Questions (and Doubts) About Purchasing Travel Insurance – InsuranceNewsNet

Travel Insurance today, after COVID, is more essential and somewhat trickier than before. Let me help you understand some basics prior to purchasing trip insurance. Travelers decide to cover their trips with trip insurance for two reasons: Cancellation, preeminent due to sickness, injury or death (but there are other “covered” reasons for cancellation such as financial default, jury duty, military duty, etc.), medical coverage when you travel, and trip interruption/delay/lost baggage. When purchasing trip insurance, you need to know the overall cost of your trip and the age of travelers, as Premiums are based on those factors. Travelers often have a choice to purchase trip insurance from their cruise or land suppliers. But you need to understand what those companies are offering. If you don’t purchase directly from the cruise/tour, then you purchase from a company of your choice. There are many different companies offering trip insurance, and each of them have various policies covering different elements, the more expensive the premium, the more benefits you will have. But certain trips really don’t always need the most expensive policy. You will need to determine that.

Here are some factors you need to consider when purchasing:

What are “pre-existing” conditions?

These are medical conditions which people have such as cancer, diabetes, heart issues, etc., which afflict people, but they are still able to live with them, daily, and can travel with them, if they have their doctor’s okay. But if you end up canceling a trip based on one of your “pre-existing” conditions, you want to be sure you purchased a policy which gives a waiver to “pre-existing “conditions. Breaking a leg a few days before a trip is NOT a “pre-existing” condition and will be covered. To be sure you get a waiver for a “pre-existing” condition, you must purchase the policy within a certain time limit (usually 14 to 21-days after making initial deposit). Also “pre-existing” conditions apply not only to you, but to your close family/friends, in case you do have to cancel due to their sickness. Insurance companies have a look back period (usually 90-days to six-months) to determine if your reason for canceling qualifies as a “pre-existing” condition.

Is the policy you are buying considered Primary or Secondary medicalcoverage?

Primary coverage means that the travel insurance company will cover all your medical expenses (up to the amount mentioned in the policy). If you buy a policy where your travel insurance policy is considered secondary, then you will have to pay for all costs (even if you are in the hospital) and upon return to the USsubmit claim to your US medical providers. They will make the determination if they are going to pay for your claim, nor not. After that, you will submit to your travel insurance provider. Most trip insurance companies offer both Primary and Secondary policies, with Secondary costing less.

What is “cancel for any reason” trip insurance?

This is becoming more popular and means what it says (dog is suffering separation anxiety, for example). But in most cases, this has an additional cost, and the refund is not always what you want (usually not full cash, but voucher for future trip, at 50 percent to 80 percent of original cost). Check details carefully.

How is covid covered now in trip insurance?

COVID is considered a medical issue and if you suddenly got COVID and must cancel travel, it would be covered. While traveling, if you get COVID, then often the policy will have coverage for “trip interruption” as you’ve got to stay behind and not finish trip, pay for hotel room, re-book flights, etc. Check your policy for COVID coverage.

Is the Premium you pay for trip insurance refundable?

No, it is not, but you do usually get a two-week period to review your policy and if you then decide to cancel, you will get a refund. Therefore, that brings up two different approaches to purchasing trip insurance: First, look at what the refund options are for your trip costs, and perhaps wait to the last day (maybe 120-days from start of trip) to purchase your trip insurance. Second, and frequently used today, is to purchase trip insurance in different segments. Start immediately to purchase insurance to cover your initial deposit (this is mandatory if you want “pre-existing” conditions waiver). Then add increased coverage as you add more cost elements to your trip. This way, you are not putting out a big amount of cash for trip insurance if you decide to cancel in agreement with trip cancellation policies.

Is your policy transferrable?

Yes, with COVID, there were so many cancellations of trips to future dates that insurance companies agreed to a “one time” date change. This means that if your Caribbean cruise, plan for October 2021was postponed to December 2022it is possible to use the policy for this, or another future trip, just by changing date.

What is the meaning of Medical Evacuation?

This refers to being removed from the place where you suffer the medical issue to the nearest hospital/clinic that can best treat the condition according to your trip insurance provider. If you end up in a foreign hospital and want immediate return to a hospital of your choice in the USthere is a special company which offers this type of protection.

Can you just purchase a small amount of coverage to get medical coverage?

Yes. Sometimes people are using frequent flier miles to go to Rome, and once there they plan to stay with Aunt Andrea. Therefore, they don’t have any travel costs to cover. But while staying in Rome, they do want to be sure to have medical coverage in case they fall or get hit by a speeding car. It is easy to purchase a small amount of premium (maybe up to $100 per person) to provide medical coverage.

Do you need to purchase trip insurance when traveling in the US?

Yes, in most cases, it is a good idea to provide special coverages which your regular medical policy doesn’t offer. For example, I had a friend who traveled from New York City big Utah to take a motor coach tour. One morning in Salt Lake City, he stepped up to the board the coach, fell backwards, hit his head and tripped on his leg. Luckily, he had purchased trip insurance. They stepped in right away to help him in the hospital. He was very seriously injured and could not continue on the trip— and had to get back to New York City. The insurance provider (not his medical insurance) re-booked flights for him and his wife (he had to fly Business Class with a private nurse), paid for trip interruption, etc. Had he not purchased his trip insurance, he would have had normal medical coverage for hospitals but no way for him or his wife to get back home.

Travel Insurance is an important element of travel. The more you know, the better able you are to make a good decision. Personally, I would never travel without purchasing Trip Insurance. Linda Stack lives in SaddleTrooke and is owner of Travelinda, LLC. She can be reached via email at [email protected].

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