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Traveling is not a cheap, and the majority of it is non-refundable, especially airfare. So, why not protect your investment? Travel insurance can cover many different scenarios, and can make, or break, your vacation! Most travel insurance cost anywhere from 5-10% of the total cost of the prepaid or nonrefundable portion of your trip. There other slight variants depending on where you live and your age that can also have an effect on the overall price.
Ready to talk about why you should protect your investment, and dig into the reasons why you need travel insurance:
Trip delays and cancellations can happen for a multitude of reasons. Most basic travel insurance policies cover a portion of delays, and cancellations. Depending on policies, your travel insurance could cover and reimburse you quite a bit for the inconvenience.
Not gonna lie, trip delays are such an annoyance! But it happens, and it sucks. If you purchased a travel insurance policy that covers trip delays, and meet their requirements for a trip delay, wether it’s by train, plane, or other form of prepaid, ticketed transportation, you could be entitled to reimbursement for food, hotels, or travel expenses and lost prepaid expenses due to a covered departure delay. You may also be entitled to compensation just for general inconvenience.
Sometimes your flight is late arriving or departing, at no fault of your own. You might then miss your next connection. The same can happen with train travel, cruise travel, bus travel, etc. For example, say your plane is late, and you miss the departure of your cruise, what happens then? Who pays for your hotel or next flight to get you where you need to go? If you don’t have travel insurance, there’s a chance you could end up footing the bill, especially if it’s a missed cruise connection. A reason to purchase travel insurance is to help avoid these types of surprise occurances. Especially if the fault does not lie on you.
All travel insurance has a trip cancellation clauses, depending on the policy you purchase. You may be entitled up to a certain dollar amount, or up to 100% of the cost of your trip that is not refundable. This typically would cover you for no fault of your own cancellation, such as serious injury, death or sickness, financial default of an airline, cruise line, or tour operator, inclement weather if it causes delay or cancellation of travel, or say you’re required to work during your scheduled trip, as an example of reasons typically covered.
Cancel for Any Reason
This is typically an upgraded benefit. It’s a great addition and usually doesn’t cost a whole lot extra, but buys a great deal of peace of mind. Depending on the company or the policy, you can be reimbursed anywhere from a certain dollar amount to the full 100% of the prepaid, non-refundable costs of your vacation.
Illness Prior to Travel
Most insurance policies include a pre-travel illness clause. It enables you to cancel you vacation if you do become ill or hospitalized prior to travel. This clause typically is a little more stringent, and only covers certain illnesses, not just common colds or the flu. You also need an examination and a letter from your physician explaining why you are unable to travel.
Some insurance policies will even cover (reimburse) the costs of change fees for airlines, train tickets, cruise fees. etc. This is a great option for those who want to extend a trip or return early. That way they may not be out all those fees!
Did you know, that when you travel outside of the United States, your health insurance usually does not cover you? You will also be required to pay for your services upfront. If your medical insurance does cover any costs, it will be for a very minimal amount. You will then need to submit the claims for reimbursement.
Accidents can, and do, happen everywhere, so why take the financial risk while you’re on vacation? It’s just as easy to get injured in a car, ski, scuba, or hiking accident, or acquire an infection, pick up a communicable disease abroad as it is at home. Don’t be left unprotected.
Emergency Medical & Dental Coverage
All travel insurance includes a basic level of emergency medical and dental coverage. Each carrier and policy has a different maximum benefit, and what services are covered. Typically, on the lower end, the maximum starts at around $10k – $15K and then goes up from there. Some companies separate dental and medical, others lump them together.
Adventure and Sports Coverage
This is typically an upgraded coverage add-on, or included in a more comprehensive plan. If you plan on a vacation that is more dangerous or at higher risk of accident or injury, you should plan to upgrade your coverage in case of an accident, to make sure you have adequate coverage.
Assistance with Emergency Prescriptions
While this may, or may not, constitute as an emergency, having your medicine stolen, or lost, while traveling, can still be a nightmare. Thankfully, many of the insurance companies will work with you to help you get your medication(s) refilled while you are abroad. Giving you another peace of mind and some serious stress relief.
