Do I REALLY Need Travel Insurance?

Top 10 FAQs for Travel Insurance

As someone with an Irish Heritage myself, I happen to love this!

Happy Saturday!  I know I normally touch base with you on Thursdays, so I appreciate your patience this week. Life has been a whirlwind!  I had something crazy happening nearly every day this week. 

So one of the things we had to do this week is going to the courthouse for my daughter’s post-car-accident visit regarding a citation, and so it brings to mind insurance.  Of course, her life is the most precious thing … but what if we didn’t have insurance? Sure, most days none of us needs that insurance, but when we need it, it’s good that it is there. 

It got me to thinking about how perplexing insurance can be – and that is also true when it comes to travel insurance, which I talk to clients about all the time. But there are some questions I get constantly – and maybe some questions my clients should ask but don’t think to ask.  So I thought we could dive into that this week.  

I hope you have an incredible weekend, full of safe, fun, REAL time with your loved ones. 

To protect or not to protect – That is the Question! Here are some common questions asked by many a traveler.

1. Doesn’t my credit card cover me for cancellation?

The simple answer is – yes and no. It does sometimes have some coverage but not the type of coverage you’d want to have. 

Usually, credit cards provide a very low limit for cancellation, $1500-2000 for example, and the “covered reasons to cancel” are often VERY limited.

The biggest shortfall with this type of coverage is that typically, these credit card plans usually do not provide emergency medical evacuation or even accident/medical coverage. 

2. Won’t my health insurance cover my medical costs once I file a claim?

More often than not, your regular health plans here in the U.S. will not cover medical services rendered abroad. 

If your plan does offer coverage, it’s likely limited. Also, if you’re traveling to a country with nationwide coverage, most likely they would only be able to help you out for minor issues.

If something major and ongoing occurred, you’d likely be stuck footing the bill to continue care out of pocket, plus transportation back to the U.S. can be costly without the medical evacuation coverage many travel insurance protection plans offer. 

3. Are pre-existing medical conditions excluded?

The answer to this question depends on when you purchase your coverage and what the policy says about that. Most plans require you to purchase with a deposit on your trip or within a short period of time after that to cover any and all pre-existing medical situations as it would otherwise pertain to your claim. 

4. I never get sick and I’m really careful. Why should I worry about this type of coverage?

To quote the infamous Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you gonna get.”  This is very true and unfortunately, I have seen/heard too many tales of injury, brown recluse spider bites, horrible unexpected breakups, death or sickness in the family causing a shortage of time off work to take said vacation, missed flights, lost jobs, and more. 

You just never know what life is going to throw at you – good or bad – which is why I always recommend travel insurance for every trip. 

5. There’s NO WAY I’ll cancel my trip. Why should I concern myself with cancellation coverage? 

The plans I will provide you with are not only for cancellation.  They provide coverage for a wide variety of unexpected circumstances. Of course, there is coverage for cancellations & interruptions (coming home earlier than planned). 

Some of the other types of coverage you’ll get with most plans include emergency medical & dental care, emergency medical evacuation, missed air connections, non-medical emergency evacuation, baggage loss, and baggage delay. 

There’s even a 24-hour hotline you can call for help with anything travel related!  As your travel professional, I’m here to help you anytime. But when I am sleeping at night, I may not be reachable during those hours at night.  I want you to have peace of mind. 

6. Isn’t travel insurance expensive? 

When you consider whether insurance is expensive, consider the amount of money that could be lost IF something – such as a cancellation at the last minute, or lost luggage while in another country, or a serious medical emergency that requires a helicopter evacuating you or your loved ones from a cruise ship, or even something as simple as a small medical emergency would set you back. 

The cost of this type of coverage is very small compared to the comprehensive coverage provided. It is just like other insurance – nobody likes to pay for it, but, if you need it, it is priceless.

7. Won’t the cruise line refund me if I have an extenuating circumstance, such as illness, injury, or hurricane?

Cruise lines have a cancellation schedule that begins at the date of final payment, usually in the amount of the deposit. Then the time between final payment and sailing date is typically divided into 4 equal spans of time on the calendar. Each span of time typically represents a 25% increased amount of money the cruise line will NOT give you if you cancel for any reason. 

Many insurance plans include hurricane warning in your destination as a covered reason to cancel (but you should check your policy). However, many times a cruise line will divert their itinerary rather than cancel a cruise. 

Cruises are rarely canceled for hurricanes unless the departure port is severely hit, and even then they usually take the ships away from the storm. 

As to illness and injury, they typically won’t give you anything back, with exception to pre-paid gratuities, taxes, and port fees which are always refundable (unless included for some reason). 

8. When should I purchase my travel insurance plan?

The sooner you set it in place, the better! Many plans exclude pre-existing conditions if you do not purchase it at the time of depositing your trip – or shortly after. 

9. What if I change my mind after purchasing? 

Many, if not all, travel insurance plans give you a review period in which you can choose to change your mind and get a refund. 

10. What about the cruise line / resort / tour company’s insurance plan?

It’s impossible to speak to all of them, of course, but the ones I have seen typically have fewer covered cancellation reasons and significantly lower limits on medical, medical evacuation, and other important features. Rarely are they better plans than the plans I will offer you as my client.

I hope this has been helpful & informative for you!  If you have questions when working with me on a trip about travel insurance, I’m always here to help – or let you talk to the insurance professionals directly to get any questions answered. 

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