Pack with Peace of Mind by Purchasing Travel Insurance

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By Family Features

While no one likes to think about what might go wrong on a vacation, planning for it can not only bring peace of mind, but also valuable assistance when needed.

If an illness, accident or sudden change in plans causes a trip to be interrupted or cancelled, there can be two major financial losses – money invested in nonrefundable prepayments and medical expenses that aren’t covered by health insurance.

If you’re wondering if travel insurance is right for you, the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) recommends asking yourself the following questions:

•    Can I afford to lose my vacation investment if something goes wrong due to illness, weather or some other unforeseen circumstances?

•    If I have to cut my trip short because of an emergency, can I afford the cost of a return airline trip home?

•    Does my health insurance cover me away from home and in foreign countries if I become ill or am injured while traveling?

•    If my bags are lost or I have to spend an extra night because of weather-related problems, can I afford to buy replacement necessities and pay for extra lodging?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, travel insurance may very well be a wise investment.

Types of travel insurance

Most policies usually bundle the following three types of coverage into one comprehensive policy.

•    Financial reimbursement for trip cancellation, interruption and delay in situations arising from conditions such as illness or bad weather; and for baggage loss and/or delay.

•    Medical insurance and medical evacuation coverage in the event you become ill or are somehow injured while traveling.

•    A 24-hour assistance line to help find doctors, help arrange accommodations, or contact your family or other assistance in case of
an emergency.

Most travel insurance policies have limited medical coverage. However, separate medical travel insurance is available in most cases.


Travel insurance typically costs anywhere from 4 to 8 percent of the total trip. Cost is based on the length of trip, the destination and the age of
the policyholder.

Not all carriers or policies are the same. It’s important to compare costs and coverage from several reputable carriers. Visit online sites, such as www.SquareMouth.com and www.WorldTravelCenter.com, to explore your options.

When comparing travel insurance policies, USTIA recommends asking questions concerning certain special circumstances.

•    Are pre-existing medical conditions covered?

•    If you’re on a sports trip, are injuries related to that sport covered?

•    Are situations involving strikes, civil disturbances and terrorist acts covered?

•    If for some reason your travel supplier goes out of business, are you still covered?

•    Especially if on a cruise or tour, find out if the policy covers the entire trip, including airfare, hotel, shore excursions, sightseeing, and pre- and post-touring.

Buy smart

•    Know what you’re buying. Pay attention to what the coverage is called. Travel insurance is regulated by each state. Travel protection isn’t. Less reputable brokers may try to pass off travel protection as insurance, which means you could be getting less than you bargained for – and possibly no coverage at all.

•    Use a reputable company. Visit www.AMBest.com to see current ratings for a provider. A.M. Best is a worldwide insurance rating and information agency, and any reputable company will be rated by it.

•         Shop around, and be sure to read policies very carefully to make sure you know exactly what is covered. If you have questions, talk to a licensed travel agent.

Published on May 12, 2009