Another great feature of travel insurance is the access to medical evacuations. You typically only need this service if you become injured in a remote area, such as a small rural town or on a snowy mountain, where there might not be a medical facility nearby. Some policies include additional benefits that apply if you’re hospitalized for an extended period of time. Additional benefits can include helping pay for your children to return back home with an escort, bringing a person to be at your bedside, and covering expenses for your bedside companion.
Repatriation of Remains
Unfortunately, tragedies can, and do, happen. When traveling with someone who is elderly, enjoys adventurous type travel, or just sometimes life happens, it is nice to know that your travel insurance will cover these types of expenses. If you have a comprehensive plan with repatriation coverage, it can help ease both the emotional, as well as financial, pressure experienced after someone passes. Repatriation coverage lets your loved one be put to rest as effortlessly and quickly as possible.
Terrorism or Civil War
This, thankfully, is relatively uncommon, but can, and does happen from time to time. There are, unfortunately, areas of the globe that are a little more unstable than others, where it is more likely for this tragedy to happen. It’s good to know that you will be covered should this happen. You can be covered in two different ways. If war breaks out prior to your travel, you will be reimbursed as a “trip cancellation.” Or if an act of terrorism or war breaks out while you’re on vacation, you can contact their Emergency Services for assistance.
Have you ever experienced delayed or lost luggage? Then you know how valuable travel insurance can be in terms of reimbursing you for a horrible inconvenience. Losing your luggage at the very beginning of your vacation sets the tone for the rest of your trip, If you have to foot the bill for clothes, shoes, toiletries, and other necessities without the hope of reimbursement, you could easily be out a couple hundred dollars, aka: a few great meals, some great souvenirs, or a night at a fabulous hotel! You’d hate to have to pinch pennies at the beginning of your vacation! This is a big reason people purchase travel insurance, for this benefit alone!
Most insurance policies cover delayed baggage, as long as it meets their criteria, such as a minimum of 24 or 48 hour delayed. Some will do a minimum amount with no receipts, and some companies require receipts for reimbursement.
Lost or Stolen Luggage
Much like delayed luggage, you will need to keep receipts for reimbursement, or you will only receive a minimum amount for reimbursement. Simply submit a claim and be sure to keep the document you submitted with the airline and/or the police department as proof of your luggage being lost or stolen.
Some companies, or premium policies, will even cover damaged luggage. be sure to check with your policy to see if this coverage is available. From experience, I have, on several occasions, had luggage damaged on my way to a multi-city vacation, and had to replace it mid trip. It was pretty inconvenient. My travel insurance policy (at the time) did not include damaged luggage, unfortunately.
One of the best perks of travel insurance is their 24-Hour Emergency Assistance Hotline. You can use it for a variety of instances, and most basic travel insurance policies include it.
Travel Document and Ticket Replacement
Lost or stolen passport, ID, or tickets can be one of the most devastating things that can happen to a traveler, especially internationally. Thankfully, if you partner with a reputable travel insurance company, they can help assist you in getting replacement documents to ensure you can get back home!
Emergency Cash Transfers
This is a great feature in case your debit/credit card(s) & cash get stolen or you just need more money. For whatever reason or situation that may arise, they will help you facilitate making sure you get money as fast as possible either by wire transfers or travelers checks.
Flight and Hotel Rebooking
A good travel insurance company will include this service on even their most basic plan. Say you’ve had an unexpected cancellation, the travel assistance team can act as a concierge to help you find new travel arrangements. This includes finding flights as well as train or bus tickets to help you get from place-to-place. The concierge service will also help book last-minute hotel rooms should the need arise.
Legal Assistance & Interpretation Services
Again, another benefit of travel insurance is the access to legal and interpretation services in case of emergency. Dealing with the government in a foreign country can be challenging, particularly if you do not speak the local language. Thankfully, most insurance companies offer a multilingual travel assistance team to help you navigate difficult legal situations. Travel assistance can work to find you a legal advisor at your destination to help ensure you complete your trip safely.
In November of 2021, my husband and I traveled to Switzerland to hop on a river cruise that would be traveling from Switzerland, to France, and then the majority of it through Germany. Well, against my better judgement (and my need to bring home Swiss wine!), I checked one bag. I didn’t pack any necessities that we needed immediately in there, mostly just wine packing supplies, hand and foot warmers, and other extras that would be nice but not necessary. Well, we barely made our connection in Denver, and our suitcase, definitely did not make it. So, as we arrived in Switzerland, and our luggage did not, we got to fill out the lost luggage claim form. Crucial information let the airport know: our itinerary, our hotel name, the ship’s name, and our contact information. After that minor set back, away we went.
