Ask CheapAir: Should I Purchase Travel Insurance?

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.

Should I Purchase Travel Insurance?

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.

Advantages:

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.

Travel delays:

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.

Missed Connections:

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.

Medical Expense

- 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.

Disadvantages:

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.

Summary

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.

18 Comments

  1. Is it to late to get this ticket insurance?

    • Hi Ida,

      You can add travel insurance to your trip up to 24 hours prior to your trip departure date. To add insurance to your trip, you can either view your trip by using the My Trips link and entering your booking number and last name, or you can call us at 1-800-243-2724 to speak with a travel advisor who can assist you in adding travel insurance to your trip.

  2. I am a senior 80 years old. I have being trying to purchase a ticket to fly from BDL conn. to FLL Fla., twice
    tonight I have display all my info. of credit card all my codes and have not being able to purchase my ticket. I no longer know what I have to do . The fly is for Dec. 1st and return Dec 04. Please HELP ME> I am afried of
    all the Credit Card INFO provided. but I need to buy my ticket. Thank you. Alfredo Kavanagh/apugkav@gmail.com

    • Hi Alfredo,

      Since you’re having trouble with our website, we recommend to call us at 1-800-243-2724 to speak with one of our travel advisors who can assist you with your reservation.

      -The CheapAir Team

  3. What would be the air fare from Norfolk to San Diego. I don’t see it listed. Thank You. SP

    • Hi Shirleyann,

      We’d be happy to help you with your trip. What are the dates you are looking to travel on? How many passengers?

      -The CheapAir Team

  4. How do i add the travel insurance when i purchase my tickets?

    • Hi Brandy,

      To add travel insurance to your trip, you must first make your flight purchase. Afterwards, you will be able to view your itinerary under the “My Trips” section where you can add travel insurance.

      Let us know if you need any help.

      -The CheapAir Team

  5. How far in advance should I purchase tickets RT Chicago to Hawaii? What is a good price?

    • Hi Sue,

      That depends on a lot of factors, but in general 7 weeks for domestic flights is the optimum time to buy. Do you have any dates in mind? I’d be happy to look into it more. Airfares from Chicago to Hawaii start around $675 per person for the cheapest flights. The more specific you are with dates, flight times, etc… the more expensive the flight will cost. Ultimately, being flexible with your dates is the best way to ensure getting the cheapest airfares.

  6. If I purchased a ticket and now I find out I need to leave a day earlier, is there anyway to make the change? I did not get travel insurance.

    • Hi Joni,

      What is your 10 digit booking number? I’d be happy to check your reservation’s change policy rules.

  7. We have booked a vacation in Ireland end of August 2014. We just checked flights and are thinking of booking now, with flight insurance, since the price looks pretty good and you have that policy where if the rate goes down we get money back. What do you think? Book now or take a chance on a better rate in the spring? My gut feeling is to book now.

    • Hi Melinda,

      Without knowing where you are departing from its hard to check prices for you and compare. For travel in August 2014, you still have 10 months so there’s plenty of time to continue to monitor the fares. I suspect that fares will fluctuate up and down from now till about April/May. It’s up to you if you want to purchase now or continue to monitor the flights, but either way we’re here to assist you if you have any questions or need assistance with finding flights.

    • We are leaving out of Newark, NJ on August 29, 2014

      • Hi Melinda,

        Thank you for providing us with that information. After checking flights, I think you should continue to monitor the fares more since we still have a lot of time till your departure in August 2014. Fares will be fluctuating and will drop, so I’d suggest waiting it out more.

  8. Can i cancel travel insurance?

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