How to choose the Best Travel Insurance
Some people will always make sure that they have travel insurance in place before going in anywhere. Others will only consider getting the policy if they are going on a business trip or on vacation abroad. So, what do such individuals enjoy from having such a policy and is it really necessary?
Travel insurance offers protection against unexpected issues that may arise during your journey. We are talking about illnesses, death, lost suitcases, missed flights and many more. You definitely know how messed up things can get if you’ve ever been on a trip and went through one of such experiences.
Travel insurance is designed to make sure that you are well covered and compensated if any of such or other events were to happen.
Do you need Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is beneficial to a specific group of people only. Also, just because you are traveling abroad doesn’t mean that you need Travel Insurance.
The following factors should help you understand more about when travel insurance is beneficial.
If you are traveling abroad, having a Travel Insurance would make perfect sense. This is because international trips are usually expensive and hence having additional coverage will ensure that you don’t end up spending more cash than you had planned to.
However, you need to do a thorough screening on the policy you are getting and see what coverages it offers. Ideally, you should get Travel insurance that is in line with the type of trip you are having and the kind of potential risks that you may be exposed to when traveling to a particular destination.
You may be traveling abroad, but if your expenditure on the trip is likely to be low, then you probably don’t need travel insurance. The whole point of getting this cover is ensuring that your trip is not inconvenienced and that you don’t lose your hard-earned money. If you pay premiums that are almost equal to or higher than the amount of money that you are going to spend then the policy, no longer becomes feasible.
For instance, if you are traveling from North America to South America where you will be spending your time in a relative’s house and not expensive hotels, travel insurance won’t be very beneficial to you.
On the other hand, if you are going half-way through the world for a Safari in Africa, travel insurance becomes really helpful especially if you can get one that offers excellent coverages both on lost items and medical expenses.
- What’s the season?
The current season of the destination you are traveling to can help you determine whether having travel insurance is a good idea or not. Say you are going for a Caribbean cruise in the hurricane season; travel insurance will be very useful in this case as it will offer extra coverage for both you and your property.
Weather conditions may also affect flight schedules. You may end up suffering long delays, or your trip may even get canceled altogether. Travel insurance will offer financial protection against these and other perils.
- Are you covered by other policies?
You may not need travel insurance at all if you have other policies in place. For example, some health insurance policies, accidental death, and dismemberment coverage and life insurance are known to offer extra protection when someone is traveling abroad. Some of these policies may even go as far as covering your belongings against theft. If you already have such a cover, travel insurance won’t be necessary.
Ensure that you read through your health and life insurance policies before buying travel insurance that you may not even need.
Also, some credit card companies offer travel insurance covers if you pay for your trip using the card. You’ll save more money if you used this option, but then most credit cards don’t offer the most comprehensive travel coverage as compared to exclusive travel insurance policies. The best credit cards will still give you the basic covers though. These include protection for lost or stolen luggage, trip delays, cancellation, and car rental insurance.
Choosing the best travel insurance
The best travel insurance should cover:
Medical Expenses – You never know how you will react to the new environment you are traveling to and hence its vital that you have a cover in place for any medical expenses that may be incurred. Most health insurance policies will not cover your bills when you are traveling abroad, and hence you will need travel insurance to provide the cover.
Trip cancelation – You may have to cancel your trip for different reasons including sickness or death of a family member, natural disasters, terrorist attack or changes in your working schedules. If you have travel insurance and you find yourself in such a spot, the insurer will reimburse you all the money you had already spent in preparation for the trip.
Lost or stolen luggage – Travel insurance will reimburse any costs you are forced to incur as a result of lost or stolen luggage or belongings. Some insurers will also reimburse you in case you are forced to spend money on buying other items due to delayed luggage.
Emergency evacuation – This cover is very essential especially if you are traveling to a remote or politically unstable location. The insurer will pay up for the costs incurred during emergency evacuations done for either medical or security reasons. Some companies will also provide coverage if you are airlifted back to the U.S for further medical assistance.
