Annual Travel Insurance Plans Just Make Sense

Ready for the Long-Awaited Trip: Just One More Thing

By Max Hartshorne
GoNOMAD Editor

My partner Mary is excited about her trip this spring to Andalusia, Spain. She will be traveling there with a group of landscape painters, and they'll be staying at a rustic hotel in Andalusia that's full of great scenes to capture with paint.

Taking a painting vacation in Spain.
Taking a painting vacation in Spain.

Last night she found a travel insurance policy that covered her trip airfare, and her health, in case something happens to her while she's over in Spain.

To Mary, who is nearing retirement at age 63, there was no question she'd buy travel insurance, as it was recommended by the tour leader and everyone else on the trip was signing up.  "I need to be careful, what would I do if something happened and I got sick over there?" she reasoned.

Her trip insurance would cover if she had cancel at the last minute--what a relief to get a refund for the airline ticket.

The cost was reasonable--just $72--and it will cover her for the entire 11 days she'll be in Spain. But what about those of us who travel regularly, say, once a month? What's the best option for travel insurance coverage for more frequent flyers, like me?

Annual Insurance Policies

On the other hand, someone who travels more than a few times a year should consider one of the company's Annual insurance plans.  This covers all of your travel for an entire year and is like buying the policies in bulk--much less overall because it covers every trip.  One thing to consider from financial planner Joel Ohman, is to check with your own insurance company to make sure there is no duplication of benefits with what you already have.

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There are many reasons it makes sense for anyone with a regular travel habit to have an annual policy. For instance, you might not remember to buy a policy for every time you leave the country, so making the decision to buy it once a year avoids any lapse.

It's also likely that if you're a frequent business traveler, you might be bringing an expensive projector or camera gear along. These are often targets of thieves, so having the protection of travel insurance will give you peace of mind. Check with the company about what the limits of coverage are.

Zipling in the Catskills. This and scuba diving might not be covered in an annual insurance policy.
Ziplining in the Catskills. This and scuba diving might not be covered by an annual insurance policy.

Getting it All Covered

Allianz Travel Insurance has it all covered. And it's not that much more money to buy an annual plan that covers ALL of your travel, versus just one trip.

A big difference between annual policies and individual trip policies is that annuals focus on medical coverage, as opposed to cancellation benefits.  For travelers who take many trips, it's difficult for underwriters to know how much you'll spend on your trips, and they are trying to limit their exposure. Fair enough.

Most annual policies such as the ones offered by Allianz will include medical transportation, auto rental collision damage waiver, and accident coverage. You can buy cancellation insurance on an annual, but it is an additional cost.  But in the fine print, you'll see that the company limits the definition of one trip to a maximum of 45 days.

"If you think you have a year's worth of coverage but need to coordinate trips to fit the fine print details. Even if you get sick within that 45-day limit, if your planned itinerary was longer, such as an around the world trip, they will still refuse payment," said one travel agent.

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There also sensible limits on hazardous activities such as zip lining, scuba diving, and bungee jumping. Check the policy details for what is covered.

This post is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and GoNOMAD has received financial compensation.

Max Hartshorne

Max Hartshorne has been the editor and publisher of GoNOMAD Travel in South Deerfield Mass since 2002. He worked for newspapers and other sales positions for 23 years until he finally got what he wanted, and became the editor at GoNOMAD. He travels regularly, enjoys publishing new writers, and watching his grandchildren grow up.