Everything You Need to Know About Travel Insurance

Travel insurance provides valuable protection against unexpected travel-related expenses such as trip cancellation, lost luggage and emergency medical coverage.

Most policies also include travel assistance, which offers 24/7 hotline for when you become stranded or misplace your documents while traveling abroad. Some plans provide pre-existing condition waivers while others do not.

What is Coverage?

Travel insurance provides financial coverage against losses incurred while traveling internationally, whether on a cruise, safari, or multi-city international trip.

If you need the flexibility of canceling your trip at short notice, adding “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage may provide. This add-on to many comprehensive policies allows travelers to cancel for reasons such as job loss, family illness, jury duty summons or travel warnings from the CDC.

An average comprehensive travel insurance policy typically costs 4-8% of your total trip costs; but the peace of mind it provides may make the investment worthwhile should anything arise while on vacation. Read through your policy’s fine print carefully and decide whether or not it fits you and your travel needs.

What is the Basic Policy?

Travel insurance provides valuable protection from unexpected events like natural disasters, severe weather and travel company bankruptcies; as well as terrorist acts or cancellation due to illness/death of yourself or traveling companion; medical evacuation/repatriation services can all be covered. Ideally it should be purchased soon after initial bookings for lodgings, flights and rental cars have been confirmed.

Basic policies reimburse nonrefundable trip deposits and expenses if your trip is canceled for reasons accepted by the insurer (list may differ depending on plan), as well as covering some pre-tour expenses, like hotel stays, meals, and tours.

Plans offering pre-existing coverage vary, with most policies requiring a “look-back” period that could last anywhere from 90 days to one year. Some policies also exclude certain activities or limit trip length, while checking with your home insurer to see whether your possessions are covered while traveling and consider additional baggage delay and loss-of-baggage protection as well.

What is the Optional Policy?

Dependent upon the plan and provider, comprehensive travel policies can include additional elements such as flight accident insurance, lost luggage coverage and emergency medical expense protection. Many travelers purchase such coverage to protect against unexpected events that might compel them to cancel or interrupt their trip altogether.

Most health insurance plans don’t cover costs incurred abroad, making travel insurance an important way to cover these expenses. When selecting your policy it is essential that you review its specifics as there may be limits and exclusions which apply.

As soon as you make initial bookings for flights, lodging and excursions, it is typically best to buy travel insurance immediately thereafter for maximum coverage. Annual plans provide multiple trips with protection at an affordable cost – some plans even provide preexisting medical condition benefits and rental car theft/damage protection! In addition, providers sometimes offer specific policy riders tailored specifically for business travelers, athletes or expatriates which typically feature higher limit coverages with broader protection.

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