If you’re going on a trip soon, it’s a good idea to consider purchasing a travel insurance policy. On inexpensive trips this isn’t as important, but for expensive reservations, it’s nice to have protection.
There are many different types of travel insurance available. Here’s what you need to know as you shop for plans.
Travel Insurance Policies
It’s common for policies to include coverage for cancellations, delays and interruptions of your trip. These are all self-explanatory: trip cancellation coverage applies for your expenses if your trip is canceled, either because of you or outside reasons. Trip interruption and delay coverage cover your costs for either of those occurrences.
Baggage coverage reimburses you if any of your bags or personal belongings end up damaged, lost or stolen. It could also cover you if your baggage gets delayed.
There are multiple medical coverage options available depending on the length of your trip. You can purchase coverage for emergency medical assistance, which will typically include medical evacuation to get you to a hospital and medical repatriation if you need to go home early for health-related reasons. If you’re going to be traveling for months, you should go with major medical insurance, which is like a health insurance plan that you can use abroad.
If you rent a car, you can get travel insurance to cover any damage to the vehicle.
There is also accidental death and dismemberment insurance. If you die in an accident while traveling, your policy will pay a set amount to the person you select as your beneficiary. If you suffer certain major injuries, such as losing a limb or your eyesight, the policy will pay a portion of that set amount to you.
Always Read the Contract
The most important thing to remember with any type of travel insurance is that you read your contract so you fully understand what your insurance does and doesn’t cover. Every policy will have its own exclusions and restrictions.
For example, if you have travel insurance that covers trip cancellation, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be covered for a canceled trip. Your provider may exclude trip cancellations for a pre-existing medical condition, or cancellations where you just decided not to take the trip.
With baggage coverage, your provider will cover you up to a certain amount, with $1,000 being a common coverage limit. If you have belongings worth more than that, you should look for a plan with more coverage.
Purchasing Travel Insurance
Figure out what coverage you need before you go shopping for travel insurance so you don’t miss anything. While you can get free quotes online directly from travel insurance providers, it’s better to go on a travel insurance comparison site which will show you plans from multiple providers. Options include InsureMyTrip and SquareMouth.
How much can you expect to pay for travel insurance? On average, you’re looking at about 4 to 8 percent of your trip’s total cost. Longer, more expensive trips will cost more, and of course, your price goes up the more coverage that you purchase. Your destination also plays a role. Visit an area with higher medical costs and you can expect to pay more for medical coverage.
Don’t Forget About Your Credit Cards
Before you buy any insurance, check what type of protection you already have through your credit card. Many credit cards already cover you for trip cancellations and rental car damage, as long as you use the credit card to book the flight or the car. You can’t get comprehensive coverage through a credit card, but it’s free.
Making Your Decision
Travel insurance isn’t necessary for all trips. You’ll need to think about the potential risks of your trip and how much they can cost you to decide if travel insurance is right for you. If you’re going to purchase a policy, check out a comparison site to make sure you get the best deal.