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Travel Insurance – Why you need it

Rose Fiel

I believe everyone needs travel insurance – everyone. Just ask anyone who has had to use their travel insurance! Or ask anyone who refused the insurance and lost all their money because they had to cancel their trip.

You can purchase travel insurance to cover trip cancellation, interruption and medical. Or a policy that covers everything but cancellation. The largest percentage of the policy cost is for the cancellation, as that loss is the greatest risk.

You get the most benefit when you purchase travel insurance during the period in which the company waives their pre-existing condition clause. The cost will be the same whether you buy it when you reserve your trip or if you wait until the supplier cancellation penalties begin.

Why do people decline travel insurance

Some people choose to “self-insure.” This means that they understand that they may lose their money if they cancel, but they can withstand the loss. In that case, we recommend that they purchase the medical portion of the coverage. Most US medical insurance policies do not cover medical costs incurred outside the United States.
Most people who don’t buy travel insurance think nothing will happen to them. They say they are going on the trip no matter what happens, so they don’t need the insurance.

Examples of having coverage and declining coverage

When I discuss traveI insurance with my clients, I give a few examples about issues that I have seen happen. I also ask clients to think about any possible reason they would need to cancel a trip.
We once had a man who had to be air lifted home from Lisbon. The cost was $110,000.00. Travelex covered $100,000 of that charge. They had never purchased insurance before, but took it this time when it was offered. They were beyond happy that they did. This was the only time I’ve seen this coverage used, but it was there when they needed it. This would have been a huge expense to cover.

This year I had a family cancel two trips. Both were without insurance and in full penalty, so both were a total financial loss. The first cancellation was due to the illness of a close family member and they didn’t want to travel “just in case”. The second was because of a fall. It happened a few days before the trip, at home in her kitchen, and broken a hip was the result. Both of these would have been covered by the travel insurance. Travel insurance not just cover you, the traveler; they cover family members as well.

Think about why you would cancel a trip

I ask clients to think of everyone in their family. If one of those family members were to get sick or be injured in an accident, would you still go on the trip? If the answer is no, you need insurance. This is especially true for young families. Young kids have accidents. Parents don’t want to leave when their children when they not well or have been injured.

I buy travel insurance with every trip I take. On a recent trip to Paris I used my insurance twice in 12 hours. First my bag made it to London but not Paris. I purchased some clothing and cosmetics – I was reimbursed by the insurance. I was not thrilled to start my trip with gathering items I needed but nice to know they were a covered expense.

Next, I needed a doctor. As the night wore on I became ill. The doctor came to the hotel room, did a quick assessment and gave me some medication on the spot at 3am. The 130 Euros he charged as well as the medication I got the next morning at the pharmacy was covered by the insurance as well.

Medical coverage outside the US

Most of the insurance we have in the United States does not cover us in other countries. It is best to double check your policy. If you think your credit card offers travel insurance you should double check that as well.

Medical insurance while traveling is quite inexpensive. Coverage begins the day you start your trip. This will not cover you if you cannot go on the trip, but once you are on the plane, it begins. This insurance can be purchased up to 24 hours prior to your departure.

Include the cost of insurance when planning your trip

Today, travel costs are high, especially for multi-generational trips, once in a life time trips, or an around the world trip! When you are planning for the trip, just as if you would include air, and hotels, add the cost of insurance to the list.

Talk to your travel advisor, and they will explain the various options to you. They can connect you directly to the insurance company if needed. Most travel suppliers offer insurance, as well as  third party insurance companies that offer travel insurance. I would be happy to help you compare, as it is not only the cost that varies. It is also the coverage. So contact me and I can help you review your options so you select the travel insurance best for you: rose@hagers-journeys.com.

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