Eight Important Things to know before you go
After a recent flight to the United States, a British airline employee had this to say: "None of these people have travel insurance - nutters!"
When an airline employee, who in the event of trouble can get themselves shipped home within hours free of charge, thinks it essential to have travel insurance, it makes me wonder what the heck I'm doing tooling around the planet with only the specious airline Contract of Carriage, my own homeowner's insurance, and Blue Cross Blue Shield as a safety net.
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, travel insurance tripled in popularity, according to insure.com: Travel insurance three times as popular since Sept. 11.
Still, many folks are not sure exactly what is and isn't covered. For an excellent primer in the facts and fictions of Travel Insurance, see Travel Insurance.
Additionally, recent developments also point to the increased utility of travel insurance:
With several airlines operating under bankruptcy protection, with the prospect of more to come;new and tighter restrictions on non-refundable fares; the effects of heightened security;the prospect of war.
Insurance Address All of The Above?
For example, in the case of bankruptcy: Most basic, entry-level trip cancellation insurance (TCI) policies cover airline bankruptcies. However, if the company issuing the insurance is the same company as the one going bankrupt, as is possible in the case of cruise lines, you may be out of luck.
Another example: if you miss a flight due to a road closing caused by a traffic accident, you are covered; if you oversleep, you are not.
Clearly, there are undeniably situations where travel insurance decidedly does not cover you; here's a look at some of the major caveats the average emptor should know about.
Emptor #1: When the Travel Provider and the Insurer Are One
Emptor #2: Do You Have Primary or Secondary Coverage?
Emptor #3: Coverage For Events "Under Your Own Control"
What is under your control? That depends. For example, for a long time, this exemption included business and work related events; if you couldn't travel because your boss said you couldn't, you were out of luck.
Recently, however, some policies will treat work-related cancellations as legit claims; if your work might require that you cancel trips, inquire about this directly with the insurance agent.
Emptor #4: the "Named Peril" Exemption - Terrorism and More
Historically this coverage applied primarily to terrorism abroad; insurance companies are adapting in order to cover domestic terrorism. Inquire with your insurer to make sure you are covered irrespective of your destination.
Almost without fail, TCI policies do not cover losses caused by war or the threat of war. However, many companies are now offering supplemental insurance that will cover you for war-related cancellations and claims; obviously this is very highly recommended at present.
Emptor #5: Know What Your Existing Insurance Covers
More importantly, know health insurance benefits remain in effect when you are abroad. If you have very limited or no coverage outside the country, a beefed-up medical policy may be a must-have.
Emptor #6: Have Enough Insurance to Cover You
Emptor #7: Pre-existing Conditions
As with business-related cancellations, many insurers are now waiving these policies, especially if you purchase insurance immediately (usually within seven days) after you purchase your travel. This behavior mitigates the appearance of insurance bought late in the game after you know you are going to have to cancel.
Emptor #8: Know How To Make a Claim
Tips on Cruise Insurance
Cruise Insurance Update
Where to Compare: Insuremytrip.com is a great place to comparison shop for travel insurance; check the Products and FAQ sections first.
Contact Betins.com for more travel insurance information.