Don’t Let Emergencies Ruin Your Vacation

How to Insure Your Summer Travel—and Your Memories
BY Mike Valles TIMEJuly 20, 2022 PRINT

Now that summer has arrived, it is the perfect time to travel abroad. You are almost ready to take that trip you have diligently planned and waited for. Should you purchase travel insurance? Despite your planning, problems can occur that may delay or ruin your vacation.  Travel insurance could ease the stress of unexpected travel complications.

If you have been watching the news lately, you are aware that many people’s travel plans have recently been riddled with problems. Things like COVID-19, weather, shortage of pilots, fuel costs, travel delays, and other events can make it difficult to get to your desired destination.

What Travel Insurance Does

Travel insurance aims to reduce the risk of financial loss when traveling. It helps travelers by covering them financially for trip expenses, health, and personal belongings.  You can purchase stand-alone policies that cover individual risks, or opt for a comprehensive plan that offers a range of coverage.

travel insurance, summer vacation, traveling
Travel delays or problems can tarnish your vacation memories. (Dean Drobot/ShutterStock)

Reimbursement for Trip Cancellations

While travel insurance cannot fix problems that arise with vacation travel, it can at least defray their financial impact. Imagine planning a honeymoon in the Bahamas—with hotel reservations and a rental car—and a hurricane causes a cancellation. Or, you suddenly get too sick to travel. Air lines and cruise ships do not always reimburse travelers.

Trip cancellation insurance—which can be purchased as a stand alone policy or as part of a comprehensive policy—generally covers unforeseen events such as death, natural disasters, or unforeseen legal obligations.

Cancel for Any Reason Policies

However, most travel insurance companies do not allow you to cancel for just any reason. What if you develop a fear of flying, or you have a fight with your travel companion?  If you think you may cancel a trip for reasons not usually covered by travel insurance, you may want to purchase a “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) policy–which will cost about 40 percent more, says CNBC. Even with this coverage, you will generally be expected to cancel more than 48 hours before the expected travel. Reimbursement is usually in the range of 50 to 75 percent of your travel cost.

travel insurance, summer vacation, traveling
While travel insurance cannot fix problems, it can at least defray their financial impact. (Shutterstock)

Medical Coverage

One of the biggest reasons to buy travel insurance is for travel’s medical aspect. A growing list of countries require people to be covered by travel medical insurance. This is necessary, because most domestic health insurance policies do not provide, or provide only limited coverage outside the United States. If you’re a senior, Medicare only provides medical care outside the country under certain very limited circumstances.(pdf)

Medical problems can also ruin a vacation. COVID-19 is an example, or norovirus outbreaks. Currently, not all travel insurance plans offer coverage for COVID-19 or other epidemics. Forbes advises that if a policy covers you for COVID-19, check to see if it will cover the extra costs involved if you are quarantined.

travel insurance, summer vacation, traveling
Currently, only some travel insurance plans offer options to cover you for COVID-19 related travel issues.(SB Arts Media/Shutterstock)

Stand-alone vs. Comprehensive

Buying stand-alone medical coverage may be sufficient if you have policies to cover other travel risks. Medical travel insurance will cover you in the event of a heart attack, stroke, car accident, injury, illness, or even death.

Even if travel medical insurance provides coverage for unexpected health issues on your trip, make sure it also covers pre-existing conditions, if you have them.

Medical insurance for travelers provides coverage for medical treatment at your destination. It may also cover emergency medical evacuation or repatriation, 24-hour assistance, and accidental death and dismemberment.

If you’re a senior, you should know that medical coverage will be more expensive.

Reimbursement for Lost Items

If your luggage or personal items get lost or damaged while traveling, it can certainly create problems–and inconvenience. This is always a risk, and staff shortages at baggage carriers—left over from COVID-19—mean this risk may be even greater at present.

When your luggage is lost or damaged while in a carrier’s hands, the U.S. Department of Transportation says that airlines are responsible for reimbursing you. However, reimbursement limits, depreciation, varying definitions of “lost” and “reasonable,” and red tape may complicate the reimbursement process.

Travel insurance will generally cover items like electronics, cameras, jewelry, or sports equipment, up to a limit. Your homeowner’s or renter’s policy may allow you to schedule coverage on these items as well.

Travel insurance will not cover some types of personal items. CoverTrip says that travel insurance will not replace the following: stolen cash, stamps, money orders, stocks and bonds, deeds, hearing aids, glasses, artificial limbs, musical instruments, and more.

travel insurance, summer vacation, traveling
If your luggage is lost or damaged while in a carrier’s hands, airlines and cruise ships are responsible for reimbursing you. (Adam Kent/PA)

Personal Help

When traveling in a foreign country among people whose language you do not understand, getting assistance from English-speaking people can be a real help when you need it. Travel insurance companies frequently offer a 24/7 hotline to assist you with many issues.

When plans are interrupted–such as transportation or hotel accommodations, your insurer can help you make new arrangements. It can also help with visa problems, medical treatment, embassy locations, and more.

Travel Insurance Cost

When considering the protection you get with travel insurance, it is not overly expensive. Typical travel insurance costs, Nerdwallet says, are based on the cost of your trip and your destination. The price of medical treatment at your destination, the amount of coverage you want, and your age, are also factors in the cost. Generally, you can expect travel insurance to cost from four to eight percent of your total trip cost, while a cancel for any reason policy may cost 40 to 60 percent more.

Use a Travel Insurance Broker

When buying travel insurance, shop around. An insurance broker will allow you to compare multiple policies. Since you may have specific needs or goals with travel insurance, you need to look them over to ensure coverage for what you need.

A popular travel insurance broker site is SquareMouth. The site lets you compare quotes and reviews for dozens of travel insurance policies.

travel insurance, summer vacation, traveling
When buying travel insurance, shop around to compare rates. (Fizkes/Shutterstock)

Check Your Existing Insurance First

Your health, life, or homeowner’s insurance may already provide some coverage while abroad. If so, you may be able to avoid purchasing some types of travel insurance.

When going abroad, you want to have some fun and relaxation. Having a good travel insurance policy will help ensure that unforeseen events do not destroy your dream.

The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.

Mike Valles
Mike Valles has been a freelance writer for many years and focuses on personal finance articles. He writes articles and blog posts for companies and lenders of all sizes and seeks to provide quality information that is up-to-date and easy to understand.
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