provides coverage for all destinations on the travel itinerary. Insurance providers can be creative and selective when constructing these policies. For example, the U.S. and Caribbean are frequently not included on worldwide travel insurance policies. Meanwhile, European travel policies often include coverage for African countries, such as Morocco and Egypt. Therefore, it is important to review the terms of these policies, as well as their conditions and/or restrictions.
5. Consider Travel Needs and Frequency–If someone is a frequent traveler who takes three trips or more a year, it might be wise to invest in an annual travel insurance policy. Not only will this option provide the busy traveler with year-round coverage, but it will almost certainly save them money. As always, it is important to check the terms of all policies–whether it is an annual or single trip policy. For instance, some single trip policies will provide coverage for 45 days while others max out after just 21 days. Moreover, certain travel activities or areas that are considered high risk (e.g. backpacking, skydiving, bungee jumping, cruise ships, embattled nations, etc.) might not be covered or could require additional coverage, including kidnapping and ransom coverage for extended trips or certain travel regions. Therefore, it is important to understand the terms and conditions of the travel insurance policy selected.
While selecting the right travel insurance policy can be an involved and overwhelming task, it is important for travelers to do their research and make sure all their needs are covered. It can be a time-consuming process, which requires a thorough examination of the options available. However, travelers need to be secure in the fact that all their bases are covered in the event of illness, injury, or mishap while away from home.
Written and Edited By Leigh Haugh
TravelZoo–5 Tips for Choosing the Right Travel Insurance
Telegraph–Guide to Travel Insurance: How to Choose the Right Policy
REI–How to Choose Travel Insurance
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