A Mini Travel Insurance Overview
Over the past seven months working here at Estate at Fly Creek, I’ve had a few conversations with potential guests about travel insurance. As a result of these discussions, I’ve realized we all have so much to learn. I thought I would do a little research and share my findings.
These are the questions I had. What is travel insurance? What does travel insurance cover? Do you really need travel insurance? If yes, what type of coverage is best for your particular travel adventure? What are the expected costs?
First of all, travel insurance can be referred to as travel protection or trip insurance. There are basic coverage plans as well as extra add-on coverages. Travel protection is not required with U.S. travel, but some countries require some form of coverage before you arrive – especially emergency medical insurance.
Because insurance is a legal contract, it would most definitely behoove you to read the coverage description – and the fine print – very carefully. All travel insurance is not created equal. Some are simple enough, with basic coverage, while others have extra levels of bells and whistles. Each type of policy has specific benefits and exclusions. Of course, price varies, too.
As with any insurance, travel insurance can help reduce your out-of-pocket, should things go awry – whether that be a missed flight, medical issues abroad, or ever-changing COVID-related travel restrictions. It is your safety net.
Types of Travel Insurance Options
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Trip Cancellation and Interruption coverage is an add-on to your base travel insurance which covers specific problems that prevent you from going on a trip—or that interrupt a trip after you’ve left, such as an illness, accident, family death or a job interruption. It could cover you if your trip has been delayed or interrupted by a missed connection or lost baggage.
It can also cover travel problems due to weather delays or disasters. Even issues such as uninhabitable accommodations due to vandalism or burglary. Political issues or violence that could affect your travels could be covered.
You really can’t afford to travel without this type of coverage.
It’s key to understand for this to be useful, you must buy it when you start booking tickets and not a week before your vacation starts. It is equally key to understand not all plans will cover interruption until you’ve actually left home.
Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) Cancel for Any Reason is different from Trip Cancellation; though, it is also an add-on. It can reimburse a portion, typically up to 50- to 75-percent, of your trip cost, depending on the plan purchased. A policy with CFAR selected can cost an additional 40- to 60-percent more than a standard policy, is not available in all states, and eligibility requirements may differ by company.
Some eligibility requirements are: insuring 100-percent of pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs, purchasing your coverage within 10-21 days after making your initial trip payment/deposit, and you must cancel your trip no less than two days prior to departure.
Personal Liability If you are involved in an accident and inadvertently cause damage, Personal Liability insurance can cover your liability and legal expenses. Not all insurance companies offer Personal Liability policies.
Missed Connection Coverage When you miss a trip due to a flight delay due to inclement weather or by a common carrier – like an airline, train or bus – you should be reimbursed for additional travel expenses or any pre-paid, nonrefundable part of the trip missed.
Emergency Medical and Dental Insurance This covers medical and dental expenses for accidental injuries and illnesses. It will not cover pre-existing problems. Usually, this is a secondary coverage to your personal health or dental plan.
Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance This will cover costs associated to transporting you, and an escort, along with dependent children, to an adequate healthcare facility, should there not be a local facility available. And, will bring you back to the states if you’ve been hospitalized for over seven days. Usually, a licensed physician must order and certify that your condition warrants an emergency evacuation.
Emergency Non-Medical Evacuation Insurance If an appropriate authority confirms it is not safe to stay due to a natural disaster or political unrest, this policy pays for evacuation and then one-way economy airfare to either your host country or home country.
Baggage and Personal Belongings This pays for lost, stolen or damaged baggage and personal items. You’ll typically be required to prove you’ve taken reasonable steps to keep your items safe and have filed a police report to the local authorities within 24-hours. You could be reimbursed for either the actual price, current market value or cost to repair or replace your item – whichever costs less. A policy could require that you provide original receipts for items over a certain amount. If you don’t have original receipts, the policy won’t pay.
Electronic and Sporting Equipment Coverage Because most policies don’t cover higher-valued items, such as sports’ equipment, laptops, cameras, cash or jewelry, you may opt for additional insurance to cover these types of items. This will reimburse the cost to repair or pay for a portion of the replacement, based on the age, of the missing items.
Delayed Baggage Coverage If your baggage is delayed by a common carrier or hotel or tour operator, this coverage pays for the expense of replacing necessary personal effects. This typically does not include items like jewelry, perfume or alcohol.
Rental Car Collision Insurance This generally covers the cost of repairs and other expenses if your rental car is damaged due to specific listed difficulties covered by the policy. You may already be covered through your own auto insurance or through the credit card you’ve used for the rental.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) This should pay out if you suffer certain injuries or die due an accidental injury on your trip. It may also pay out if you disappear for over a year.
Coronavirus and Travel Insurance The purpose of insurance is to cover unforeseen travel events and to protect you from them. Now that COVID has been with us for a while, some insurance companies have adopted the stance that coronavirus is now considered a foreseen event and is therefore not covered – or covered with limited benefits – within their travel policies. In fact, some travel insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for problems related to epidemics and pandemics.
This is yet another reason to have CFAR coverage, which can be used if you’ve simply changed your mind, for whatever reason, about traveling.
What’s Not Covered
Make no assumptions regarding your travel insurance. It’s vital to really read your travel insurance policy before you sign on the dotted line. Though there are many benefits, there are oftentimes a myriad of activity exclusions – such as getting hurt while participating in adventure sports or competition. Items not covered could be medicines, cosmetics, credit cards, money orders or artificial teeth. Dental work that is not due to an accident is usually not covered.
Travel insurance usually ends the minute you arrive home. So if you have bought a policy for 12 months and come home after a couple months, chances are you won’t be entitled to a refund on the unused portion.
Cost of Travel Insurance
Though the cost varies by insurance company, your chosen coverage types along with a myriad of other factors, travel insurance typically costs between 5- to 10-percent of your total trip cost. The flexibility of CFAR can add 40-percent more to the cost of the policy.
When setting rates, travel insurance companies usually look at factors such as:
- Trip cost. Trip cost is based on the prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses you want to insure, like airfare, hotels, tour costs, event tickets, excursions and park passes.
- Age. Generally, the older you are, the more expensive travel insurance becomes.
- Number of travelers. The more people insured under the plan, the more you can expect to pay.
- Destination. Some travel insurance plans will factor in the destination, considering things like crime rates and remote locations that don’t have quick access to medical facilities.
- Trip length. Typically, the longer you’re away, the higher the premium.
- Coverage selection. A basic policy will be less expensive than a policy loaded with optional coverage types.
When looking for the highest-quality coverage that doesn’t break the bank, it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best deal available.
When to Consider Travel Insurance
- If you’re planning a vacation costing $5-thousand or more.
- If it will offer you peace of mind – even if for only trip interruption or other considerations.
- If you’re taking a tour. Many tour operators have the most restrictive refund rules.
- If you have a complicated or lengthy itinerary. When one part has a hiccup, it could affect other aspects of your plan.
- If you’re traveling abroad. Out-of-country healthcare providers often require upfront payments. Medical evacuations and repatriations are also very pricey. And, Medicare doesn’t usually cover you out of the country.
As you can see, though you might not always need travel insurance, there are times when having it is a good safety net. I hope I’ve given you enough information to help you make a good decision for your particular vacation plans.
We care about you and your travels. We want you to travel safely so you can make the most of your holiday. And, we hope your travels bring you to our doorstep, here at our luxury vacation rental – Estate at Fly Creek. Please check out our website or call today at 607-547-5216 to learn more.