Travel Insurance - Don't Leave Home Without It!
Travel Insurance isn’t always exciting to talk about – but it’s an important element of your trip planning. We hope to answer two of our most often asked questions:
Why do I need travel insurance? and What kind of insurance should I get?
While we are not travel insurance providers, we do deal with it and get questions a lot. We hope to be able to provide you with some answers that can help you decide which travel insurance is right for you.
We also have developed relationships with several travel insurance companies and hope to be a resource for you as you navigate the insurance that you will need for your trip. This blog will focus on insurance for travelers inside the US who are traveling to location outside of where they live.
Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?
Travel Insurance can cover all of the ‘What If’s’ that happen on a trip. Things that are difficult to handle at home can become compounded on a trip.
Sudden illness. Severe weather. Delayed flights. Traffic accidents. Family members needing your help. Getting injured. These events don’t stop just because you are on a trip.
There are so many ‘what ifs’ in life it is wise to be covered if the unexpected happens and you have to miss part or all of your trip. When something like this happens, you can rely on travel insurance to help make things right.
- If you have to cancel your trip for a covered reason, travel insurance can reimburse you for your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs. Without insurance, you could lose your vacation investment.
- If you experience a covered medical emergency, travel insurance can help ensure you get high-quality care and reimburse you for covered medical costs. Without insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket when traveling overseas.
- If you have a covered travel delay, travel insurance can reimburse you for necessary, eligible expenses like hotels and meals. Without insurance, delays can be expensive.
- If you face an unexpected crisis, travel insurance gives you access to 24-Hour Hotline Assistance for expert help and advice. Without insurance, you’re on your own.
When Should I Get Travel Insurance?
Getting travel insurance shortly after you pay your deposit can cover you more completely and is the wisest course should anything happen.
Most companies when you get a travel insurance quote will ask you what day you made your deposit. Why do they do this? Well, generally the assumption is made that when you pay your deposit you are expecting to be able to go on the trip. You are healthy and cleared to go.
If you get travel insurance shortly during this time period, then you are telling the insurance company that you want to be prepared but aren’t expecting a claim. However, if you wait for a couple of months, the insurance company is going to be looking at pre-existing conditions and wondering – what all of a sudden made them decide to get insurance?
They will then go back usually three months prior to see what doctors appointments you had and what new information maybe came up to make you decide to get insurance later. Almost all of the insurances I have worked with will waive any pre-existing conditions when you purchase right around your deposit date.
For example, I had a travel insurance agent tell me about a person who had cancer, was in remission, had clearance from their doctor for a trip. Booked said trip, and a month before they left for the trip had an issue with their cancer where they could no longer travel. Their trip claim was covered – because they got insurance when they paid their initial deposit and not when they met up with their doctor and realized that traveling was now not going to be possible.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you put a different date for your deposit than you actually pay. Let me warn you that if you have a claim, you will be required to submit proof of payment, generally in the form of a bank statement. So put the correct dates.
If you don’t purchase insurance near your deposit date – that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it to get insurance. If you don’t have any pre-existing conditions or new information for the doctor – your trip is going to be covered just fine. Purchasing around the deposit date simply waives pre-existing conditions. It doesn’t change the coverage for all the other ‘what ifs’ you use insurance for.
Coverage generally doesn’t start for 24 hours. I did have a traveler sign up for insurance on the way to the airport for a trip to Costa Rica. While their flight that day wasn’t covered, everything else on their trip was.
What Kind of Insurance Should I Get?
We recommend that you get travel insurance, and you can get insurance from any company that you feel comfortable with. There are thousands of companies that offer travel insurance – and you can get insurance from any one of them!
Just make sure that you get the coverage you want. Read through the whole policy and see what level of coverage you want. Compare that with the cost of your trip and your savings and budget. It really is an individual decision, but you want to know what you are getting.
Be sure to understand if it covers a percentage of your cost or up to your costs. For example, say you purchase a $500 plane ticket and you miss your flight. It costs you $600 to replace that ticket. You’ll want to know if they will only reimburse a percentage or all of your original ticket cost – or a percentage or all of your replacement ticket cost.
If you don’t have a company that you want to already purchase insurance, we have three companies that we have worked closely with a lot, have a good relationship with, our customers have had good experiences with and that we trust.
You are certainly not limited to these companies we list below. They are simply providers that we and our customers have had great experiences with. We like these providers because of what they cover, their straightforward benefits, and simple online claim processing. We suggest you get multiple quotes and compare coverage so that you get the policy you are comfortable with.
Trawick Insurance has a great policy that excels in providing Covid coverage while traveling internationally. We recommend the Voyager Plan and can access it from this link. Be sure to list each family member individually. They also have an Explorer Plan that has reduced cost and coverage but is still an excellent plan and will work for cruises and USA travel. Please choose a plan that has the coverage you are looking for.
Allianz Global Assistance is used by over 40 million travelers annually. 84% of customers give them a 5-star rating, according to Trustpilot. They do a fantastic job of digitizing the process and making it easy. They have a lot of plans. You can get a quote in just a few minutes for their most popular classic plan. If you would like up to three different quotes, just let us know and we will reach out to them to email you more quotes.
Chubb Insurance is one of the largest providers in the world and you can still call them direct on the phone, 24 hours a day and talk to someone in the US who knows what they are doing and can help. If there is an issue, we also have direct lines to our rep and can help communicate with their team if needed. If you’d like a quote from Chubb, just let us know and we’ll send in a request on your behalf. (It takes us about 2 minutes.) They do not have an online form. Everything is done through an agent.
These companies are all great and really have few differences. Trawick is almost completely on line and generally tends to be the cheapest option. Allianz is a good middle of the road and have many options and varying coverages to choose from. Chubb will be more expensive, but their customer service is unsurpassed. They will even sometimes anticipate a claim – such as a delayed or canceled flight and will submit it for you.
One Last Question
What affects your cost of insurance?
Generally it’s going to be dependent on four things:
- Your age and the age of your family traveling with you
- The US State that you live in
- Your travel dates (how many days you are traveling)
- The cost of your trip