UNDERSTANDING TRAVEL INSURANCE-Do not leave home without it!

NIEFANG RESCUE (39)

ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE

No matter the countries you choose to visit, it is of utmost importance that you make sure you are covered with travel insurance. France for example, may be just a “hop across the pond” as some like to say, but you are entering a foreign country and accidents can happen just as they do at home. You, or your traveling companion, may fall, get injured, or get into an accident while sightseeing. Did you know you would have to pay all medical bills including emergency, doctor and hospital care out of pocket before you leave the country? Most people could not afford this and would be financially devastated. That said, the health care in some Western European countries is superior to the one in the United States, and far less expensive.

Some visitors believe that if they need medical attention in a country with Socialized medicine that they do not have to pay; Socialized medicine is for the citizens of the country in question. The health insurance premiums are paid by the citizens in the form of high taxes and does not mean free treatment for anyone who walks in the hospital from another country.

With an inexpensive but valuable travel medical insurance policy you would be covered should the unfortunate happen and leave you to enjoy your vacation in countries in Europe without worry.

Most of us have heard horror stories about inadequately insured travelers who go off on holiday feeling perfectly well and then an unfortunate accident puts them in hospital. These unlucky folks find themselves very far from home without personal support systems in place and they’re left with thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. Not fun!

We all know that it’s important to carry health insurance yet do we really know how best to insure ourselves.  I am always surprised with how many people don’t take out travel insurance when they travel. As an avid traveler and a Tour Manager, one of the first things I do, is ensure I have my travel insurance coverage.

When planning a vacation, nobody wants to think about what might go wrong, but the reality is that things can go wrong even with the most meticulously prepared trips. Flights can get cancelled; luggage can get lost; and injuries can occur. Do you have a plan for those less-than-perfect vacation moments? Here is some information about Travel Insurance for you to read:

Do You Need Insurance?

If you’re asking yourself whether you need to buy travel insurance for an upcoming trip, first look at the insurance policies you already have to see what they will cover. Some health insurance policies will cover medical emergencies overseas while others will not. Many home-owner’s policies cover baggage loss. Also, many credit card companies offer their members baggage loss, international medical assistance, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance if they simply charge their airline tickets on their credit card or for a small additional fee.

In a perfect world, all events would go exactly according to plan on that fabulous vacation or successful business trip. But let’s face it, bad things happen to good people all the time, and the most logical thing we can do is prepare ourselves. Travel Insurance could not make preparing any easier.

What is Travel Insurance?

This insurance covers the medical expenses and financial losses that could arise while you are away from home on a trip, whether it is for business or recreation. It can be purchased for trips of any length (be it five days or five months), and can be tailored to your specific needs. This type of insurance is typically sold as either a package plan or a travel medical plan.

PACKAGE PLANS

Package plans are popular among travelers because they bring several types of coverage together into one policy.

Package plans typically include:

• Medical coverage

• Emergency evacuation/repatriation of remains

• Accidental death and dismemberment coverage

• Last-minute trip cancellation (due to illness, inclement weather, etc.)

• Delayed or lost baggage insurance (including reimbursement for the replacement of essentials)

• Flight delay/cancellation insurance (If your travel plans are delayed for several hours, the insurance company will cover hotel accommodations and meals while you wait, and make new travel arrangements on your behalf)

• Trip interruption coverage (If inclement weather, illness, or injury cuts your trip short, you’ll be reimbursed for the unused portion of your trip)

• Replacement of travel documents, belongings and money that is lost or stolen

• Legal assistance

• 24-hour concierge service (to help you find medical care, change travel plans, etc.)

Package plans are typically purchased by:

• Those traveling abroad

• Purchasers of vacation packages (where large, non-refundable pre-payments are required)

• People going on a cruise (due to both the large, non-refundable pre-payments and the distance from medical care)

• Business travelers

• Senior travelers

TRAVEL MEDICAL PLANS

Travel medical plans provide emergency assistance, medical coverage and emergency evacuation for those traveling abroad. In fact, these plans can be purchased for years for those who will be travelling abroad for extended periods of time.

Travel medical plans are typically purchased by:

• Students

• Expatriates

• Businessmen

• Individuals who will be traveling outside of their country and the reach of their health insurance

Other Travel Insurance Options to Consider:

Annual – If you travel several times throughout the year, it may be cheaper to purchase annual insurance rather than a separate policy for each trip. This insurance typically includes medical coverage, emergency evacuation, baggage loss, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage. It does not usually include trip cancellation coverage, though it may be possible to add it.

Student – If you are a student with plans to travel abroad, look into student insurance for travelers. Policies can be purchased for both short trips and extended stays (up to four years) and are tailored to meet student visa requirements.

Business – If you take frequent trips for work, consider business travel insurance. It can be purchased for a single trip or on an annual basis. Coverage extends beyond the normal insurance limits to include reimbursement for canceled conferences and trade shows and reimbursement for lost or stolen laptops, exhibits, cell phones and other work-related items.

Insurance can be purchased from a number of sources. These include:

• Your current insurance provider (for auto, life, etc.)

• American Express Travel Insurance/Allianz/Travelex, Travel  Guard to name a few-you can compare insurance policies and costs among various providers at Insuremytrip.com

• Travel agents

Before You Buy Insurance

Before you invest in a policy, do a full review of your existing insurance coverage. Many home owner’s policies include property loss protection and liability coverage that travels with you, while many credit card companies offer medical assistance and baggage loss protection to customers who charge their airfare to the card. You may even find that your health insurance provider covers overseas medical emergencies. Explore your existing coverage to see where you stand. Then, buy a policy that meets your travel needs.

Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure the policy meets your needs.

Many policies exclude:

• Pre-existing conditions

• Injuries caused by high-risk activities like skydiving or scuba diving

• Travel to high-risk countries (due to war, acts of terrorism or natural disaster)

If any of these exclusions apply to you, do a bit more research to find a travel insurance policy that meets your needs. To make sure your vacation isn’t completely derailed in case something does come up, you may want to consider purchasing a travel insurance policy. It’s a quick and inexpensive way to protect your family and your finances so you can enjoy your travels worry-free. For another great source of information on Travel Insurance check out Rick Steves article.