If you are planning a trip abroad or an expensive trip within the U.S., Travel/Medical insurance may be worth checking into. By having the necessary coverage, it may prevent financial losses caused by unforeseen circumstances or emergency medical treatment.
When prepayments or deposits are required prior to travel, oftentimes these are nonrefundable. Emergencies, flight delays, or last minute schedule changes may force you to have to cancel or postpone your trip, which could result in the loss of a substantial amount of money.
If you decide to purchase travel/medical insurance, be sure to get the facts on exactly what is covered and the allowable reasons for cancellation. Even a policy that covers “cancel for any reason” has restrictions. Find out what is not covered.
Basic Facts on what is Covered:
- Trip Cancellation/Delay/Interruption Insurance
- Personal Property/Baggage/Rental Car Damage
- Medical/Dental/Accidental Death Insurance
There are many different policies and combinations of coverage, so check at least three different travel insurance companies for comparison.
What is Travel/Medical Insurance?
Travel Insurance protects the financial investment of your trip. It typically covers against losses that can occur through non-refundable deposits or expenses paid out for airfare, hotel, cruises, or tours. It covers cancellations and trip interruptions (for specified reasons); travel delays; and lost, damaged, or stolen personal property; as well as partial coverage on rental cars (most cover theft or damage to the vehicle, but not liability). With travel insurance, you will be reimbursed for expenses and deposits that have already been paid out.
Medical Insurance offers emergency medical and dental treatments, medical evacuation, and a number of other medical related situations. This is especially important when traveling abroad if your health insurance provider does not cover you outside the U.S., or if there are stipulations on coverage or restrictions on what medical facilities you are able to use.
Medicare does not provide coverage in foreign countries. Doctors and medical facilities abroad require payment prior to service, and most do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Many travel medical insurance providers have an arrangement with medical facilities abroad, so that payments can be made directly—thus you will only be responsible for any deductible, rather than the entire bill. Other insurance providers may reimburse you within a specified time frame.
Emergency Medical Transportation:
Most U.S. health insurance providers do not cover the cost of emergency medical transportation back to the U.S. or to another hospital abroad. Transportation charges from a foreign country or a cruise ship can end up costing $10,000 to upwards of $100,000 or more, depending on your location. Most travel medical insurers offer emergency medical transportation as an option.
Travel insurance companies and policies differ in price and coverage that is offered. It is important to know exactly what will be covered and the specified acceptable reasons for cancellation. Many travelers who purchased travel insurance found out later that they were not covered when they experienced a loss. The reason? There were stipulations in the fine print that they were unaware of. Find out what are acceptable reasons for canceling a trip.
In regards to travel medical insurance, find out if pre-existing conditions are covered and any requirements or age limits. Some companies may require that you purchase the coverage within a specified time frame based on the date of your first deposit for the trip. For example, it may require that you purchase pre-existing coverage within 7 to 14 days. Other companies will not cover pre-existing conditions or may charge a higher premium to older travelers.
What is the average cost?
Generally, it is about 4 – 8% (up to 10% for ‘cancel for any reason’) of the cost of the total trip. If you plan on traveling frequently in a 12 month period, check into the option of an annual policy.
For insightful travel ideas, check out my book:
Know Before You Go: Traveling the U.S. and Abroad
and wherever books are sold