If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably had to foot the bill for issues you encounter while traveling. Whether you’re dealing with lost baggage, a canceled flight, or paying for medical care, travel insurance can provide compensation if you run into trouble while traveling. Here’s a look at different kinds of travel insurance — along with their benefits and drawbacks — so you can make an informed decision the next time you take a trip.
Flight accident insurance
This coverage pays out to a beneficiary if you happen to die in a plane crash. It doesn’t apply to other causes of death, such as an illness acquired overseas. Therefore, flight accident coverage can be redundant if you already have life insurance. Personal finance writer Julia Kagan suggests checking with your life insurance provider to see if your policy has any blind spots that flight accident insurance can cover.
If you’re worried about replacing any belongings that could be lost, damaged, or destroyed in transit, baggage insurance can provide some peace of mind. Typically, this coverage comes bundled with other forms of travel insurance. While it can be reassuring to have the cost of your belongings covered, insurance expert Janet Hunt warns that baggage insurance often limits or excludes compensation for lost jewelry or expensive electronics.
If you’ve bought prepaid, non-refundable tickets for a trip, you’re out of luck if your trip is canceled or delayed due to weather, illness, or a family emergency. That’s where trip interruption insurance comes in — it reimburses you for non-refundable expenses. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Kagan warns that some tickets offer a small refund, and insurance won’t cover the rest. For instance, if you purchase a $1,000 ticket that offers a refundable portion of $100, trip interruption insurance won’t cover the remaining $900. Furthermore, there’s no need to purchase coverage for refundable tickets, or tickets that cost less than the insurance itself. Kagan also cautions that your cancellation coverage can be rendered null if your vacation destination is known for natural disasters, like hurricanes.
Short-term medical insurance
If you’re traveling out of the country and you find yourself in need of medical care, it’s likely that you won’t be able to find a hospital that’s within your insurance provider’s network. Depending on what your policy entails, it could cover the cost of finding a language interpreter for you, along with the costs associated with an airlift, ambulance, or an extended hospital stay. These expenses aren’t usually covered by conventional health insurance. That said, Kagan suggests that it’s always a good idea to contact your healthcare coverage provider to find out what is — and isn’t — covered by your insurance before you purchase additional coverage.
Obtaining travel insurance
If you would like to purchase travel insurance, you have several options. You can opt for single, multi-trip, and yearly travel coverage, depending on how often you travel. Costs will vary based upon your age, your destination, and the overall cost of the trip, Kagan explains. If you have a unique situation, such as being an expatriate or frequent business traveler, you may want to consider a specialized travel insurance policy.
Before purchasing travel insurance, make sure you aren’t paying for redundant coverage. Contact your insurance provider for more details.