When to Purchase Travel Insurance and What It Covers
These days, people have been purchasing travel insurance more than ever. Obviously, one of the most important reasons is coverage for illnesses such as COVID-19.
Most travel insurance policies include many of the same major benefits, but the coverage amount and price vary. If you’re shopping for a policy, it’s important to understand what benefits are most essential to you – and to know when to buy your policy.
Let’s take a look at some travel insurance options to consider, including when to purchase travel insurance and what it covers.
COVID-19 Epidemic Coverage
Most insurance companies now have epidemic coverage, which will cover for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic/pandemic. Benefits may vary by plan and state.
Benefits are not retroactive, meaning your coverage will not cover an illness that is ongoing (or is happening) prior to purchasing the policy. Some policies may offer pre-existing condition coverage so long as you purchase your plan within 14 days of your trip deposit.
Travel policies with medical coverage will help ensure that you (and your family members if applicable) will be covered before any potential illness actually happens. Waiting to purchase COVID-19 insurance coverage closer to departure date will cost you, and it may not be available the longer you wait, or it might be more expensive. Again, experts agree you should never wait more than 14 days before you travel.
As always, be sure you know what the policy covers before you buy and what is excluded as it relates to cancellation or trip interruption specifically due to COVID related illnesses, as well as land border closures or mandatory quarantines.
Other Medical Emergencies and Evacuations
If you’re planning to book an adventure-filled vacation, a cruise, or an overseas trip, you’ll definitely want to include coverage for comprehensive medical insurance and medical evacuation in case you or a family member on your trip have an emergency, contract an illness, or are involved in an accident where you’ll soon need to be repatriated.
Remember that other countries will not accept your U.S. workplace health insurance policy. Policies could cover prescription drugs, hospitalization, and physician costs.
Hurricane and Other Weather Related Cancellations
If you’re worried about booking a cruise during hurricane season, purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy which includes trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage for your cruise. Again, try to purchase the insurance at time of booking since you may not be able to purchase this coverage if it’s too close to the time of your departure.
A trip cancellation policy can refund 100% of your prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses if you cancel before leaving your home. Check which travel insurance policy covers the most and has the least exclusions.
Canceling for Any Reason (CFAR) Endorsements
Anxious travelers will benefit knowing there is a way out for any reason. This type of comprehensive policy with a CFAR endorsement is more expensive and needs to be purchased early.
This policy might partially refund you incurred costs such as prepaid expenses simply because you changed your mind – whether from fear or you changed your mind altogether about the location and/or time of travel.
According to consumersadvocate.org, a CFAR is a great option, but can have some limitations. You probably won't be fully reimbursed for everything, even though you're insuring 100% of your costs. Most travel insurance policies give you the option of a 50 or 75% reimbursement.
Baggage Loss or Delay
Baggage loss at airports is usually covered by the airline, but like everything else, they do have exclusions. If you have expensive luggage or priceless items in your luggage, why not protect the value?
Baggage coverage compensates for anything that an airline does not, including reimbursement for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage. Some credit cards and homeowner’s policies might also offer some basic coverage for lost baggage, but it is limited; Refer to their exclusions.
Baggage delays longer than 24 hours can be more than just a nuisance, so baggage delay coverage can cover basic necessities you’ll need until your luggage arrives. Baggage delay is often secondary coverage, meaning a claim with the airline is primary. Check your policy!
Mandatory Travel Insurance
Sometimes, a traveler will not have a choice. There are some countries where you have to have a travel insurance policy of some sort.
If you’re traveling to certain countries such as Egypt, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, travel insurance is required. If you’re not sure whether the country you’re traveling to requires a travel insurance policy, notify your knowledgeable Riverdale Travel consultant.
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The bottom line is that you can purchase some form of travel insurance any time before your trip, but rule of thumb indicates it should be no later than 14 days before departure. Keep in mind, the longer you wait after booking, the more you’ll pay, and you’ll have less options.
A comprehensive plan that includes valuable trip cancellation and trip interruption benefits, as well as a few other benefit endorsements will require purchase as soon as possible – preferably at time of booking.
Work with one of Riverdale’s expert travel consultants and discuss which travel insurance policy would be most beneficial for your European vacation, Caribbean cruise, or other out-of-this-world adventure you’ve been eagerly planning in your calendar and in your mind!
Booking it all together will provide that comforting, peace-of-mind feeling, so call us today! Bon Voyage!