Injuries resulting from different activities – If you are traveling to a sandy beach somewhere, chances are you will end up scuba diving or doing other fun activities in the water. You might also be one of the people whose vacations are never complete without some hot air ballooning, rock climbing or skiing. A lot of injuries can occur from such activities. The best travel insurance will offer extra coverage for such extreme events, but this may come at a steeper cost.
Best Travel Insurance
IMG has excellent travel insurance that will be perfect for different kinds of travelers, but it’s particularly great for adventurous tourists. The insurer has a decent cover that will protect you against extreme activities such as scuba diving, skiing, and rock climbing. In the event that you get lost while undertaking any of these activities, IMG will support the search and rescue efforts with a $10,000 coverage. This should give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your vacation fully.
IMG’s travel policies also perform very well in terms of medical coverage whose limit is set at $500,000. This covers injuries, illnesses and the extreme sports that you’ll be engaging in. Meanwhile, the medical evacuation limit is set at $1M!
You will also love the highly-responsive customer support team of IMG. They will pick your calls promptly, and they’re always willing to help you out. You can also take advantage of the live chat option included in their website to communicate with their representatives more conveniently.
Unfortunately, the waiting time necessary before you can claim reimbursement for baggage or trip delays is pretty long. For instance, the iTravelInsured LX plan requires you to wait for 12 hours before you can file a claim for baggage delays and 6 hours for trip delays. The SE plan has a waiting period of 12 hours for both. With the Travel Lite plan, you’ll have to wait for 24 hours before you can claim reimbursement for baggage delays! The long waiting periods can be very inconveniencing. Meanwhile, some of the other insurers will require as little as 3 hours.
Travelex Insurance Services
Travelex Insurance offers the Travel Select plan that’s tailored to give you the perfect trip that you deserve. The plan provides a $50,000 medical treatment coverage and a $500,000 cover for medical evacuation. The plan will also reimburse any travel costs incurred resulting from a pre-existing condition, but you must buy the policy within 21 days of the first trip deposit to be eligible for this coverage.
Apart from the medical covers, the Travel Select plan offers excellent protection against baggage delays and missed connections.
What makes the Travel Select plan standout, even more, is the fact that all children under 18 years old are covered under this plan for free! How many other Insurers in the market offer such a perk?
You can also customize this plan further depending on where you are going and the activities you’ll be taking part in. For example, you can add one of their optional covers for extreme sports. You can also include the option of canceling the trip for any other reason.
We also loved the customer services of Travelex which are not just friendly, but they are also available 24/7.
The basic Travel Select Plan offers just $15,000 in emergency medical coverage. This is pretty low even when we compared it to other travel policies in the market. Additionally, the basic plan doesn’t have the option for canceling your trip for any reason, but instead, you are forced to buy it separately.
Allianz Global Assistance
The Allianz Global Assistance offers travel coverages for up to one-year long. This is four times longer than what typical travel insurance plans provide. The insurer is, therefore, the best option for individuals that are going for a long trip be it for vacation or studying purposes.
One of the best travel policies than you can get from this insurer is the OneTrip Premier Plan. This plan offers the best medical coverage, baggage, and trip delays. It also provides coverage for children under 18 years, but you will have to pay for it.
The AllTrips Executive Plan is another excellent plan that offers continuous coverage for both international and domestic trips for one year. That means that you will no longer be forced to shop for travel insurance every time you are taking a trip. At least not for a year. The cover is perfect for all frequent travelers, but it is quite costly.
Allianz Global performs really poorly in the department of add-ons. Some of their annual plans do not provide the option of including add-ons such as extreme sports and cancel for any reason. The lack of an “extreme sport” is especially disappointing considering that you are taking a year-long vacation.
David is a financial expert who graduated from the University of Fordham (Master in Finance) in 2001. He has 10+ years of experience in private equity and wealth management. With strong expertise in senior-level financial planning, personal financial analysis, and mortgages, David knows his way around personal finance. Before working at CCR he used to be a financial analyst at McKinsey.
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