Travel insurance is an oft-neglected topic. Not many bother to be informed about it, let it alone buy it. One commissioned travel insurance survey in 2013 conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International reported that only around 51% of travelers say that they understand what travel insurance means and what it covers. Also, in the same survey, it was found that only 21% of travelers buy travel insurance. Overall, only around 37% say that travel insurance is worth it and about 47% believe that travel insurance is not worth paying for.
Travel insurance is important although there will be travels when you don’t have to get it. It all depends on the situation, on the nature of the travels you will be doing. If you are a frequent traveler, it is generally advisable to buy travel insurance that provides coverage for the whole year, wherever you may go. Also, you need to do thorough comparisons of the different insurance options available and for this, you need to be properly aware of various information about travel insurance.
The following are other important things you need to know and understand about buying insurance for travel:
1. Acquaint yourself with travel insurance ins and outs through the USTIA site.
If you are new to travel insurance, you can find a lot of useful details on the official US Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) website. It provides a comprehensive range of information that can help you determine the best travel insurance plan to get. The site also features a multitude of articles on traveling safely.
2. Medevac insurance is advisable for frequent travelers.
Instead of paying for insurance on a per-trip basis, it’s better to get a “medevac” insurance in an annual policy. It costs only a little over $200 per person or approximately $320 per family, per year. Examples of “medevac” insurance are Medjet Assist and TravelGuard.
By Travel Guard (Travel Guard) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
3. You may already have insurance that covers some of your travel needs.
Some of your pre-existing insurance policies may already provide coverage for certain needs like medical treatment. Most US health insurance plans provide for medical treatment coverage anywhere in the US, including provisions and protocol. Some may even provide international coverage. Be sure to check on this before you get a travel insurance to avoid unnecessary, redundant coverage that will only be an added cost burden.
Personal property protection for personal homeowners and renters insurance policies usually provide liability insurance worldwide. Generally, they are not limited to the personal residence or address of the policy holder. Theft can also be covered along with various natural disasters.
Even credit cards come with some form of insurance coverage as long as you use them to buy the tickets or to pay for other items related to the trip. You have to look into these possible insurance coverage before choosing a travel insurance to cut costs.
4. Be familiar with the terms used in travel insurance and be sure to READ all the provisions of the insurance plan.
Of course, if you want to get something that involves a lot of documents, you have to carefully read all provisions and properly understand the terms used. Exert some effort trying to get acquainted with the terms by doing some research online. As mentioned earlier, you can go to the USTIA website for comprehensive information about travel insurance.
The following are four of the the most important terms and phrases you have to remember:
Trip Interruption – This refers to problems encountered during a trip that causes the insurance plan holder to cut the trip short. It could be a medical crisis, natural disasters, major unrest in the travel destination, criminal activity, and other uncontrollable circumstances. For families, if only one member cannot go on with the trip, the policy is usually to provide coverage for all.
Trip Delay – Travel insurance can pay for expenses incurred because of late trips that are not the fault of the insurance holder. Airlines may pay for such delays but they usually limit their coverage to cases for which they are in control, not in instances like disasters or weather disturbances.
Medical Evacuation – A travel insurance should always provide for medical evacuation or the 24/7 coordination of medical care, especially in urgent cases requiring the transport of the patient to a health facility. Medical evacuation coverage should also include payments for translators in foreign lands and assistance for navigation. Comprehensive travel insurance packages can provide medical evacuation but with stated limits. Choose one that can offer more than $25,000 for minimum medical evacuation coverage.
Medical Treatment – In travel insurance terms, medical treatment refers to all forms of medical care to address various medical needs. This includes the payment for a doctor’s visit, surgeries, and the expenses needed incurred while recuperating in a health facility.
By weakestlink (Flickr: Holiday!!) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Be properly oriented about insurance plans to be able to find and choose the best options. You can’t just take any travel insurance package without examining it. Always think of your safety and prepare for the possible health-related emergencies you will encounter as you go on a trip. Travel insurance is particularly useful if you are traveling to conflict areas or if you are going to places known for diseases such as malaria and typhoid fever.