A reader emailed me recently with the following question: "I’m taking my first overseas vacation in a couple of weeks. Should I purchase travel insurance?" It's a question I hear often from travelers, so I thought it would be helpful to share the conversation.
To get an answer from someone who knows travel insurance well, I reached out to John W. Cook an industry expert at QuoteWright.com, a travel insurance comparison website.
Here's what he recommends:
Vacations always seem better when there’s a ‘deal’ involved; four nights for the price of three, buy one ticket and a companion flies free, etc. These days especially, a little time, effort, and careful research can earn you a lot more trip for a little less money. But without travel insurance, even a bargain vacation can quickly go bust.
The best way to ‘save’ money with travel insurance is to consider what it is you most want to protect against and purchase the policy that best meets your needs. Start by shopping around. Everyone’s travel needs are different, but InsureMyTrip.com offers all the leading U.S. travel insurance companies on one site so you can do side-by-side comparisons of policies and prices quickly and easily. Policy prices and coverage vary greatly and it’s important to know that you don’t always have to pay more to get more.
Protect Your Trip Investment:
If you want to protect your trip investment then a Trip Cancellation Package Policy is your best choice. Policy premiums range from 4 to 8 percent of your total trip cost, which is a reflection of the breadth of coverage and plan choices available. This wide variety enables you to select the plan that best fits your budget and travel needs. “Travel insurance is your best defense against many of the most common risks affecting travel today,” advises Jim Grace, President and CEO of InsureMyTrip.com. Factors that determine the cost of travel insurance include the type of insurance coverage you choose, the cost of your trip, your age, the number of travelers in your party, and the length of your trip.
To learn more about the protection plans that best suit your travel needs, call (800) 487-4722 or visit www.insuremytrip.com today.
Is there any good news about the economy? Every time you turn around you hear about another segment of the economy that has been affected. Will the current economic problems effect your travel arrangements? It might.
Most travel suppliers are small businesses; the very ones who are being squeezed by the credit crunch. This increases your risk of a travel supplier default. How can you minimize your financial risk? Here are several steps that you can take:
1. Always use a credit card for the payment of your ticket or trip. In the event of a default you might be able to dispute your charge and have the credit card company remove it from your billing. This is fine if it happens prior to your trip but doesn’t help much if you are traveling at the time of the default. If that happens, other airlines might offer you an alternative flight on a standby basis but it can still result in delays and additional expenses that would be covered by many travel insurance policies.
2. Buy travel insurance from an independent source rather than from the travel provider. Travel Insurance policies offered by tour operators, cruise lines, or airlines either don’t cover their own financial default or they exclude the financial default of the company from whom you purchase your coverage.
3. Check the insurance plan to see if they have a list of airlines or travel companies that they either will or will not cover. Two companies, Access America and Elvia, provide a list of companies they will cover while two other companies, AIG Travel Guard and Travelex, provide a list of companies they will not cover.
4. Buy travel insurance very soon after they make a deposit. Most plans that offer default protection if you purchase your travel insurance within 10 to 21 days of your initial deposit. The time period varies with each company and plan so our advice is to do it within 10 days to ensure that you have the maximum flexibility.
5. Review the coverage carefully. Some plans will have a “waiting period” after the coverage is purchased before the default coverage goes into effect. In some cases this is 14 days after you buy the insurance. Another reason to buy coverage early.
6. Buy your trip or airline ticket through a travel agent. Some insurance plans exclude coverage if you have purchase your trip directly with the travel company. Most travel insurance plans will not, however, to have the maximum flexibility you should purchase your trip through a travel agent, whether locally or online, rather than buying direct.
You can never eliminate all risks but you can take prudent measures to minimize them before you travel.
Whether you’re trading a villa in Tuscany for a beach house on Cape Cod, or an African safari for the wilds of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, one fact still holds true: “Travel insurance is the best way to protect all of your travels and trip investments during this challenging time,” says Jim Grace, President and CEO of InsureMyTrip.com, a leading online travel insurance comparison site. “While travel insurance can’t prevent things from going wrong, it can help ease your travel woes and get your journey back on track.”
The key is to plan ahead. Travel insurance, like all insurance, is predicated on the occurrence of unforeseen events. You need to purchase travel insurance before your trip for maximum coverage and peace of mind protection against the unexpected. “It only takes one bad travel experience for a person to understand that trip insurance is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” explains Grace. “Travel insurance is your best defense against many of the most common risks affecting travel today.”
