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Putting Travel Insurance on Your Itinerary

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

You’ve been planning this dream trip to Italy for what seems like forever. You’ve diligently put aside a chunk of every paycheck. You’ve devoured a dozen guide books. You’ve labeled everything in your kitchen in Italian! You’ve imagined a perfect journey, complete with trying all those great wines you’ve read about but never seem to find in your local wine shop. You’ve triple checked your packing list and triple checked all the logistics. What could go wrong, right?

The travel insurance industry was founded more than 150 years ago to answer that very question. Today, travel insurance companies protect travelers against a wide range of mishaps that could easily derail their vacations and business trips. With the rise in global travel, the travel insurance market is expected to balloon to $35 billion by 2025.

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Does travel insurance make sense for you? That depends on whether you’re a gambler. But if you’re someone who likes to play it safe, travel insurance can offer important benefits—not to mention peace of mind. Travel insurance premiums represent a small percentage of the cost of your trip and could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in the event you need to make a claim.

Just as you would when purchasing auto insurance, take the time to get several quotes when selecting a travel insurance company. Each company offers its own individual types and combinations of coverage, so take the time to understand the different benefits available to you. Our partners at VisitorsCoverage are a great resource. Get a quote then give them a call to get their help making sense of the options and choosing the best one for you.

Types of Travel Insurance Plans

Cancellation coverage, as its name suggests, kicks in when you need to cancel your trip for reasons such as sudden illness, family emergencies, and natural disasters (either where you live or at your destination.) It reimburses you for non-refundable expenses, including airfare, which often represents a significant portion of the cost of your trip.

Let’s say you’ve already arrived at your destination and a phone call from home alerts you to an emergency. If you’re carrying trip interruption insurance, you’ll be reimbursed for the expenses of traveling home and resuming your trip once you are able.

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Cancel for Any Reason Insurance

The most comprehensive protection you can buy is Cancel For Any Reason coverage. CFAR policies are sold as add-ons to standard cancellation coverage. If, a week before your trip, your boss casually informs you that you have to show up for a make-or-break presentation during the time you had planned to travel, you can make the presentation and still recoup a portion of your non-refundable travel expenses. Generally, CFAR policies do not reimburse you for all of your expenses; 50% to 75% is more common. The more you collect under the policy, the higher your premium will be. CFAR makes sense for travelers whose schedules are very unpredictable or those who need the ultimate flexibility.

Medical Insurance

Some of the most common misadventures travelers face are falling ill or getting hurt while abroad. That’s why medical insurance is the most essential travel coverage to carry. Chances are, your current health insurance policy only offers limited coverage outside the U.S.—and some policies exclude it altogether. Medicare is one such policy, so for seniors, medical insurance is an absolute necessity. Although in Italy some health services are free to tourists at government-run facilities, that isn’t the case when you see a private doctor.

Travel medical insurance will reimburse you for evaluation, treatment, and transportation by ambulance no matter where you choose to go for health care. Incidentally, accidental death and dismemberment coverage—I know, nobody likes to think about the worst when planning a trip!—is also included in most travel medical policies.

Auto Insurance Abroad

Like your at-home health insurance policy, your auto insurance policy may not cover you while traveling abroad. If you are renting a car while traveling, protect yourself by adding auto insurance to your coverage schedule.

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