Travel Insurance Information



To help answer that question, you have to ask another one—how badly would you miss the money you’ve spent should you have to cancel the trip and not be able to get any of it refunded?  There are two basic types of travel protection policies.  One will reimburse you for your nonrefundable travel costs if you have to cancel your trip due to a medical condition or a death in the family (and some policies cover other catastrophic reasons in their “basic” policies as well), and the upgraded policies are cancel-for-any-reason policies that will allow you to cancel for any other reason that is not a “covered reason” in the basic policy, with stricter limitations and conditions.  If a natural disaster occurs at home that causes your home to suffer significant damage, some policies will cover that under the basic policy as long as your home is uninhabitable, but most of the time that would fall under a cancel-for-any-reason policy.  

 With the basic policy, you can cancel your trip up until the time of departure if a medical condition or death in the family should occur, but if you choose to purchase the cancel-for-any-reason policy and cancel for a reason of convenience, or because it looks like the weather will be bad, or because something comes up at work, etc., you will have to cancel the trip 24-48 hours prior to the time of departure, depending on what company’s policy you purchase.  Also, instead of getting 100% of your nonrefundable trip costs reimbursed (less the cost of the premium, of course) as you would if you cancel for a medical reason or death in the family, most cancel-for-any-reason policies refund only 75% of your trip costs when canceling for a “noncovered” reason.  If you opt for an upgraded cancel-for-any-reason policy, it has to be purchased at the time of deposit, or shortly thereafter (again, depending on the company) in order to be an option.  Basic travel insurance policies can often be purchased up to the time of final payment or, in some cases, shortly before departure.

 TravelInsuranceCartoon2All travel insurance policies cover other miscellaneous items, such as providing varying degrees of compensation for lost luggage, trip delays of a certain length of time caused by the airline, or trip interruption due to an emergency.  In addition, it is very important that you find out what your own personal health insurance policy will and will not cover when you are traveling outside of the United States, as most standard health insurance policies will not cover your medical expenses when you are in another country (sometimes Canada is an exception).  Call your health insurance provider for clarification prior to travel.  Also, if you were to suffer an accident or illness and need medical evacuation, very few American health insurance policies will provide that coverage while you are traveling.  These issues are probably the most important when considering the purchase of travel insurance for a trip to another country. 

 Sooo, at the risk of sounding like a late-night infomercial. . . . wait, there’s more!  If you were to have an accident or illness in another country, in addition to there being an emergency assistance number that will help guide you in what procedures to follow, travel insurance policies will also reimburse you for your emergency medical costs up to the limits of the policy you purchase as well as provide for medical evacuation up to a stated amount in your policy.  Normally, if you present to a clinic or emergency room in another country and have travel insurance, they will have you pay some, or even all, of the expected costs on your credit card (make sure you travel with one with a high limit) and then you file a claim and the travel insurance company reimburses you for your expenses and takes care of your claim.  Without travel insurance, besides the trauma of the injury or unexpected illness away from home, you could be looking at several thousand dollars in medical expenses out of pocket, especially if medical evacuation should have to occur. TravelInsuranceCartoon  Obviously, if traveling inside the U.S., your personal health insurance policy will provide your coverage, and whether or not you purchase the policy will primarily be based on potential cancellation issues.

 Hopefully this helps explain the often-confusing subject of travel insurance a little better.  Obviously this is a somewhat simplified discussion of the subject, and it is always recommended that you read the “fine print” of your policy and get familiar with it prior to travel.  Nobody expects bad things to happen while they are on vacation or just before they leave, but unfortunately they can and do sometimes.  And protecting the investment of hard-earned money you have made in a great vacation is just like protecting anything else you own against the “what-ifs” in life, and usually for about 4-5% of the total cost of the trip, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind. 

 Our agency has been registered to sell policies from CSA, TravelSafe, and AccessAmerica, three of the best-known and most well-respected names in the travel insurance business.  We can compare the costs and benefits of different policies, as well as the travel supplier’s policy, whether that be a cruise line or tour operator, to find the one that is the best value and most applicable for your particular situation.  Below you will find links to the three third-party travel protection suppliers we recommend; more information can be found on their websites.