Trip Cost Protection: It happens all the time. Just before your family vacation, one of the kids gets sick, forcing you to cancel the fun-filled get-away. Travel insurance protects your financial investment so you don’t pay for a trip you cannot take.
Travel Delays/Missed Connections: A delayed flight can strand a person for hours or even cause them to miss a connecting flight to a vacation cruise. These events occur often and can wreak havoc on your itinerary not to mention your wallet for hotel accommodations, meals, and transportation caused by weather-related delays and cancellations.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions: If you, a traveling companion, family member, or business partner have a pre-existing medical condition (injury, disease or illness), trip insurance is a must. But plan ahead as the majority of travel insurance policies require that you purchase your policy within 7 to 21 days of your initial trip deposit to be eligible for pre-existing medical conditions coverage.
Hurricanes & Severe Weather: Mother Nature can be a powerful force to reckon with especially if you are traveling to earthquake, hurricane, or flood prone areas. Travel insurance provides coverage for weather-related trip cancellations, delays and interruptions as well as vacation rentals, resorts, and hotels made uninhabitable by weather.
Supplier Default: Most of the major U.S. travel insurers provide financial default/bankruptcy protection if you purchase your travel insurance plan within 7 to 21 days (varies by company and plan) of your initial trip deposit. Although some travel insurers will provide coverage for suppliers that have declared bankruptcy but continue to operate, once a company ceases operations it becomes a foreseen event and insurance can no longer be purchased.
Tour Operator Cancels: Travel insurance does not provide coverage if a tour operator cancels due to a lack of participants. However, some insurance companies do offer a Cancel For Any Reason policy that allows you to cancel your trip for any reason you choose, up to two days prior to your departure.
Unemployment: Most travel insurance policies will cover an unexpected loss of employment. Plans vary by company but all specify coverage for lay-off of a full-time employee.
InsureMyTrip.com allows consumers to review, rate, compare, analyze and purchase travel insurance from all the leading U.S. travel insurance companies in a completely secure environment. To learn more about the protection plans that best suit your vacation travel needs, visit http://www.insuremytrip.com/ on-line or call (800) 487-4722 to speak with a licensed travel insurance professional.
Established in 1995, InsureMyTrip.com is the leading, consumer-oriented online travel insurance aggregator worldwide. Featuring insurance comparisons from the top industry providers, InsureMyTrip.com is a unique, one-stop resource designed to meet consumers’ comprehensive travel insurance needs all in a secure environment. InsureMyTrip.com also specializes in providing integrated technology solutions for the travel insurance industry, with over 2,000 private-labeled and co-branded travel-related websites around the globe. InsureMyTrip.com is headquartered in Warwick, RI withadditional offices and data centers in Connecticut and Oregon.
MedjetAssist, the nation’s premier emergency medical evacuation program, has launched a new, expanded version of its PLUS program, offering members added peace of mind while traveling.
In addition to the standard MedjetAssist guarantee to repatriate members who are hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, the new PLUS program offers:
- MedFlash, which allows a member to store medical and personal information online and on a handy flash device that will work on any PC with a USB port, for immediate access in any emergency situation. Think of it as the next generation of emergency medical bracelets and IDs.
- Free international cell phone rental, equipping members traveling internationally with a phone that works in 170 countries and includes voicemail, text messaging and free incoming calls. All daily rental charges are waived. Member just pays airtime and shipping.
- Satellite phone rental, which allows members access to a satellite phone at discounted rates and free incoming calls, while traveling to areas not serviced by cellular providers.
- Up-to-the-minute trip intelligence, including news updates in more than 260 cities and 180 countries.
- Cash advance of up to $50,000 for medical emergencies in advance of treatment, should it be necessary.
- Plus Member Discounts — a variety of rewards and member-only privileges, from GPS discounts to travel products.
“The PLUS program takes the freedom to travel, stay healthy and remain in control of one’s own medical care to a whole new level,” says Roy Berger, President and CEO of MedjetAssist, “and that’s what MedjetAssist is all about.”
For more information, visit www.medjet.com.
MedjetAssist is the premier emergency medical evacuation membership program for travelers. If a member is hospitalized more than 150 miles from home-virtually anywhere in the world-MedjetAssist reviews his or her condition both with the attending medical staff and the member’s own physicians, and provides a medically equipped and staffed aircraft to fly the member free of charge to the hospital of his choice. MedjetAssist has its corporate headquarters in Birmingham, AL, and in 2008, was named the exclusive provider of worldwide air ambulance and medical repatriation services for AARP.
Source: Geoffrey Weill Associates