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Holiday travel: insurance tips for a safe, worry-free trip

The countless snags you could encounter with your travel plans can be expensive. Fortunately, there are numerous travel insurance options for every budget and every method of travel that can ease the worry those expenses bring.

DarrasLaw founding partner Frank appeared on Health, Wealth and Happiness to discuss how to protect against common travel woes during a holiday trip.

“There is a very modest premium for real peace of mind, and it can cover everything from reimbursing your nonrefundable expenses to plane tickets, train, bus, tour packages, hotel rooms … pretty much for everything.”

What travel insurance can cover

One in six Americans has had their travel plans impacted by medical conditions, natural disasters or mechanical or carrier-cause problems, according to the US Travel Insurance Association. Of those affected, only one in five had travel insurance. Travel insurance is often purchased to protect against the following circumstances:

Trip cancellation

Trip cancellation is among the biggest financial concerns for travelers and a common reason for purchasing travel insurance.

In many cases, insurance would reimburse you for pre-paid, nonrefundable expenses if you need to cancel your trip in advance. This benefits those who book cheaper, nonrefundable flights or transportation to save money.

Trip cancellation coverage typically includes plane tickets, train and bus tickets, tour packages, cruise fare and hotel rooms.

However, not every reason for cancellation will be covered by insurance. The most common covered reasons include:

  • Getting laid off from work or being required to work
  • A terrorist incident occurs in your destination
  • Your travel supplier goes bankrupt
  • Being summoned for jury duty
  • Your travel destination is damaged by a natural disaster

It is important to examine the list of covered reasons carefully before purchasing your travel insurance policy. Each insurance company will provide their own list of covered reasons for trip cancellation.

Trip interruption

Trip interruption coverage – which is similar to cancellation coverage – covers you if you are on a trip and a required to come home for one of a few certain reasons. In these circumstances, the insurance would reimburse you for the lost portion of the trip. It should also cover any additional expenses for a last-minute flight home.

Medical cancellation, interruption or evacuation

This type of coverage is specifically for medical emergencies and would kick in if you must cancel or cut your trip short due to sickness, injury, or death of you, a family member or traveling companion.

Emergency medical evacuation insurance often covers transportation costs if a qualified physician determines you must be evacuated for medical treatment to the nearest medical facility (or if warranted, to the United States).

Many travelers assume they are insured if a medical emergency occurs abroad, but this is often not the case. Before buying additional insurance, examine your health care insurance policy and determine what coverage – if any – you have abroad, and find a travel insurance policy that will cover the rest.

Other travel tips

  • 2% of all lost baggage remains lost; consider baggage coverage to compensate for your lost items.
  • Before you board, take a picture of what’s in your bag; it can help you create an itemized list if your luggage is not recovered.
  • Don’t carry cash, cameras, jewelry and other expensive accessories in your luggage. These items are easily excluded under airline reimbursement policies for lost luggage.
  • Write down your ticket number, passport number and insurance policy number before you get ready to travel.

Need more information?
CDC.gov, Traveler’s Health: Insurance
AAA.com, Holiday Road Travel Tips

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