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What is travel insurance?

What is Travel Insurance?Travel insurance is protection against unexpected changes in plans when away from home. Although most people travel for business or pleasure, there are several things that could happen unexpectedly.

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Protection is available whether you are on your way to your destination or have to cancel your trip entirely. Get a thorough understanding of what this protection offers, and whether you really need it.

What is travel insurance coverage?

When most people think of travel insurance, they think of medical coverage abroad. This type of insurance covers several other possibilities. Depending on what type of policy you purchase, it usually covers what could happen during the course of a trip. Many airlines, cruise ships, and online travel websites offer this type of coverage. It is not generalized so it is important to read the fine print.

If you are in an accident on the way to the airport, or you miss your flight, travel insurance may assist in getting another flight. If there is a flight cancellation, travel insurance may pay hotel expense until another flight is available. Another example might be if you become ill while in flight or before you take flight, you may be eligible for medical assistance or evacuation.

Does my current health insurance cover me overseas?

No. Employers of business travelers may have an international coverage clause added as a rider, but most health insurance carriers are licensed to cover a certain region or state. Once you leave that region, you’re on your own. Even travel insurance will only cover you while traveling, but if you are going to stay more than 30 days you may have to purchase expatriate insurance.

Does my health insurance cover me in another state?

It depends on whether the carrier is licensed in that state. Even if they are, there may be some limitations or extra out-of-pocket expense to the subscriber. There are policies that require the policy holder to pay 20% of the cost before the insurance kicks in.

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What are state department travel alerts?

The State Department issues travel alerts for people traveling abroad. Terrorist threats may require the traveler to cancel or alter plans. Travel insurance, covers situations like this as well. If there is an attack and the traveler has to evacuated, travel insurance covers it. The traveler could be injured during the attack and have to be flown back to the states or neighboring country where proper medical attention is available. These alerts are not limited to terrorist attacks as weather conditions can also warrant alerts.

State Department alerts are advised on different levels of threats. The different levels indicate whether you should be on guard or avoid a particular territory all together. These alerts are available through the media and all travel venues.

Is travel insurance and expatriate insurance the same?

No. Expatriate insurance is a form of insurance coverage for people who are away from their home country for more than 30 days. It is advisable to obtain expatriate insurance in your homeland before traveling to another country. Expatriate insurance coverage is very much like domestic healthcare coverage with consideration to third world conditions. With this consideration in mind, this overseas coverage may cost a few extra dollars. Some carriers will not even provide it because of the risks.

How can I find and purchase travel insurance?

Shopping for this type of coverage is simple. It is important to determine what your needs are if you are an individual or group. A vacation may only require a one-time policy coverage for the trip whereas a college student in an international exchange program may require a different type of coverage. Customization is essential. Different forms of travel insurance are available such as:

  • Annual Insurance – For frequent trips throughout the year
  • Group Travel Plans – For businesses and groups of travelers
  • Worldwide Major Medical – For situations that require surgery or a similar major expense
  • Baggage Insurance – Covers lost luggage

This is a short list of options. One policy will suffice for those who take frequent international or domestic trips throughout the year. If you just want to get the basics for short trips or vacations, a simple medical and baggage policy will suffice.

Online comparison sites are available that will allow you to make a conscious choice. The cost should not be the determining factor however. It is offered for an additional fee of approximately $30 when airline tickets are purchased. If purchased through an insurance company it could be more or less.

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