8 Mistakes People Make When Buying Travel Insurance

Travel doesn’t go as you expect. In the age of COVID-19, we know better.

As the pandemic continues to disrupt and cancel vacations, many people are getting involved in trying to mitigate the effects of travel changes. Data shows that the pandemic has caused many Americans to do so purchase travel insurance ― or at least think about it.

But with most travel insurance purchases out there, mistakes are bound to happen. We asked experts to share the mistakes people make when buying travel insurance — as well as their tips for getting the most bang for your buck.

Waiting too long to buy

“Travel insurance is designed to cover the unexpected, the unexpected,” says Megan Moncrief, head of marketing at the travel insurance comparison site. Squaremouth. “That’s why it’s important to buy a policy before an event happens that could affect your trip.”

For example, he said, you may have to worry about hurricanes if you book a Caribbean cruise in early September. “It would be important to buy the system before the season – preferably, before the storm is named,” Moncrief said.

The sooner you purchase travel insurance, the more protection you will have.

“It’s the best way to buy travel insurance as soon as you have the money to start a trip – just like you would book a flight or hotel,” said Jeff Rolander, director of claims at the travel insurance startup. Faye. “In most cases, to have access to the full benefits of your policy, you must purchase travel protection within 14 days of your first trip.”

Don’t look at the benefits of your credit card

“The biggest mistake is buying insurance that you don’t need or buying too much treatment,” said the economist and budget expert Andrea Woroch. He said, for example, that many people don’t know that rental car insurance is often included in your car insurance or credit card.

Check your credit card details to see if there are any travel insurance benefits. If you book your trip with that card, then you will qualify for the benefits and will not need to purchase a separate insurance policy.

“It is important to understand what type of coverage the credit card provides, which may include delayed baggage, lost/damaged baggage, travel delay, cancellation or disruption, medical care or flight, travel accident and/or credit card insurance,” he said. Woroch.

If you travel frequently but have a credit card that doesn’t have travel insurance, consider looking at a new card to help lower your insurance costs. Woroch suggested comparing travel credit cards on sites like CardRates.com.

He pointed to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which includes trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip (including trip delay insurance, delay insurance, loss insurance, rental car insurance and travel accident insurance). Woroch noted that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card offers the same benefits.

“You can have travel insurance through different members without realizing it,” he said. “For example, the AAA Premier Membership plan offers solid travel coverage including up to $1,500 for flight disruptions or delays and up to $500 for lost baggage.”

Kittiphan Teerawattanakul/EyeEm via Getty Images

Check the benefits offered by a credit card before purchasing travel insurance.

Buying the wrong policy for your needs

Not every travel insurance policy is right for every situation.

“When buying travel insurance, it’s important for travelers to be clear about their travel concerns and the type of coverage they want,” Moncrief said. “Especially post-pandemic, we’re seeing a new group of travel insurance buyers who don’t know much about the product.”

Of course, buying travel insurance requires some thought and research. Before you start paying premium prices, think about what you do and don’t need covered, and consider calling an expert if you’re not sure.

Light up the fine print

“One of the biggest mistakes is not knowing what’s covered in the travel insurance you buy, as most people don’t read it properly,” Woroch said. “So do your homework and research details ― you might think you’re getting something you’re not getting.”

Remember that travel insurance is like any other insurance, so it doesn’t pay anything.

“Read your policy document when you buy travel insurance,” said Angela Borden, a marketing specialist with a travel insurance company. Seven Corners. “You will have a better understanding of your benefits, which will take away some of the frustration of complaining and realizing that your problem is not covered,” he said. And “you’ll know what to do, like file a lawsuit in a short amount of time.”

Paying more than needed

A trade-off between price and value exists in the insurance world, but that doesn’t mean everyone should pay top dollar for their travel insurance.

“When you find policies that provide adequate coverage, travelers don’t have to shy away from the low-cost option,” Moncrief said. “The premium is based on factors such as the length of the trip, the number of passengers, and their age – it is not an indicator of how reliable the service provider is, or how easily their policy is managed.”

“In general, if a traveler wants to protect the cost of their trip with a cancellation policy, they should expect to pay between 4-10% of the cost,” he continued. “Most travel insurance policies are comprehensive and include several benefits in addition to travel cancellation. Travelers who do not have a non-refundable deposit, or who are not covered by premium insurance, can find a more affordable option with benefits such as medical and flight, delay and baggage.”

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Make sure you understand what you can and can’t afford on your travel insurance policy before purchasing your policy.

Misunderstanding the claims process

“The most common mistake we see today is not so much about buying a plan, but how to use their plan, especially in the application process,” Moncrief said. Travel insurance is designed to make a traveler whole, covering unplanned expenses incurred throughout their trip.

For example, travelers who experience problems or difficulties during travel can be offered vouchers or credits from suppliers, such as airlines. But this can confuse things.

“To be eligible for reimbursement from their policy, [the traveler] they should not receive any money, credits or vouchers from their travel agents,” said Moncrief, stressing the importance of understanding what one is giving and what may be required for repayment.

“Most travel insurance policies come with a ‘money back guarantee’ period, where a traveler can cancel their money back policy if they review their requirements and are not satisfied with their plan,” he said. “All the plans also come with 24-hour emergency assistance while traveling. When they want to use their policy, we recommend contacting the support department immediately, because they can help them in their best interests, and in most cases they can stop repaying the loan.”

Forgetting medical treatment

“Many travelers don’t know that their major insurance doesn’t cover overseas,” Moncrief said.

For these reasons, it is useful to consider a comprehensive plan that includes medical insurance, including reimbursement for things such as lost property and trip cancellation or disruption.

“Most Americans, when they think of travel insurance, they think of [are] stakeholders to protect their travel, while the biggest financial risk they face is unexpected injury, illness, and/or hospitalization while on their journey,” said Omar Kaywan, co-founder and CEO of the financial institution. Goose Insurance. “The biggest mistake that consumers make is buying medical care, and/or buying medical care that doesn’t fit their needs.”

He added that many policies limit existing medical standards and may contain certain exclusions. So if you have a pre-existing condition, make sure you check the terms before you buy. The same is true if you want to participate in sports or other activities.

“Other methods exclude participating in sports such as scuba diving, spelunking, bungee jumping, or any kind of sport. [of] team sports, so buyers who plan to participate in the sport should review the terms and conditions before purchasing,” said Kaywan. “We’ve seen many mistakes when buying a ski vacation plan that you don’t have support for.”

Be aware of the removal of the specific area and the rules under it.

“If you are traveling to other countries, please check the requirements of the country you are going to to ensure that your medical conditions are adequate,” said Kaywan. “It’s still like COVID [in] among us, many countries require health care and/or housing allowances.”

Do not call customers

“When you buy from a travel insurance company, you work with licensed insurance agents who can answer all of your questions and help you choose the best coverage,” Borden said.

A good insurance provider should also help you after you buy a policy and if you need to repay the loan. Look for companies with good customer service that allow communication with people, not just bots.

“Avoid mistakes by calling the travel insurance agent you want to travel with, and asking them for more information about your question,” Rolander said. “If you can’t reach them or get a clear answer to your questions, that’s a red flag that you need to consult with other agents to help you on your journey.”

She also says that calling can help you learn about travel issues that may be eligible for a refund — such as accidental damage to a vacation rental (broken lamp, wine stain on carpet, stove fire), tickets for things you can’t get to, flight delays. and cancellations (and other expenses such as food or hotels), or delayed goods.