It seems like Americans are always on the go, and for all sorts of reasons. Some of us travel as part of our jobs. We fly to visit friends and family, or just to get away to some exotic destination for a week.
If you’ve got travelling on your mind, here’s some information on insurance, when you should buy it, and when you should save your money.
Flight Insurance: What Are Your Options?
If you’re a frequent flyer, you might be familiar with some types of flight insurance, and you might have even paid a little extra for certain types of coverage. There are different types of insurance coverage. Consider which you’re most likely to need, given your travel plans.
Non-refundable ticket insurance pays the fees assessed by airlines if you must cancel a flight while holding a non-refundable ticket.
Trip cancellation coverage is similar to non-refundable insurance, providing a full or partial refund on tickets purchased under some airline restrictions. This type of insurance is most valuable to passengers who pay in advance, or make a large down payment to keep that seat available.
Baggage insurance typically covers items of luggage that are lost, stolen, or damaged on your way from here to there. Supplemental baggage insurance can be purchased to cover high-ticket items carried in your baggage, so if you carry expensive jewelry, for example, it may be a good idea to protect those jewels with supplemental baggage insurance. Of course, the more coverage you buy, the higher the premium.
Health coverage is an important consideration for world travellers. Check your current healthcare policy to see if you’re covered when you’re out of the country. Some policies do protect you; others don’t. In either case, receiving medical care in foreign countries is sometimes difficult. For example, countries with national healthcare programs will provide emergency care, but chances are, you’ll have to pay those medical costs out of your own pocket, since you aren’t a citizen.
Health insurance coverage that insures against medical costs in foreign countries is a good idea if you travel abroad frequently, or if you plan to stay for any length of time. The more time you spend in a place, the greater the likelihood that you’ll need some kind of medical care – even for a sprained wrist or other minor injury.
Talk to your insurance agent or your insurance company to help protect your health and your wallet when travelling the globe.
Accidental Death Insurance comes in two varieties. One type of accidental policy covers you only during the flight itself – while you’re in transit. The other type of accidental death policy covers a death at any time during your trip.
Chances are, if you’re planning a trip to London, you won’t need this kind of coverage. However, if you’re travelling to a potentially dangerous part of the world, you might consider obtaining an accidental death policy.
5 Travel Insurance Tips
Whether you hop a plane once every few years, or every day for work, here are some travel insurance tips to save you money.
1. Don’t depend on your credit card travel rewards. Some credit cards offer minimum insurance coverages, but in many cases, the protection may not cover actual losses. Even top-of-the-line travel reward cards limit the types of insurance protection they provide.
2. Cover what you can’t afford to lose. If your checked baggage contains a couple of Hawaiian shirts and a suit, you might be annoyed that your luggage was lost or stolen, but you really didn’t lose much.
On the other hand, if an item has significant value, or is an item you can’t afford to lose – expensive electronics, jewelry, proprietary business information – protect yourself with baggage loss or theft insurance in the amount you stand to lose. You may pay for that protection, but you’ll be glad you have it as you stare at an empty baggage carousel.
3. Comparison shop for travel insurance to get the most coverage for the lowest premium. Certain insurers specialize in lines of travel coverage. Talk to a knowledgeable sales rep about your needs and options. Prices may vary, but so do policy limits. Compare both.
4. Get covered early. Don’t put off buying trip cancellation coverage. It may not be available as your travel date approaches. If a tropical storm hits your vacation destination, you may not be able to buy trip cancellation coverage at any price, so buy your travel protection at the same time you buy your tickets.
5. Assess the risks and protect yourself, your possessions and your family. You might not think a week-long family cruise could be risky, but if you or your family are injured, you may be surprised at the medical costs that aren’t covered.
Be cautious, but you don’t need to purchase travel insurance if the risk is small. You can buy just the insurance you need to protect yourself and/or your family, and save a few dollars to enjoy on your vacation.
Talk to your insurance broker and the airline or cruise company, and contact insurers that specialize in high-mileage travellers. Enjoy your trip more when you’re covered with the right travellers’ insurance protection.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.
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