The concept of travel insurance can be quite nebulous for most people. Travel insurance covers expenses on medical treatment or if the trip is cancelled, the luggage lost, or if you meet with an accident while travelling. You can buy travel insurance to cover exactly the duration of a trip or if you are a frequent traveler, you can buy a cover for a defined period during which multiple trips can be made. Not every trip that you make will need travel insurance, but you should definitely consider cover trips that are expensive or can entail risks that will end up being expensive for you. Some tips on getting travel insurance:
Take the Type of Trip into Account
Taking out a travel insurance cover for a trip to the seaside just a couple of hours away may be superfluous but if you are planning a seaside vacation at an exotic international location such as the Bahamas, it may very well be worth it for a number of reasons. Not only do these type of trips involve costly tickets but expose you to the hazards of lost baggage, missed flight connections, delays, accidents and illness, etc. that can end up by costing quite a lot. It is a good policy to get travel insurance for any trip that involves expenses that have already been paid by you and which are not refundable or subject to stiff penalties for cancellation due to travel mishaps or unexpected changes.
Calculate the Non-Refundable and Pre-Paid Amounts
It is important to keep in mind that travel insurance will only apply to costs that have been incurred before you actually depart, and which attract cancellation penalties. You should take care to cover all the expenses that have already been incurred and which are not fully refundable if at all the trip needs to be cancelled or interrupted. Whether purchasing a travel insurance policy is worthwhile or not depends completely on your non-refundable part of the costs of the trip. The usual things covered by travel insurance are flights, stays in hotels, vacation packages that are all-inclusive, your tour packages and even any tickets for shows or visits to the destination. If the amounts are refundable to a large extent then there is no need to take them into account while calculating the extent of cover that you require.
Compare Insurance Plans before Buying
Purchasing travel insurance has become extremely easy with innumerable insurance companies, brokers and agents making available a huge assortment of offers online. However, it is a not the wisest idea to buy the first travel insurance policy that you see on the search results page. It helps a lot if you know what sort of coverage you are looking for and what your pocket will allow. Make a shortlist of a few insurance plans from different sources and try and compare them to see which fits your requirement the best. There are also a number of sites that allow you to specify the features you want as well as various filters to give you a comparison chart that you can use to make up your mind. While by and large, all plans will have the same trip coverage; it is in the other benefits such as baggage protection, travel delay, and emergency medical coverage that they will usually vary. Pick the one that suits you the best.
Get the Right Value for Money
When it comes to selecting the right travel insurance plan, the crunch comes when you start comparing the premiums as they can vary quite a bit although the basic features can often be similar. This is because there are certain features that are unique to every policy. It is also very important that you quote accurate details of the destination, trip duration and cost, as well as the age of the travelers as the premium calculation takes all these into account. Make sure that your plan has all the essential features you need before putting your money down.
Jim Hartley is an insurance consultant handling travel insurance at RSA, one of the leading multinational insurance companies in the world.