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November 23, 2015

Travel Insurance 101

Learn About Travel Insurance in Easy-To-Understand Terms

Comparing and choosing travel insurance coverage can be a daunting task. There are conditions, restrictions and exclusions, as well as various benefits with various benefit limits – which may or may not apply to your situation.

Purchasing travel insurance

Travel insurance should be purchased soon after making your initial trip deposit or when planning your travel calendar for the year. Because trip insurance is short term and doesn’t usually involve any underwriting, it’s easy to get an online quote. You can purchase coverage for a single trip or a full year of travel quickly and easily with a credit card.

Whether you want a budget or premium plan, expect to pay between 4-12% of the pre-paid, non-refundable portion of your trip.

Identifying coverage by importance

When choosing a travel insurance plan, identify which options are most important for your specific trip – and make sure benefit limits are adequate. 

If you and your family are going to the Gulf Coast in September, for instance, your three most important travel insurance criteria may be:

  • Coverage for hurricane cancellations
  • Medical evacuation coverage of at least $100,000
  • Missed connections

Policy certificate fine print

The policy certificate includes details of exactly what’s covered, including reasons for cancellations and coverage exclusions. Make sure you read and understand the policy certificate. 

Pre-existing conditions

Many plans have a waiver that excludes pre-existing conditions, so long as:

  • The insurance is purchased soon after the initial trip deposit.
  • You are insured for the full trip cost.
  • You are medically cleared for travel.

Travel insurance refund policies

A free look period is guaranteed by all insurance companies. During this time (typically 10 to 15 days), travelers can review their policies and are eligible for a full refund, minus a small administrative fee (typically $5 to $8).

Financial ratings

When comparing travel insurance companies, you want to make sure your insurance company has the financial backing to pay its claims. If you don’t have time to read a company’s annual report, take a look at the company’s ratings from A.M. Best, S&P and Moody’s.

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