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Fly Wise With Travel Insurance

Got coverage? In today’s market, travel insurance might be for you. But before you buy, learn about the types of travel insurance available.

 

Vacations are happy times to be spent with families and friends frolicking in some foreign land. Or, maybe your trip is only a quick drive from home. But what happens when something goes wrong? No one ever expects it, but as a travel industry insider for almost 15 years, let me tell you that it happens more often than you’d think.

I never let a client leave my office without explaining travel insurance options. The next time your travel agent (or travel planning Web site) mentions travel insurance, listen up. Buying a policy could be the best money you will ever spend.

You may be covered for some things with your health insurance or your homeowners or renters insurance, but a good travel policy is worth its weight in gold. Travel insurance protects your financial investment as well as your health and well-being while on your vacation, and coverage comes in two flavors: independent third-party insurance and supplier-provided insurance.

Independent Third Party Insurance

Independent third party insurance is a comprehensive policy that will cover your financial investment, loss of luggage, delay of trip, emergencies while on your trip, emergencies at home while you are away, emergencies leading up to your trip, supplier financial insolvency and may also cover extended family not traveling with you. These policies are the most comprehensive and the ones I recommend to my clients.

While costs will vary from trip to trip and person to person, they should be “between 5 percent and 8 percent of the trip depending on the age of the traveler, with the premium increasing with age,” says Isaac Cymrot, regional sales manager of Travel Insured International, Inc. Words of caution: Most policies require you to have a “covered reason” to file a claim. A change of plans usually does not qualify.

Supplier Insurance 

Supplier insurance policies are much less comprehensive, will not cover supplier insolvency, and a lot of times will act merely as a financial protector. While they do offer some medical, baggage and delay protection, those limits are usually considerably lower than third party insurance.

Supplier policies can also be a lot less expensive ($50 to $150 flat fee) and may include a cancel-for-any-reason benefit. So, if your pimple is really that bad—you can cancel the day before. But (and there usually is a “but”), do not expect to get your cash or credit back when you invoke the “any reason” clause. Most of the time, the refund is in the form of a voucher that must be used within the next year.

I hate to be a pessimist, but the next time you are forking over some hard earned cash for a well-deserved break, take a moment and ask yourself “what if” and consider your options!

Next week’s Travel Tips column covers who needs travel insurance and why. 


Themes: Family Travel


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