“Please sign the Travel Protection Waiver Form indicating if you would like to purchase or decline travel insurance for your trip.”
These words are part of every relationship I have with a client and one I get many questions about.
Buying travel insurance has been something I’ve sought out, even prior to entering the world of professional travel planning. Maybe it’s my worrisome nature to have that peace of mind, but the extra couple hundred dollars never made me flinch after considering the monetary and time investment I made in planning a trip.
I mean, you truly never know if something is going to happen before or during a trip, right?
So let’s get back to the question I most often get when I ask about travel insurance:
Well, why do you think I should get it?
For some they believe because they are young and healthy, why would they need to worry about medical coverage? Or they’ll ask, isn’t that covered by my credit card? I never need to go to the doctor, so I should be fine, right?
Or the infamous…
There’s no way I’m not going on this trip, so cancelling is not an option.
Travel insurance coverage is pretty extensive – it can cover everything from lost baggage, delayed flights, medical emergencies abroad, or even if you have to cancel because a loved one has passed before you leave on your trip. And while there are many differences in plans and I know the basic details of each, let’s be clear – my expertise lies in travel planning; it’s not in selling insurance.
While travel insurance is related to travel, deciding whether to purchase and which policy is right for you is no different than working with your car or home insurer. I can provide my opinion and guidance, but this is the one area where the client ultimately must decide what is right for them.
Let’s look at an example, would you purchase travel insurance in either of these scenarios?
Imagine two people looking at an insurance policy for a two-week trip: one is a 65-year-old heading to Europe, where he plans to visit multiple cities and countries, eat street food, take the train and sleep in pre-paid five-star hotels every night – oh and his flights total well over $1,000.
The other is a 28-year-old going to London on a flight deal she got for $550, she plans to stay at one hotel that won’t be pre-purchased and paid for upon checkout and she’s going to walk or take public transportation during her stay and buy discounted theater and event tickets depending on what she feels like doing each day.
Who do you think should buy the travel insurance? Well in my opinion both – from the perspective of potential travel issues that may arise with multiple destinations and connections, the first scenario would have coverage just from an itinerary perspective, let alone what a 65-year-old might need for medical coverage.
Now the second traveler is young, not moving from city to city and has a pretty chill itinerary, and she got a fantastic deal on his flight – why should she pay more for insurance?
Well, have you ever had to get emergency surgery to have your appendix removed, while on vacation?
Have you ever been in a rush to catch a bus or train, stepped off a curb funny and sprained your ankle to the point where you can’t walk?
Well that healthy 28-year-old may have just had the most expensive trip of the two from the staggering hospital and medical bills abroad.
Now you may be thinking – that’s awfully dramatic. How often does that actually happen? According to the US Travel Insurance Association, 24.5 million insurance policies were purchased in 2014 and of those 22% of those trips involved a claim.
Here are some reasons to consider why you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance on your next trip.
- Coverage if you have to cancel, interrupt or delay a trip for a variety of covered reasons.
- Coverage for existing medical conditions
- Coverage if you get sick or injured during your trip – Domestic plans often limit international travel for medical coverage. And you may be reimbursed for the unused nonrefundable portion of your trip if you have to leave early.
- Coverage for emergency medical evacuation – depending on coverage, insurance may be able to advance you money for countries that require cash payment before leaving a hospital.
- Coverage if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged
- Coverage if your flight was cancelled or you experience a significant trip delay that impacts your trip
- Coverage if your passport is lost or stolen – many insurance companies have a 24 hour line staffed with people that speak over 40 different languages that can help you with the process to get a replacement
- Coverage for supplier default in situations where a carrier, cruise line, tour operator or other travel entity goes into financial default and your trip is cancelled.
- Peace of Mind – if it helps keep you focused on enjoying your vacation and not worrying about the risks involves if anything happens, I think its worth every penny.
So why do some people think travel insurance is not worth it?
Well if you’re not well-versed in the terms and conditions and you file a claim that isn’t covered, it may seem shady. Be educated upfront, knowing what type of coverage is necessary for you and your family will provide a better chance that if you do have to file a claim that it will be reimbursed and covered.
But what about me? Why do I believe in having all this coverage, if I haven’t ever had to file a claim? Well, I have. But, only once and thankfully it wasn’t for anything life threatening or scary.
Returning from a trip to China and Thailand, the east coast was hit with a terrible snow storm. While we did get out of Beijing in time to make it to New York, but our flights back home to Ohio were cancelled and we weren’t able to get back until late the following day. I learned from this experience to save all of your plane ticket stubs, receipts, and document everything.
After the trip I submitted documentation for the costs of meals, cabs, and hotels that were incurred as a result of our trip back home being delayed. In addition, totally separate of the bad weather, one of our pieces of luggage (which we purchased right before this trip) came back with a rather large hole in the bottom. The cost of a new bag as well as the expenses incurred were all reimbursed from travel insurance.
So I guess the question is – do you want to protect your purchase, your investment, your dream vacation?
For those of you world travelers who are investing thousands of dollars on your experience, is it worth it to have that peace of mind knowing you’ll be covered if something goes wrong?
The answer is ultimately up to you, so what is your opinion on travel insurance?
Click HERE for a FREE Consultation, I’d be more than happy to help walk you through your dream vacation and your insurance options to make it even more seamless.