What You Should Look After When You are Traveling – Part 1

Written by: David Scott

Travel insurance is insurance to cover expenses in the event of unplanned incidents that occur when you are traveling. In this article, we will cover:

  1. Why Travel Insurance
  2. Main Types of Travel Insurance
  3. Detailed Coverage Options

Why Travel Insurance

Many people wonder whether or not a traveler should get insurance; the short answer is ABSOLUTELY YES! If your trip is delayed, your luggage is lost, you get into an accident, or you get sick, travel insurance could save you critical time and money. Maybe you won’t have to use a penny of it with any luck but the peace of mind that it brings makes it 100% worth the expense. In some cases, your existing credit card company or medical insurance may already cover you, which will be discussed in Part 2 of this article topic.

Main Types of Travel Insurance

There are two main types: travel insurance and medical travel insurance. Standard travel insurance will typically cover things like trip cancellations, interruptions, delays, baggage, rental cars, emergency medical & dental expenses, and evacuation in the event of an emergency. It does not typically cover standard medical needs like prescriptions and check-ups. On the other hand, medical travel insurance will cover standard medical and dental expenses comprehensively, similar to a domestic medical plan. It may also cover prescriptions, maternity, and other day-to-day medical needs not covered by standard travel insurance. However, it does not typically cover issues like cancellations, interruptions, delays, or other non-medical issues. All types of travel insurance also usually have three sub-types based on your trips’ duration: single trip, multi-trip, and long-term. 

Detailed Coverage Options

Your options for insurance will vary based on what you want and need. So, let’s review possible coverage you may wish; then, we can review different plan options. 

Medical coverage may include:

  • Medical Expenses
    • This could be emergency expenses such as a trip to the emergency room or doctor visits and prescriptions.
  • Evacuation & Repatriation
    • This is if you need to be evacuated to the nearest hospital or all the way home to your home country for some reason. Repatriation means getting you back into your country of origin.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions
    • Many insurance options will not cover pre-existing conditions. But some do have an option available. There are typically conditions that apply, but you can call the insurance company to find out what those are. 
  • Primary vs. Secondary Insurance
    • Some plans are primary, which means they will be the first to pay when something happens. Others’ function is secondary insurance and may or may not require you to have primary insurance but will payout after the primary insurance if you have it. 
  • Dental Coverage
    • Dental coverage could mean an emergency only. So, if you fall and break a tooth, it will certainly be covered. It may include actual dental healthcare, such as visiting a dentist for a cavity, but not always.
  • Adventure Sports
    • In some cases, if you are doing an extreme sport and you are injured, it will not be covered by your travel insurance. So, be sure to check what your policy covers and if it is not automatically included, make sure you add this option if needed!
  • Accident & Liability
    • This means that if you are in an accident or you caused an accident, the insurance will cover the claims for other parties, as well as your own accident related expenses. 
  • Family Coverage
    • If you are traveling with a family, you will need to know whether or not you and all other members are covered or whether you have to get separate plans for each person in the family. 
  • Prescriptions
    • Make sure to check whether your prescriptions are covered and at what percentage.
  • Maternity
    • Check whether pregnancy and childbirth are covered if you are traveling while you are pregnant.  
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment
  • Pet Care
    • If you have an extended stay in a hospital and have pets back home that need to be taken care of, some insurances will cover a certain duration of pet care.

Travel coverage may include:

  • Trip Interruption
    • It is for when something happens during your trip that interrupts it and you cannot continue on. Each plan will include a list of instances where this coverage applies and a list of cases where it does not.
  • Trip Cancellation
    • It applies when your trip is canceled. This typically has to happen before you actually leave for the trip. And again, there are certain reasons for cancellation that are covered and certain ones that are not.
  • Cancel for Any Reason
    • This is often an add-on that you can pay extra for, which allows you to cancel the trip for absolutely any reason, and it will be covered. 
  • Trip Delay
    • If your airline delays your trip or you have some other covered reason, this will cover expenses related to paying for food or overnights in a hotel.
  • Baggage Delays and Loss
    • These are usually listed as two separate line items in insurance. One covers the loss of your luggage and typically has items listed that are covered or not covered. Meanwhile, the other covers baggage delay; so, if you need to buy an extra set of clothing or something while waiting for your luggage to arrive.
  • Missed Connection
    • If you miss a connection for any covered reason, such as the airline delaying a plane, they will reimburse you and help you find a new flight.
  • Weather
  • Terrorism
    • Most of the insurance companies that have interruptions or cancellations typically have line items for weather and terrorism. There are conditions applying to these as to when the terrorist act occurred and what kind of weather event it is. So, you will want to check on this. 
  • Identity Theft
    • This is almost always an add-on option, but in some of the more expensive plans it may be included. It will help you recover your identity in the event that someone steals your credit card or tries to pose as you when purchasing things. 
  • Rental Car
    • Again, this is usually an add-on, but for some of the more expensive plans, you will receive coverage in the event of an accident with your rental car. This is great because then you don’t have to get the insurance through the rental car company. 
  • Business Equipment
    • Some insurance plans are specifically for business travels and will cover business-related equipment loss or damage in the event something happens to them.
  • Security Evacuation
    • This is also usually a part of a business travel insurance plan and covers evacuating someone out of the country in the event that their security is at risk.
  • Legal Expenses
    • In the event that a court has to be involved in something that occurs, you may have your legal expenses covered. 
  • Cruise Specific Insurance
    • Some insurance offers cruise-specific insurance. You have to select this if you are going on a cruise, and it is separate from regular travel insurance. Make sure you have it in your policy if you’re planning to go on a cruise.
  • Crew/Educator/Missionary
    • These plans are separate from other types of insurance plans. So, if you are part of a ship’s crew or you are a teacher going abroad, or you are a missionary, you will want to make sure that you know what plans are available and choose the one that is right for you.

Final Thoughts

One of the most important things that you need to prepare before traveling is knowing how travel insurance works. Now that you understand why you need travel insurance, the main types of travel insurance, and the detailed coverage options, you are well equipped to decide whether or not you will get yourself travel insurance. But it is important to understand other factors before you purchase a policy. That is why, in the next article, What You Should Look After When You are Traveling: Travel Insurance (Part 2), we will discuss other criteria to consider, the coverage you may already have, and plan & price option comparison.

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