Yay! It’s that time of the year at last. The time that makes all those 9 to 5 days at the office and hectic schedules coupled with various other stresses of daily life bearable.
Yes, vacation time is here!
You have your plane tickets in hand, hotel reservations have been made and a travel guide has been hired. From the passport and visa to the toothbrush and hand sanitizer, everything has been carefully planned for the upcoming trip. But what if we told you that you are missing out on a very essential travel item?
The importance of travel insurance goes unnoticed by most people until things go awry on a trip. You lose your suitcase, fall ill during the journey, get badly injured while skydiving or any other similar situation where you face a serious setback can turn a joyous trip into a complete nightmare. Did you know that one out of every three travelers has lost or misplaced their baggage at an airport?
It is important to have some support in such times when you are far away from your comfort zone. Travel insurance helps you travel light. Here are the main types of travel insurance that you can choose from.
IMPORTANT: Always discuss your insurance needs with your travel insurance provider.
1. Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
This is something no one wants to think about because no one wants it to happen. But the truth is that flights get delayed all the time and trips are often canceled at the last minute due to various unforeseen reasons.
Whether you fall ill before a flight, there is a death in your family or instability in the destination country, all of such unforeseen circumstances usually mean that you have to cancel your trip or postpone it for an indefinite period of time.
Needless to say, in such a situation, you face the risk of losing the money that you spent on buying the tickets. Especially if it was an international trip, the losses can be huge.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance policy ensures that you don’t suffer when such situations arise. However, if you choose this policy, then carefully read all the terms and conditions to know which circumstances it covers and which ones it doesn’t.
2. Flight Cancellation Insurance
Flight cancellation insurance is quite similar to trip cancellation and interruption insurance. The only difference is that while trip cancellation insurance considers interruptions on behalf of the travelers themselves, flight cancellation insurance, on the other hand, covers losses that arise due to the airline.
For instance, weather conditions such as strong winds, hailstorm, heavy rainfall, thunder, and lightning often leads to flights being delayed and as a result, passengers get affected. Also, if your trip is time-sensitive and the airline company delays or cancels the flight, then flight cancellation policy has got you covered. If the airline goes on strike or simply goes out of business altogether, then your insurer will help you, given that you have purchased flight cancellation insurance.
3. Medical Insurance
Although medical insurance is normally available on its own, not every domestic health insurance provider covers its customers while they are abroad.
If you are moving across states, then you might not have to consider this policy if you already have health insurance. But if you don’t have health insurance or if your existing insurance does not cover you when you are overseas, then traveler’s medical insurance is a must for you.
Even if you think you are healthy as a horse, consider what would happen if you twist your ankle when hiking or get severely dehydrated while crossing the desert to explore the Pyramid of Giza. If you are visiting a country for the first time you will definitely be tempted to try out its street food. But what if you unknowingly eat a contaminated food item or are unable to stomach the local spices and end up getting food poisoning?
Such scenarios are common in international travel and therefore, it is essential that you buy travel medical insurance when you buy your tickets and plan your trip.
4. Medical Evacuation Insurance
Visiting the rural areas of Africa might be an enriching experience but if you catch pneumonia or worse, a mosquito bite that turns out to be malaria, then reaching a proper medical facility in time can be a challenging task. To avoid jeopardizing your life and to save the enormous expenses incurred in reaching a proper medical facility on time, you must have medical evacuation insurance.
As the name implies, this type of travel insurance is needed if you are traveling to a remote area or any other region that does not have adequate medical facilities.
5. Lost Baggage Insurance
Damaged, delayed or lost baggage is everyone’s biggest travel nightmare. Not only is it upsetting to find your belongings damaged upon arrival, but it is even more disheartening to lose your precious stuff altogether.
You can keep handy valuables such as electronic gadgets and jewelry in the carry-on luggage in order to decrease the chance of them being damaged or stolen. But heavy or bulky items such as musical instruments, fine art or several other expensive things cannot be brought in hand-carry. Of course, in case of a mishap you might not regain your lost or damaged item but at least you will be covered financially.
Moreover, if your luggage is delayed then this type of travel insurance can provide you with the money needed to buy the essentials that you require in the meanwhile.