So, we spent our day in Basel, waiting. The next day, we had nearly a full day in Basel, before we were supposed to board our ship, but our ship itinerary changed because our ship couldn’t dock in Basel, and we were bussed to Strasbourg, France, our next docking location. Our luggage still hadn’t arrived.
We boarded our ship, and made the crew aware of our situation, and let me tell you, we were very clear that this was just our extra bag, not our necessities. Did that matter? Apparently not! We were given a beautiful care package each, consisting of clothing, toiletries, the works! The crew also took over the logistics in making sure we received our bags. They were on it! They were in contact with the airport, the shipping company, the airlines, everyone, and they were constantly giving us updates…pretty sure our crew knew us as “lost luggage” because everyone was very kind and accommodating, and sympathetic!
It was actually an amazing experience, and I never felt more taken care of! It made me love that company even more! (Psst. it was AmaWaterways…I HIGHLY recommend sailing with them, for multiple reasons beyond just that!).
Another day passed, and we went on with our tour through Strasbourg. As we were getting ready for the dinner, our cruise director, Nikola, gleefully came to us during cocktail hour to announce that our luggage had finally arrive! (yay!) He made sure that they brought it in plenty of time before we disembarked from France. We were so incredibly pleased! But, our luggage was delayed long enough that it qualified for an insurance claim (claim #1).
I wish I could say this was the only claim we made on this trip, but it was a trip of firsts! I always purchase travel insurance for international travel, mostly for the medical coverage, and I’ve never submitted a claim against it. but, sadly, we weren’t even close to being done!
As we were departing from our wonderful, and amazing river cruise vacation, we boarded our early morning flight, and all was going to plan, other than our COVID test was questioned, as most Europeans do it by a time stamp of 48hours and 24hours (test dependent), where, at the time, the US just required a 3-day test period, regardless of test type, and our smaller airport did not understand that. Once it was sorted, we were on our way…or so we thought…We were buckled in, taking off, for our 30 minute flight from Nuremberg to Frankfurt, where we were to catch our international flight home.
During take off, I all of a sudden hear a strange sound in the engine, and the engine starts to sound like it’s really struggling to work. We seemed to be just circling the city. Then it gets quiet. The captain makes an announcement that the plane’s engine has taken in a bird, and we will need to land as soon as possible to assess the damage. Inevitably, our flight gets canceled, and we are delayed for several hours, which qualified us for another claim (claim #2).
So, we are shuffled out of the security area, and are asked to grab our bags that we checked. My husbands bag, that was in the air less than 20 minutes, has rope around it, because it was damaged in transit (claim #3)!
Long story short, we did, finally, make it back to the states. I wish I would have read my travel insurance policy better, I actually, at the time, never really paid attention to the 24-Hour Assistance Hotline, because I was always more focused on the Medical and Delays/Cancellations and Luggage portions of the policies, and I feel we would have had better service if we would have went that route, instead of waiting for the airline to reschedule our cancelled flight.
So, many lessons were learned in this process, and it allowed me to learn the process for when it happens to my clients.
Side-note: We made it home only about 30 minutes later than we were originally scheduled to arrive!
Conclusion: I only actually made claims for Claim #1 & 2, not the damaged luggage, because we were able to repair the zipper, and it’s still working just fine. So, thankfully, we had travel insurance to help reimburse us when/if we needed, and for our inconveniences!
Recommended Travel Insurance Companies -or- Need Help Finding the Right Insurance Policy:
- Travelex Travel Insurance
- Travel Guard Travel Insurance
- Haley Serra, Travel Advisor – Next Vacation Travel Agency
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Have you ever had to deal with a travel insurance claim? Have you ever regretted not getting travel insurance? Let me know in the comments!
Hi, I’m Haley, a Travel Advisor, and I’m here to help make your travel planning adventure easier. If you need any help along the way, please feel free to reach out to me, and I’d be glad to help you in any stage of your travel planning process!
To learn more about working with Haley or Next Vacation Travel Agency: Click Here
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