Buy International Travel Insurance Online
About to take a trip abroad? You should strongly consider international travel insurance. Easily available online with a variety of options, travel or trip insurance policies are designed to address those things that can interfere with your safe and fun vacation.
Most traveler's insurance packages generally provide coverage to protect you against trip related financial losses, and against travel related health and medical issues. They generally also provide 24 hour hotlines worldwide for emergency medical and traveler assistance.
Consumers often incorrectly believe that their credit card companies cover trip cancellation, and that travel agencies and suppliers reimburse travelers who are forced to cancel their trips. They don't. Only travel insurance provides this protection.
Cost and Benefits
Travel insurance is priced as a percentage of trip costs, and typically ranges from 4 to 8%. Generally, older travelers pay more because of higher health risks.
The cost of insurance is small compared to the protection it affords. If you're traveler on a tight budget, you may debate whether to spend the extra money, but most experienced international travelers consider travel insurance to be an essential item.
Important benefits include protection of your ticket costs and possessions. The major value of such insurance for many is its international medical coverage, which can cover you against major health and medical emergencies anywhere in the world.
Conditions and limitations vary by policy. Be sure to read carefully the conditions of your specific policy when you buy it. Types of coverage available include...
Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption: This coverage generally includes non-refundable trip costs if you are unable to travel for reasons of unforeseen illness, injury, or various catastrophes. Most airfares are non-refundable. This coverage can protect your airline ticket investment. Some policies include coverage for terrorism and natural disasters.
Trip Delay: Reimburses you for meal and hotel expenses incurred when a trip is delayed.
Bankruptcy and/or Default of Travel Provider: Some policies cover you against bankruptcy or default of your travel carrier or tour operator. For this coverage, insurance generally must be purchased within a limited time after ticket purchase. For airline bankruptcy coverage, note that some airlines are excluded. Check lists of airlines provided by the insurance company to determine excluded airlines.
Travel Medical Insurance
Emergency Health and Medical: Covers necessary emergency medical costs incurred while traveling. Check with your health care provider whether your US based medical policy covers you abroad. Often, international travel medical insurance provides benefits that your US based health or medical policy does not.
Emergency Medical Evacuation: Covers physician-ordered emergency medical evacuation to an appropriate hospital or medical facility, and can include travel to return home when medically warranted. This coverage generally requires you to contact the insurance provider's hot-line to arrange transportation.
Lost, Stolen, Baggage and Personal Effects: Covers costs relating to lost and stolen items including baggage, personal effects, credit cards, passports, and travel documents during your trip. There are limitations on the replacement values of certain valuable items like jewelry, watches, cameras and computers, so make sure these valuables are scheduled on your own insurance before taking them on your trip.
Baggage Delay: Covers costs related to baggage delays are covered on some policies if baggage is delayed en route, generally for more than 24-hours.
Worldwide Travel Assistance
24-Hour Travel Hotline: Service benefits provided by many insurers help you locate medical and legal care, reissue lost travel documents, track missing luggage, take care of transportation needs, make hotel reservations and cash transfers, and relay business and personal messages.
Additional coverage available on many policies includes flight and travel accident insurance, additional medical coverage, and automobile coverage.
Trip Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance: General optional coverage, compensates for loss of life, limb, or specified faculties because of any injury sustained during a trip.
Flight Accident Insurance: Compensates for death or injury sustained during a flight.
Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Covers rented automobile collison damage on rental automobiles. May be more comprehensive and economical than what is available from car rental companies in international locations, or than the coverage provided on your own auto policy.
When to Buy Your Policy
It's best to buy your policy when you book your trip. Some coverage is only available if you buy within a specified period from the time you buy your ticket.
Prompt insurance purchase helps to avoid exclusions for pre-existing conditions... like weather, health, supplier and terrorist situations... which might arise after your trip is booked but before your departure date. Some insurers also give you free extra coverage for prompt insurance purchase.
Useful Tips When Buying Travel Insurance
Compare available packages and pricing options to make sure you get the coverage you want.
Read the fine print for each coverage item, to make sure that you understand exactly what is being covered and what's not. When online, read available pages, pop-up help windows, and PDF copies of the policy to check travel policy details.
Check your other personal insurance policies, including home, medical, and credit card coverage to see what protection they do and don't provide. Don't assume that they provide international travel coverage.
Travel Insurance Claims
In the event of any losses or claims while traveling, you will be required to establish proof of your claim. Be sure to file all official paperwork, to get copies of receipts, dated documentation, doctor's reports, etc, and to notify the insurer of any problems as they occur.
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