My Bags Are Packed, I’m Ready To Go!
Ah, the call of the open road! A remote island paradise! London’s West End theatre district! A safari in Kenya! Hiking up to Machu Picchu! Supper in Prague!
Ah, the horrors of the passport stolen in Amsterdam. The cruise line’s financial default that forced the last-minute cancellation of the kid’s honeymoon trip to Alaska. Judy’s broken leg in Guatemala. The hopelessly lost luggage in Rome, that led to the missed connection to Toledo that ruined any chance to reach Lisbon in time for the wedding. Paul’s raging toothache in Sardinia.
Ah, the joys of travel! You just never know what might happen next!
That is what travel insurance is for. It may not work miracles, necessarily, any more than any other insurance coverage can, but it sure does help. We buy it to cover travel-related risks:
- Before the trip: the risks include late-minute cancellations due to sickness, severe weather, or even terror attacks, and
- During the trip: it provides coverage for accident/emergency care, medical evacuations, travel delays and missed connections, lost or stolen baggage and more.
This insurance can be purchased for international and domestic trips and can cover anything from a two-day weekend to a year-long tour.
The most popular form of travel insurance is the package plan or policy. A package plan combines several types of coverage into one neat policy. With this approach, you are covered for interruptions, cancellations, lost bags, medical emergencies and evacuation and so on.
The cost for such coverage typically runs between 5-7% of the total trip cost.
A travel medical plan or medical evacuation policy is a different kind of coverage, focussed on medical and dental emergencies and evacuations, as opposed to the delays and missed connections and so on that the more comprehensive travel package policy includes. This coverage is sometimes call International Medical Insurance or a Medical Protection Plan.
Travel medical coverage is best suited for travelers who do not need a package plan but want medical coverage – business travelers working overseas, travelers visiting family abroad, missionaries and other long-term travelers. Many U.S. health plans do not cover you when you are outside this country’s borders or, if they do, the limits may be low or they may not cover the cost of a medical evacuation. The cost for just medical coverage can be much, much lower than the cost of a package plan; the pricing is based on the length of the trip, the amount of coverage requested and the age of the traveler.
Next, we will go over the do’s and don’t’s of travel insurance, how to find a carrier, how to determine when you need it and when you don’t and what the application process entails.
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