6. 24/7 Assistance
This may or may not be considered as a type of travel insurance but nonetheless, it is a great service offered by almost every travel insurance company.
By subscribing to a 24/7 assistance plan, it is not an exaggeration to say that you can truly leave all your worries behind. As is evident by its name, this travel policy entitles you to royal care at all times no matter where your trip takes you.
The provider of this service will help you overcome any language barriers you might come across as well as help you search for lost baggage, passport or various other travel documents. They can assist you in replacing the lost belongings, in identity theft and also in locating the best hospital near you in case the need arises.
Does the documentation and paperwork that has to be filed before you can travel, rob you of all the fun? There’s no need to fret about them once you opt for the 24/7 travel assistance package.
7. Single Trip Travel Insurance
Single trip travel insurance is the best buy for all the people who travel rarely.
If you are not a frequent traveler and take one or maybe two trips at most within the whole year, then this type of travel insurance is the most cost-effective and beneficial policy that you can opt for.
The terms of this travel insurance can be tailored around your requirements. For instance, be it a long or a short break, the policy can be adjusted to cover your departure and arrival dates as well as the place that you are going to.
However, do not be deceived by the term ‘single.’ This policy is not just for lone riders. Single trip travel insurance usually covers up to eight people per each policy so that your partner and children are insured as well.
This policy is also highly useful for senior citizens who are over 65 years old and already have medical insurance.
8. Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurance
This type of insurance is the exact opposite of single trip travel insurance, as this is for all the frequent travelers out there.
An annual travel policy means that you can travel at any time during the specified year and rest assured that you will be insured in case any unforeseen incident occurs. Whether your job requires you to travel a lot or you are an impulsive person who loves to make decisions at the last minute, short breaks every now and then; this travel insurance has got your back at any given time.
You can choose from various options depending on whether you want to insure your family, your travel partner or just yourself. However, buying this insurance for several people does not mean that you all must travel together. All adults are allowed to travel individually given they are insured on an annual multi-trip insurance policy for a couple or a family. Children (under 18 years) insured on this policy must be accompanied by an adult in order to avail the benefits from this insurance. Note that the adult accompanying them must also be insured under the same policy, unless stated otherwise.
Also, remember that annual travel insurance policies are based on the area of travel and therefore, charged accordingly. Annual travel insurance for European countries is the cheapest, whereas it is the most expensive for USA, Canada, and the Caribbean. The price for all other countries falls in between this range.
9. Cruise Travel Insurance
Description: Welcome on-board sign hanging in front of a blue watery background
Unless your journey consists of being on a cruise all the time, this type of travel insurance is usually considered to be an extension to any other main travel insurance policy.
Cruise insurance covers special aspects pertaining to cruise travel alone. For example, it goes without saying that missing port departure, cabin confinement and a cover of unused excursions that are not covered in a standard policy will be taken into account in cruise travel insurance.
10. Winter Sports Insurance
This is another travel insurance that is customized to very specific needs. Winter sports cover is the go-to travel insurance for outdoor enthusiasts who love snowboarding, hiking, skiing and/or sledding.
Whether you are going on a snow adventure for the first time or you have already mastered these activities, winter sports insurance policy must be in every sports enthusiast’s tool kit to help them in case of any injuries or accidents. This policy will not just cover your medical expenses when you suffer from a mishap, it will also insure your expensive sports equipment and the cost incurred in rescuing you from a mountainside.
Some annual multi-trip insurance policies often provide about two weeks of winter sports cover as part of the package. Otherwise, you will have to pay an additional fee to add this feature to your travel insurance.
11. All-Inclusive Travel Insurance
This policy functions as the name says it does.
It incorporates most or sometimes even all of the policies discussed above into one complete and comprehensive package so that you are truly covered from every angle. It is handy and it will provide you with peace of mind, but it goes without saying that it is also the most expensive of all the options. If you plan on going on a long and elaborate excursion then this policy will suit you the best. Otherwise, you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
These were all the different travel insurance types that you ought to know about and why you should buy one. So, before you take-off, tick off travel insurance from your checklist so that you can have the time of your life even when things do not go as you originally planned.