Every traveler needs a good travel insurance policy. So what does travel insurance cover? Find out here, plus some tips on choosing the best policy.
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re already planning your vacation.
So cheers, mate. We’re excited for you.
Planning your vacation is intoxicatingly fun, but picking the right travel insurance policy? Not so much. This is where we come in.
We’ve put together a quick guide to help you choose the best policy that fits your travel plans.
If you’ve ever wondered: “what does travel insurance cover?”, “what policy is best for me?”, or even “what happens if things go wrong?”, then this article was written for you.
What Should Your Policy Cover?
First things first, what do travel insurance policies normally cover? And what should they cover?
These questions sound very similar, but we assure you that they’re very different. Different policies cover different things, from the occasional lost luggage bag to emergency life flights. What your policy should cover completely depends on you and your travel plans.
For example, if you’re planning on taking a cross-country road trip, you won’t need coverage for missed flights. You might, however, want to look into a policy that covers flat tires or car breakdowns.
Here are a few breakdowns (pun intended) of basic coverages most plans offer:
Emergency Medical Care
One in three Americans don’t actually know if their health insurance company will cover their medical costs abroad.
What if you get hurt rock climbing in the Himalayas? Will your insurance cover your life flight out of the bottom of the mountains? Or will you be stuck with a $50,000 bill?
Odds are, your insurance company will cover little to none of your medical expenses abroad. And even if you are covered, it’s likely that you’ll have to pay everything out of pocket and then submit for reimbursement once you return home.
If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t have an extra $50,000 lying around. Travel insurance covers any abroad medical expenses you may incur, so you don’t have to come up with the cash out of pocket.
Lost Luggage and Missed or Delayed Flights
Imagine if you’re just getting off a red-eye flight overseas. Your kids are hungry and cranky. You get to the luggage pickup area, but, uh-oh! Where are your bags?
Little Johnny is putting gum into the baby’s hair and your 13-year-old girl is talking to a boy a few yards away.
Now let’s say instead of lost luggage, you’re dealing with the case of a delayed connecting flight. Where will you sleep?
These are the last things you want to deal with right now.
If you have travel insurance, you won’t have to.
If you opt-in for these coverages, you’ll be able to skip the headache and head straight to the hotel. The insurance company will replace or reimburse you in the case of lost luggage.
Or, in the event of a luggage delay, they’ll provide you with enough money to purchase the essentials until it arrives. In other words: diapers and shower supplies.
Non-Refundable Cancellation Fees
Many travelers don’t realize just how much of their vacation is non-refundable.
Plane tickets, hotel reservations, rental car reservations. Believe it or not, most of these types of reservations are non-refundable.
You’d think that the hotel would understand if your kids got sick and you can’t go on your trip anymore. It’s out of your hands, right? Sorry, Charlie — your problems aren’t their concern.
Fortunately, that’s what you pay travel insurance companies for. Of course, they won’t cover the lost reservations if you felt like changing your mind. Make sure you know what reasons for cancellation your insurance will cover.
Tips on Choosing the Best Policy
It can be tough to figure out which policy best suits your travel plans. We sympathize and want to help you make this process as quick and painless as possible.
Here are a few tips to speed things along:
Your Travel Plans Should Determine Your Policy
As mentioned earlier, your travel plans should determine which policy you choose. If you’re not taking a flight, don’t pay for luggage delay or missed flight coverage.
On the flip side, if you’re flying to Spain, don’t pay for flat tire coverage. You may, however, want to consider rental car insurance. Sure, you can get actual rental car insurance through the rental company, but what we’re talking about is covering yourself if the rental reservation falls through and the company is sold out.
Mistakes happen, whether they’re on your end or the failing third party, and you want to be prepared for them.
Like we said, mistakes happen. Here are a few insurance picking mistakes you should avoid:
- Forgetting to read the fine print
- Forgetting to check how high the deductible is
- Opting-in for unnecessary coverages
- Neglect to mention previous illnesses or injuries when singing up
- Doing activities not covered by your policy
In the case of insurance, ignorance is definitely not bliss. Do your research before picking a plan, ask all the questions, and double check yourself.
What If the Worst Should Happen?
As grim as this section is, we feel that it’s important to brief you on it.
If you’re one of the many adrenaline junkies out there, you probably don’t worry yourself with “what ifs,” but we guarantee that your loved ones have thought about it. It’s important for you and your loved ones to know what will happen in the event that your travel plans end tragically.
If you’re planning a fairly risky adventure, let’s say skydiving or freestyle rock climbing, there are a few things you’ll want to learn about.
These might include:
- Living will
- Last will and testament
- Power of attorney
- Wrongful death case requirements
Again, we hate to put a damper on your travel plans, but you should continue to learn more about what to do in the event of a tragedy. No one plans for tragedy to happen, but you can be prepared for it.
So, What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
What does travel insurance cover? In short, travel insurance covers whatever you need it to cover.
Does every trip need travel insurance? Not at all.
Should you opt-in for travel insurance? Definitely.
Looking for more travel tips or destination inspiration? Browse our travel category.