The Dos and Don'ts of Travel Insurance

The summer travel season is here and whether you are hitting the road or taking to the skies, don’t pack your bags without checking your travel insurance. While away from home, even a minor medical issue can turn into an expensive ordeal.

Don’t assume all plans are created equal

Travel insurance plans can range from minimal emergency hospital coverage to an all-inclusive plan that will replace every toothbrush from a delayed suitcase. Think what you want to have covered and make sure the plan you choose meets those needs but doesn’t leave you paying for coverage options you don’t want.

Don’t count on your credit cards

Just because your credit card advertises travel protection, does not mean it covers everything.  Most credit cards only offer emergency travel medical benefits until age 65, so make sure you keep up on any changes in the cardholder agreement.

Don’t wait too long

Policies that include cancellation insurance with medical coverage must be purchased within a few days of booking your ticket or making deposits. Make sure to check with the insurer that you are within the time limits.

Don’t sacrifice coverage for convenience

Many travel providers offer some form or insurance when booking online or over the phone. It is convenient, but make sure it is the right plan for you. Some tour companies offer their own cancellation or interruption insurance, but at claim time you may be surprised to find out you are not receiving money back, but a credit with the company that can only be used in limited circumstances.

Don’t assume health problems will keep you from getting insurance

Some niche companies, specializing in policies for seniors, offer medically underwritten policies that insure travellers and health conditions that otherwise would not be covered. Stability is an important factor in determining rates and exclusions for travel policies with any insurer. Even if a condition is excluded, a few months later, the same condition, if stable, may be covered by the same insurer.

Do Plan Ahead

If you travel more than twice a year, an annual plan is a great way to maximize your travel insurance dollars. With options for insuring trips ranging from four to thirty days, you are covered the year and already have your coverage paid for.

Do check what you have

Your employee benefits or individual health insurance may have emergency travel medical insurance included. The coverage may decrease or terminate at a certain age, so contact your provider.  You can add days or enhance your coverage as needed.  Confirm how you plan covers travel expenses as you may have to pay for services while away and then submit the claim once you return.

Do Shop Around

You may have access to lower premium rates and not know it. Contact any professional associations or organizations that you are a member of and see if they offer plans or have arranged discounts for members. Compare