Ten Reasons You Should Consider Travel Insurance
By: Daniel Durazo
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While working at Access America, a global leader in travel insurance, I’m often asked why people should buy travel insurance. Here are ten great reasons to buy travel insurance. To find out more about travel insurance, visit the U.S. Travel Insurance Association’s (UStiA) website at ustia.org. For more information about Access America, visit our website at AccessAmerica.com or talk to your travel agent.
Here are ten situations where travel insurance can prove invaluable.
You’ve paid nonrefundable deposits or bought nonrefundable tickets
For some trips, you’ll need to pay deposits significantly in advance of your travel dates, and in most cases, those deposits will be nonrefundable. Travel insurance can help you recover your deposits if you can’t take your trip for reasons covered in your insurance policy. Similarly, many trips aren’t refundable, meaning that if you don’t have insurance, you’ll be forced to shoulder the cost of a canceled trip in many cases. With the right travel insurance policy, you can recover most or all of those nonrefundable trip costs if you need to cancel for a covered reason.
Health insurance or Medicare may not cover you abroad
A recent survey commissioned by the UStiA showed that typical domestic medical plans limit international coverage to emergency-related medical services. If you or a traveling companion gets sick or injured, you may not be covered. And if you are covered, you may be subject to high deductibles and co-pays because you are outside the network. It’s important to know the limitations of your health insurance coverage so you know what level of coverage you may need from travel insurance. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies cover medical services and hospitalization abroad up to a set limit.
You or your companion needs emergency medical evacuation
While it may be a worst-case scenario, the moment you find yourself in need of emergency evacuation isn’t the time to figure out how you’ll pay for it and where you’ll go. A travel insurance plan that includes coverage for medical evacuation can make sure you get the care you need, and make sure that you don’t have to put thousands of dollars on a credit card just to get treatment. Access America, through its parent company Mondial Assistance, has evaluated hundreds of medical facilities throughout the world, and ensures that customers with medical evacuation coverage are transported to an appropriate facility.
You lost your baggage
We’ve all felt the sinking feeling of standing at the baggage claim, watching everyone else walk away with their luggage while you stand and stare. Losing your baggage is never good, but travel insurance can cover the replacement of necessary items (up to the limits stated in your policy) for luggage that is delayed past a certain amount of time, and will reimburse replacement costs for lost items not covered by the airlines, homeowners insurance or other means.
Your flight was canceled because of bad weather
If your flight is canceled because of the weather, airlines have no legal obligation to provide you with accommodations. In the travel insurance business, we call this trip delay (you’ll still eventually go, you just need to wait for the weather to cooperate). If your travel insurance policy includes trip delay coverage, you’ll be reimbursed for expenses like hotel rooms and meals up to the limit stated in your policy. Access America’s travel assistance department is also available 24/7/365 to help you make arrangements.
You, a traveling companion or family member gets sick or injured before you leave
In my family, someone always gets sick on vacation, but usually not to the extent that we can’t mostly carry on with our plans. But what if someone in your family, or in your traveling party, gets injured or sick before you leave? Without travel insurance, you may be left holding the bag. The right travel insurance policy will reimburse you for the unused, nonrefundable portion of your trip.
You have a complicated itinerary involving multiples legs and carriers
I call it the “Axiom of Obviousness”: when a lot of things can go wrong, something probably will. A delay of a few minutes for the first leg of your trip won’t throw much of a wrench in your plans, but what if it’s delayed a whole day? What if you miss some, or all, of your trip? Travel insurance can step in and reimburse unused, nonrefundable trip costs. In some cases, your travel insurance can help make sure you get to continue your trip. For instance, if you missed boarding your cruise because of a delayed flight, your policy may cover the cost of sending you to meet the ship at the next port of call.
You lost your passport
If your passport, or any important document, gets lost or stolen, you could find yourself stranded in a foreign land with little idea of how to get a replacement. At Access America, our 24-hour help line is staffed around the clock with assistance specialists who speak more than 40 languages, and can help you navigate the process of getting replacement documents and, in some cases, even expedite the process.
You lost your job
If you have a big trip planned and you lose your job, your nonrefundable costs are as good as gone. But if you purchased travel insurance that included coverage for job loss (and if you meet the policy’s requirements, such as working for the same company for a certain amount of time), you could be reimbursed for those costs.
You want peace of mind
Some of us just can’t enjoy ourselves if we feel like we’re taking a risk. Vacations should be fun, and travel insurance can give you the peace of mind you need to actually enjoy yourself.
Travel insurance can cover these situations and many more. For more information, please visit us at AccessAmerica.com.