The demand for travel insurance has more than doubled since 9/11. But a comprehensive travel insurance policy can add another four to six percent to the cost of your trip, so it pays to do your homework before you buy.
You can purchase many kinds of travel insurance, including:
- Trip interruption and cancellation insurance, which covers your expenses if you cannot go on or finish your planned trip due to illness or unexpected circumstances
- Flight and cruise coverage
- Rental car damage
- Emergency medical costs in a foreign country
Check your existing policies first because it is possible that some of the events you want to insure against are already covered by existing insurance. For example:
- Your auto insurance may cover you and your family members driving rental cars for short periods of time
- Your life insurance probably covers death in an airline crash or cruise boat accident
- Your health insurance may cover at least a portion of the costs of injuries in foreign countries
- Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance probably covers the cost of lost luggage and personal belongings
In comparing travel insurance policies, you’ll want to ask if a particular policy covers:
- An airline declaring bankruptcy
- “Supplier default” if the company you book a tour with goes out of business
- Alternative travel costs, if you need to book different flights or other transportation home due to illness or catastrophe
- Emergency evacuation costs, if you are planning to visit remote areas
- Tropical weather conditions such as hurricanes, floods and typhoons (usually excluded by insurance companies as “acts of God”)
- Fires and earthquakes
- Car accidents
- Just you, or other family members or planned traveling companions
- Reimbursement of prepaid trip expenses, such as nonrefundable deposits on cruises or tours
And remember, do not expect your travel insurance policy to cover terrorist attacks (unless you want to pay enormous coverage costs), contagious disease outbreaks, chronic illnesses or reoccurrences of old injuries, or injuries from “extreme” sports, such as sky-diving or bungee-jumping. It is also important to find out whether the plan has deductibles, or only covers medical expenses for certain preferred provider physicians and hospitals. It is a delicate balance to weigh the cost of protection against the likelihood that a specific problem will strike during your particular trip. Buying appropriate travel insurance before your holiday starts will hopefully make your vacation less stressful and more enjoyable.
If you are a victim of travel insurance fraud, contact Consumer Fraud Online to discuss your options.