Saturday, October 25, 2014

Travelling and Insurance

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Travel insurance can minimize the considerable financial risks of traveling: accidents, illness, missed flights, canceled tours, lost baggage, theft, terrorism, travel-company bankruptcies, emergency evacuation, and getting your body home if you die. Each traveler’s potential loss varies, depending on how much of your trip is prepaid, the refundability of the air ticket you purchased, your state of health, the value of your luggage, where you’re traveling, the financial health of your tour company and airline, and what coverage you already have (through your medical insurance, homeowners or renters insurance, and/or credit card).

For some travelers, insurance is a good deal; for others, it’s not. What are the chances you’ll need it? How willing are you to take risks? How much is peace of mind worth to you? Take these considerations into account, understand your options, and make an informed decision for your trip.
Insurance Basics
The insurance menu includes five main courses: trip cancellation and interruption, medical, evacuation, baggage, and flight insurance.

Supplemental policies can be added to cover specific concerns, such as identity theft or political evacuation. The various types are generally sold in some combination — rather than buying only baggage, medical, or cancellation insurance, you’ll usually purchase a package that includes most or all of them. If you want just one type of coverage in particular — such as medical — ask for that (though it might come with a little cancellation or baggage insurance, too).

“Comprehensive insurance” covers all of the above (plus expenses incurred if your trip is delayed, if you miss your flight, or if your tour company changes your itinerary).
One of the better changes in recent years is that many companies, such as Travelex and Travel Guard, now offer comprehensive packages that serve as your primary coverage; they’ll take care of your expenses regardless of what other insurance you might have (for instance, if you have health insurance through your job). That means they pay first and don’t ask questions about your other insurance.

This can be a real plus if you want to avoid out-of-pocket expenses.
Insurance prices can vary dramatically, with most packages costing between 5 and 12 percent of the total trip. Age is one of the biggest factors affecting the price: Rates go up dramatically for every decade over 50, while coverage is generally inexpensive or even free for children 17 and under.
Travel agents recommend that you get travel insurance (because they get a commission when you buy it, and because they can be held liable for your losses if they don’t explain insurance options to you). While travel agents can give you information and advice, they are not insurance agents — always direct any specific questions to the insurance provider.

Policies available vary by state, and not all insurance companies are licensed in every state. If you have to make a claim and encounter problems with a company that isn’t licensed in your state, you don’t have a case.
Note that some travel insurance, especially trip-cancellation coverage, is reimbursement-only: You’ll pay out-of-pocket for your expenses, then submit the paperwork to your insurer to recoup your money. With medical coverage, you may be able to arrange to have expensive hospital or doctor bills paid directly. Either way, if you have a problem, it’s wise to contact your insurance company immediately to ask them how to proceed. Many major insurance companies are accessible by phone 24 hours a day — handy if you have problems in Europe.

Types of Coverage
For each type of insurance that follows, I’ve outlined some of the key legalese. But be warned — these are only guidelines. Policies can differ, even within the same company. Certain companies and policies have different levels of coverage based on whether you purchase the car rental, hotel, or flight directly on your own or through a travel agent.

Continued...

1 comments:

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