The thought of something going wrong while on vacation isn’t one we travelers like to consider. In fact, most travelers opt to keep costs low and forgo insurance altogether. However, the reality is that there are hundreds of circumstances that could cause you to cancel your trip or return home early.
Hurricane Sandy is a recent example. East coast travel came to a standstill and many airports were either closed or affected, resulting in a domino effect that rippled across the globe. More than 16,000 flights were canceled which left thousands of travelers stranded.
So, should you purchase travel insurance? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages for buying travel insurance.
Trip Cancellations & Interruptions:
Trip Cancellation and Interruption pays for forfeited, non-refundable, unused payments or deposits if due to:
- Unforeseen sickness, injury, or death of the Insured; a Traveling Companion, Immediate Family Member, or Business Partner. (Certain exclusions apply)
- Inclement weather conditions causing delay or cancellation of travel.
- The Insured’s principal residence being made uninhabitable by fire, flood, or similar natural disaster, vandalism or burglary.
- Being involved in or delayed due to an automobile accident en route to departure.
- A terrorist incident in a City listed on your itinerary within 30 days of the Insured’s scheduled arrival. “City” means an incorporated municipality having defined borders and does not include the high seas, uninhabited areas, or airspace;
- Strike, resulting in the complete cessation of travel services at the point of departure and/or destination.
Reimburses up to $100 a day for reasonable additional expenses if delayed for 12 hours or more due to:
- Carrier delay such as mechanical difficulties.
- Lost passport, money, or travel documents.
- Natural disaster
- Injury or sickness of the Insured or Traveling Companion.
The Insurer will reimburse this benefit up to the Maximum Limit shown on the Schedule of Benefits if Inclement Weather or Carrier causes cancellation or a delay of all regularly scheduled airline flights for three to less than 12 hours to your point of departure. You can collect up to $250 additional transportation costs to join the Trip (must be the same class of original tickets purchased). Reasonable accommodations and meals (up to $150 per day), and/or the non-refundable, unused portion of the prepaid expenses as long as the expense is supported by a proof of purchase and is not reimbursable by another source. Common Carrier must certify the delay of the regularly scheduled airline flight.
Baggage & Personal Effects:
- Reimburses for loss, theft, damage, and mysterious disappearance of baggage and personal effects.
- Primary coverage — no need to present a claim to another carrier such as Homeowner’s.
- Covers loss due to unauthorized use of credit cards if the Insured has complied with credit card conditions.
- Pays for administrative fees to reissue lost or stolen tickets.
- Reimburses for the purchase of essential items if baggage is delayed or misdirected for more than 24 hours.
- No daily limits or deductibles.
- Pays for physician, hospital, ambulance services, and prosthetic devices. Initial treatment must be received during trip. We will pay for covered expenses for up to one year from the date of injury/sickness.
- Pays for emergency dental expenses during the trip.
Emergency Medical Transportation:
- Evacuation to nearest adequate medical facility.
- Up to $5,000 for medical escort.
- Transportation of remains upon death.
In addition to all the advantages listed above, purchasing travel insurance also includes additional services like:
- Advancement of funds to cover on-sight medical expenses.
- Telephone interpretation services in major languages.
- Replacement of lost passport and other incidentals as may be required.
- Assistance to locate local physicians, dentist, or medical facilities.
- Professionals will monitor the Insured’s condition and contact their personal physician.
- Evacuation to a hospital, treatment facility, or back home.
- 24-hour emergency hotline.
So, what isn’t covered under travel insurance?
- Carrier-caused delays such as mechanical difficulties (covered under Travel Delay).
- Travel arrangements canceled by the tour operator, airline, or cruise line.
- Change in plans (“I just don’t want to go”)
- Normal pregnancy or childbirth.
- Financial circumstances (“I can’t afford to go.”).
- Business or contractual obligations (“My boss changed my vacation”)
- Any government regulation or prohibition, war, civil disorder.
Purchasing travel insurance can be a wise decision especially taking into account the types of travel plans you have. For example, if you’re flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco during the summer, you’re less likely to use the insurance. However, if you’re traveling internationally then you should definitely consider it. Adding insurance can cost as little as $16 per person, and can go a long way to ensure piece of mind when you’re already spending lot of money on your trip. Being mindful of seasonal weather changes is another smart way to predict whether or not you should buy travel insurance. If you’re traveling to Florida during hurricane season, you should highly consider insurance since the likeliness of bad weather increases.
It’s especially important to purchase travel insurance for your next trip if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. Insurance plans don’t cover pre-existing medical conditions unless you purchase at the same time you purchase your travel. Otherwise, you can still add insurance to your trip up to 24 hours prior to your trip departure date.
Often the decision of whether to purchase travel insurance depends on the type of person you are. Are you someone who worries about what could go wrong? Are you someone who’s optimistic? Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle… either way we hope this helps answer your questions about travel insurance and whether you should add it to your trip.
Have a question for CheapAir? Email us at Ask@CheapAir.com.