Insurance Tips for Travelers

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

VacationTravel insurance is one type of insurance that is poorly understood because it is uncommon. Not only does it apply only to travelers, but it is the type of insurance that travelers only appreciate once they have had some serious mishap while away.

Here is what you need to know about travel insurance:

The first question to ask is if you will need travel insurance at all. It is generally advisable because emergencies become so much more difficult to deal with if you are not at home with your normal support structures and your knowledge of local procedures. 

There are several types of travel insurance. The first type covers mostly medical emergencies, death, injury, illness, disability, evacuation, repatriation of remains and funeral expenses. Then there is coverage against trip cancellation or interruption. This pays out your pre-paid travel and accommodation expenses if you have to cancel or alter your trip due to unforeseen circumstances like weather or illness, and some even pay accommodation and transport expenses you incur because of the change in schedule. Other travel insurance policies insure your luggage against theft, loss or damage. You can also insure rental cars against damage. While many of us can replace our stolen luggage, medical expenses can be prohibitively expensive. So work out where your most expensive risks lie.

The small print is very important, because the policies are not standard. For example, some medical travel policies cover evacuation to the nearest hospital, others cover evacuation to your home country. Some policies cover only pre-paid travel expenses in event of trip interruption, others also pay the accommodation during the unexpected interruption.

Try not to engage in irresponsible activities that increase the likelihood of an accident or injury. If you want to participate in extreme sports while away, rather take out special insurance than to expect that your normal travel insurance will cover it. It probably won't.

Some insurance companies offer travel assistance in addition to financial compensation. They can advise you what to do in case of emergencies, and often even include emergency translation services in case you travel abroad.

If you travel often, buy multi-trip insurance. Buying multiple single-trip insurance policies is far less cost-effective.

Make sure that you are not doubly insured.  Read all of your policies to find out exactly what your covered for.  For example, some comprehensive auto insurance policies may already cover rental cars driven by you. Or your health insurance policy may cover your medical emergencies away from home.