Travelers, don’t set foot on a plane without this financial safety net

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Spending just half an hour researching this could save you a fortune later.


Key points

  • Travel is unpredictable right now, with lots of cancellations, delays and lost luggage.
  • Travel insurance can help mitigate the financial effects of all this chaos.

You’ve probably seen the reports on all the flight delays, cancellations and lost luggage this summer. I experienced all three on my trip to Greece in June, and it was hard on me and my wallet.

Although there was nothing I could have done to prevent these things from happening to me, I certainly could have taken more steps to protect my money before leaving. This is the one thing I really wish I had done, and I now recommend it to anyone planning to travel soon.

A little insurance goes a long way

It’s been over a month since I returned from my trip and although I have filed complaints with the airline, I have yet to see a dime. Travel insurance could have helped me get the money I needed to cover my unexpected bills much faster.

The exact coverage options vary by policy, but most travel insurance policies cover the following:

  • Trip cancellation : Travelers who are forced to cancel a trip due to a natural disaster, unforeseen medical emergency or other covered reason are reimbursed for travel expenses up to the policy limit.
  • Trip Interruption: Travelers who need to return home from their trip early for a covered reason can file a travel insurance claim for all costs associated with this last-minute return.
  • Travel delay: Those who incur additional expenses, such as hotel or transportation costs, due to a trip delay, can file a travel insurance claim. The same goes for those who miss prepaid expenses, such as an excursion, due to being late.
  • Baggage delay: Travel insurance reimburses travelers for items they have had to purchase in the meantime if their bag is lost during their trip.
  • Lost or damaged baggage: If an airline loses or damages baggage, travel insurance will pay travelers for their lost or damaged items.
  • Emergency medical care: Standard health insurance may not cover treatment at the travel location, so travel insurance provides emergency medical and dental benefits. Many also cover emergency medical transportation costs.
  • Rental car: Some travel insurance plans include auto insurance for rental cars.
  • Amendment fees: A travel insurance policy can reimburse the traveler for expenses they incur if they need to change their travel dates for a covered reason.

But travel insurance, like most other types of insurance, has its limits. Some may impose a waiting period before the benefits take effect. There may also be limits on how long a trip or baggage delay will last before they are eligible for reimbursement. The policies also do not cover the following:

  • Cancellation for any reason
  • Pregnancy-related expenses
  • Refundable reservations
  • Adventure Sports Injuries

This is why it is advisable to read the fine print of the travel insurance policy before purchasing one. Those with questions should contact the company to clarify so they don’t encounter any surprises when they go to file a claim.

How to get travel insurance

Before considering a dedicated travel insurance policy, see what your credit card offers. Many travel credit cards already offer some of these benefits, such as car rental insurance. If so, it doesn’t make sense for you to pay for an additional policy.

Those who decide to purchase travel insurance can find policies offered by several well-known P&C insurers. There are also a number of specialist insurers that exclusively sell travel insurance. Either can be a good choice, as long as they are financially sound and have excellent customer service with flexible policies.

Interested travelers can view the company’s financial strength ratings from independent agencies like AM Best and S&P Global Ratings. Everyone has their own grading system, but anything with an A or better is usually pretty strong. This suggests that the company is financially able to pay claims if necessary.

It’s also a good idea to dig into their online customer service notes. This can alert travelers to possible issues others have had with the company.

Finally, get quotes from several companies and compare their coverage options and prices. Go for the one that offers the best value for money. Focusing on price alone could backfire if the traveler were to file a claim later.

You may never need to use travel insurance, but if you find yourself in a situation similar to mine this summer, trust me, you’ll be glad you had it. At least take the time to review it and see if it fits into your vacation budget before making a decision.

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