Travel insurance: To buy, or not to buy?
Guest Blogger: Harper Mac
For some, traveling is the ultimate joy in life—a great unending adventure full of excitement and authentic experiences. But travelers who blindly step onto a plane destined for a place they’ve never been can quickly see their idealistic daydreams dissolve when tough realities start to set in.
Smart travelers take the time to prepare for any situation. In a foreign land, it’s critical that visitors know where they’re headed, what sort of protections they have, and what the local laws are. For any traveler, travel insurance can be a valuable investment. But depending on what insurance you have, your trip may already be covered under another policy.
What travel insurance covers
Depending on the policy, travel insurance can cover a wide range of complications. It can help you recover the costs of canceled flights, lost prescription medication, stolen wallets and/or passports, health care and medical evacuation to places where suitable treatment can be provided. Travel insurance can even cover changes in your travel plans based on the occurrence of terrorist attacks.
Before you begin researching travel insurance, find out about refund policies for any airlines, hotels, or car rental agencies that you’ll be using for your trip. You may find that those policies are adequate for your needs.
Choosing your coverage types
When considering travel insurance, determine what you want it to cover. Are you hoping to recoup the cost of plane tickets if you have to cancel your flight, or are you more concerned about protecting your jewelry and electronics in your hotel room? If the latter is true, you may already be covered under one of your existing policies.
One type of insurance that many people think is essential is health care coverage for traveling, because health insurance policies issued in the United States often don’t cover injuries or medical emergencies in other countries. Check with your health insurance provider beforehand, but be prepared to pay more to protect yourself overseas.
Tips for reviewing insurance coverage
Before you purchase an insurance policy, review the fine print thoroughly, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Rather than asking what a policy covers, ask the agent to explain what isn’t covered. Shop around with different providers before making a decision that best fits your circumstances.
And whenever possible, buy insurance licensed through your state of residence, and don’t purchase through tour companies or other commercial enterprises. If those companies go belly-up while you’re in the middle of your travels, you might lose your coverage.
Traveling abroad brings visitors face-to-face with many variables they can’t control. Travel insurance is a big step toward offering security when those variables create potentially disastrous situations. Be smart when traveling and make a small investment in protecting yourself in a variety of ways, giving you peace-of-mind as you explore the world. Most importantly, look at the policies you already have to determine what they will cover when you’re abroad.
About the Author
Lindsey Harper Mac is a writer and editor living in Indianapolis. She writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University.