Travel plans aren’t something that anyone takes lightly. Some people spend months planning and booking their honeymoon while others spend weeks finding the best deals for their Caribbean vacation. Time and energy aside, vacations are also expensive. Once you’ve put a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars into your travel plans, you want to know that your funds are protected. There’s no worse feeling than missing a flight or having weather ruin your plans, only to then lose all of the money that you dished out.
One of the best but most underused options for protecting your traveling funds is a travel insurance policy. If you’re like most travelers, chances are you haven’t used travel insurance before. In fact, the cost of travel insurance only makes up about 5.5% of the total cost of most trips.
If you’ve never used travel insurance before, you’ll want to know how to choose the right coverage. Keep reading for steps to protecting your traveling funds with the use of travel insurance.
Step 1: Determine Your Needs
Before signing up for travel insurance, you want to assess your needs. To make the best decision for you and your family, consider these questions:
- If my trip is cut short, can I afford to pay for a return trip home?
- If my bags are lost, can I afford to pay for all of my lost belongings?
- If my flight is delayed or canceled, can I afford to pay for extra lodging costs?
- Does my health insurance cover me in foreign countries in the event of sickness or an injury?
- Am I willing to lose my travel investment if something goes wrong, such as bad weather?
If you say “no” to any of these questions, it makes sense for you to invest in travel insurance. From a refund for flight delays or reimbursement for lost or stolen baggage, the right insurance plan will cover you in the most extenuating situations. Insurance helps to make traveling much less worrisome.
Step 2: Determine Your Existing Coverage
Knowing what sort of coverage you have already will direct you to the type of travel insurance coverage you need. You’ll want to determine what your health insurance covers, especially if you’re traveling to a different country. You may also want to check with your bank or credit card company to determine if they offer any coverage if you have to cancel your trip. Be sure to ask about reimbursement as well to cover trip delays or lost/stolen items.
Aside from your personal coverage, it’s also helpful to learn about your airline’s cancellation and delay policies. Some airlines offer travel vouchers or reimbursement you for lost baggage. Be sure you know the rules that apply to you.
In most cases, the coverage you do have isn’t enough to cover you completely. With travel insurance you can rest assured that you’ll be covered 100%, no matter what happens.
Step 3: Compare Travel Insurance Coverage
There are dozens of companies that offer travel insurance. As with any type of insurance, you want to do thorough research to ensure you’re making the right decision. First and foremost, choose an insurance company that is reputable and well-known. Ask friends and family member for recommendations. Word-of-mouth referrals are often the safest.
Once you’ve selected an insurance company, you’ll want to start looking into the fine details of their coverage policy. When it comes to travel insurance, you may want to get the most comprehensive package available. Be sure the policy you choose offers coverage for:
- Trip interruption/delay/cancellation
- Missed flights
- Lost or delayed baggage
- Medical coverage (evaluation, hospital stay, etc)
Aside from coverage, cost is also an important factor to consider. Be sure to shop around for the best travel insurance deal. Some credit card companies offer travel insurance to cardholders at discounted rates. Other places to purchase travel insurance include online, airlines, travel agencies, hotels, and even tour operators. Routine travelers, veterans, and AAA members may also be subject to special savings. If you’re a routine traveler, you may be able to get a lower price from certain insurance companies.
Coverage comparison is important, but you’ll also want to take the time to read the fine print of the policy. Most of us sign the dotted line without fully understanding the coverage we just paid for. Be sure to read the fine print so that you understand any conditions and exclusions.
While you may never need to use your travel insurance, it’s nice to be able to travel with peace of mind. When it comes to traveling, there are all sorts of things that can go wrong. From a cancelled flight to lost baggage, you want to know that you’re 100% covered no matter the situation.