To buy or not to buy? That is the question many families ask about travel insurance.
Perhaps the biggest reason to buy insurance is simply to protect your vacation investment. You've saved up for your vacation and insurance is a way to protect your purchase, giving peace of mind that your hard-earned investment is covered. If something does go wrong, either before or during your trip, you won’t lose out.
Is It Necessary to Insure Your Trip?
The biggest misconception people have about travel insurance is that it is only for overseas travel or that it only provides coverage for medical expenses. In reality, travel insurance can actually cover much more than that. First, travel insurance covers domestic trips and international trips.
It often seems as though germs know the absolute worst time to attack typically-healthy kids, usually before a big event—like a well-planned vacation. Travel insurance has you covered if you get sick or injured before you leave home.
Beyond medical, it can also offer coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, trip delay, and lost luggage as well as medical evacuations. In addition, travel insurance provides coverage for each traveler's baggage and personal belongings, so if something does get lost, replacement items are covered, even in the short term. Many travel insurance plans also come with 24/7 travel assistance services that can help travelers re-book flights and hotels, track lost luggage, assistance emergency medical coordination, and much more.
What Kinds of Trips Require Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance can be helpful no matter what type of trip you are taking or where you are going. Sometimes bad trips just happen to good people. A traveler never knows when inclement weather could strike, when they might experience an injury or when they may need to re-book flights or a hotel after being delayed.
Hurricane Matthew in 2016 is the perfect example. While terms and conditions of plans may vary, travelers who purchased a travel insurance plan sufficiently before the hurricane was named could be covered if they needed to cancel their trip to the East Coast or if their final destination became uninhabitable. In short, travel insurance can cover you for the unexpected.
What Coverage Do You Need During Hurricane Season?
Traveling during hurricane season? Travelers in this situation should be sure to purchase a plan that offers coverage for trip cancellation, delay, and interruption. This may come in handy if an airport is closed due to high winds, you are forced to evacuate your hotel, or the road you are traveling is impassable due to high water. Again, in order to find the right policy for your travel needs, we suggest talking to a licensed travel agent and comparing policies.
Purchasing a Plan
If you are traveling at a time of year when the weather can be unpredictable, it's a good idea to buy insurance. For families, any unexpected delay can be a significant and even costly inconvenience. Many insurance plans cover any extra costs and incidentals they incur in the event of a delay, from food to hotel stays.
When to Buy
A good rule of thumb is to purchase a travel insurance plan right after you make your trip deposit. If you are looking to get hurricane coverage, for instance, you’ll usually need to purchase a policy at least before a hurricane is named. Insurers offer trip cancellation and “cancel for any reason” upgrades, but they are usually accompanied by specific purchase requirements. In addition, many travel insurers offer a "pre-existing condition waiver" that may be added to certain plans.
Where to Buy
Travel insurance is probably more affordable than you think.
It's never a good idea to buy insurance from the same cruise line, resort, or travel outfitter where you purchased your trip, simply because their plans will tend to be more favorable to themselves than to the traveler.
Purchasing a third-party travel insurance plan, such as those available on TravelGuard.com, typically can provide a more targeted or comprehensive suite of coverage and assistance benefits. Some sites, such as InsureMyTrip.com, let you compare different plans from a variety of insurance providers and choose the one that's best for your family.
Again, consumers should remember to read the policy language before they purchase any travel insurance program, and to think about things like supplier default coverage, which is typically available via third-party travel insurance plans.