Lori Park, who lives in Chicago, and her 80-year-old mother Nancy Park were on a vacation to Hawaii when Nancy became ill. He spent five days in the ship’s hospital before being transferred to Mexico and returned to the United States.
All the medical care and transportation added up to thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses, but it was all covered by the $436 travel insurance the two women bought before they left.
Lori Park says she won’t take a vacation without insurance. “It’s something I consider important every time I go,” he says.
Do you need travel insurance?
There are five broad types of travel insurance: airline policies that pay out if your plane crashes; property insurance coverage for damaged, lost or stolen property; interruption/cancellation insurance to reimburse you for trips that don’t take place; medical insurance for doctor’s visits and hospitalization; and evacuation assistance that pays for your transfer to the appropriate hospital. You can buy them individually or in bundles.
Travel experts say insurance can help people avoid costly expenses, as Parks did. But it is not necessary for everyone.
“Insurance adds about 13% to the cost of a trip,” says Jay Smith, president of Sports Travel and Tours in Hatfield, Massachusetts, which specializes in sports. “If someone is traveling locally, or if the airfare is refundable or applicable at a later date, and the hotel is canceled before departure – even 48 hours in advance, then there is no real reason for insurance.”
You don’t need insurance that covers the cost of accommodation and flights if you want to stay with friends and buy your ticket with frequent flyer points. You can take out insurance for situations that will cost you a lot of money (for example, having a serious illness that requires medical attention or missing a cruise due to a flight delay).
Also read: 12 ways to adapt your holiday to rising prices
How to buy travel insurance
To find the right policy, you need to think about the type of coverage you want and the amount of risk you can afford, and shop around to get the least amount.
Insurance companies price policies based on your destination, transportation options (scheduled or charter flights? rental car or taxi?) accommodations (ship? resort? Airbnb?) activities (swimming with sharks? skydiving?) local weather. (hurricane season in the Caribbean?).
Next, they look at age and previous experience. Insurance will be more expensive for a person in their 80s than in their 70s. People in their 70s, going on a long trip abroad, even if they have been vaccinated, will see a quote of $10,000. That’s why it’s important to shop around and compare policies, benefits and costs.
What kind of support do you need or want? While COVID is still active, you may want to cover yourself and your party for the disease. Choose a plan that provides primary medical care and not secondary care; the latter requires you to submit a claim to your regular health insurance company first and then follow up with the travel insurance company to receive any credit.
The cost of travel insurance will depend on the amount of medical care and travel you purchase. High dollar limits are good, but expensive. You may want to consider “cancellation for any reason”, which, as the name suggests, will refund you the cost of a trip that you cancel for any reason – even if you change your mind.
Dan Drennen, director of sales and marketing for the Travel Insurance Center in Omaha, Nebraska, says: “It’s always a good idea to pay a premium, which is non-refundable, especially during hurricane season. “If you have a travel cancellation policy purchased before a hurricane is named, you can rest easy knowing that if a hurricane ruins your trip, it won’t destroy your bank account.”
It doesn’t take a storm to explain why it’s worth considering travel insurance. Janet Jones Caraker, of Island Jack’s Travel in Dexter, Missouri, says she knows a traveler who took her entire family, her husband, grown children, and grandchildren on a trip to Ireland. They chose not to buy insurance and while there, the woman’s husband died.
“There is no sorrow like having it.” [pay] $100,000 for her husband’s body to be taken care of and sent home,” says Caraker. “There are people who can afford it, but many can’t.”
It’s not about how much you lose if you can’t or don’t take the trip; How much is a vacation rental? How expensive will transportation, lodging and activities be next year, or later? And when will you have the chance to go on that vacation, especially a bucket list trip that requires combining vacation days for multiple family members?
See also: Don’t be fooled by these myths about travel insurance and what it covers
How to save money on travel insurance
Just as coverage can vary from insurance to insurance, so does the cost. To save money on insurance, start by checking your credit card to see if it offers coverage. If you choose to pay for insurance, buy as little as you need – if your property is worth $2,500, don’t insure $15,000. If you pay for cruises, resorts or flights with changeable seats, you don’t need to insure them at all.
Most of the time, Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States. If you have a private Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplemental plan, check to see if it offers such coverage. If not, you will need travel insurance that will cover medical expenses abroad. If you travel frequently, consider an annual plan that covers all your trips.
If you are paying for your vacation in installments before you travel, will the insurer allow you to pay the insurance in installments? You don’t want to pay the full cost of insurance if you only put 10% down.
Find out what the pre-existing condition is. In general, if you have diabetes, for example, this is only considered “pre-existing” if your medication is changed within two weeks or more of your departure.
Related: Why do you pay for travel insurance? You can already be helped.
The bottom line is that if you are going to buy travel insurance, you should read the fine print and write a lot of notes so that you can compare what is offered, what is not and what it will cost.
Judy Colbert, author of 36 books, writes about travel and the travel business.
This article is reprinted with permission from the source NextAvenue.org© 2022 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.
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