The Nuts and Bolts of Travel Insurance and Why you Need it for your Next International Trip

As defined the The US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA), a national association of insurance carriers, third-party administrators, insurance agencies and related businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and travel assistance products; “travel insurance is designed to cover the times when things go wrong and problems arise when you are on a trip.” There are three types of travel insurance coverage contained in a single policy - Financial, Medical and Assistance.

• Financial reimbursement for trip cancellation, interruption and delay in situations arising from conditions such as illness or bad weather; and for baggage loss and/or delay.

• Medical insurance and medical evacuation coverage in case you become ill or are injured while traveling.

• 24-hour assistance line to help find doctors, help arrange accommodations, contact your family or other assistance in case of emergency.

It’s all-purpose emergency coverage and is the single most important thing you should get for your trip (but hope to never have to use). Since most health programs don’t cover you overseas and credit cards offer really limited protection, travel insurance is something you definitely need to protect against the unknown and unforseen events.

What will it Cost?

• Travel insurance generally costs from 4% to 8% of the total trip. Cost is based on the length of trip, destination, and age of policy holder.

Is Travel Insurance Right For You?

When determining whether travel insurance is right for you, ask yourself the following basic questions:

• Can I afford the financial risk of losing my vacation investment if something goes wrong due to illness, weather, or other unforeseen circumstances?

• If I have to cut my trip short because of an emergency can I afford the cost of a return airline trip home?

• Does my health insurance cover me away from home and in foreign countries if I become ill or am injured while traveling?

• If my bags are lost or I have to spend an extra night because of weather-related problems, can I afford to buy replacement necessities and pay for extra lodging?

If you answered 'No' to any of the above questions, chances are that travel insurance may be a wise investment. Travel insurance can end up saving you a lot of money.

Why Buy Travel Insurance?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to purchase travel insurance. The most common reasons are peace of mind, protection from the unexpected, and concern over losing the financial investment in a trip.

Here are some real-life examples:

• You have to cut your trip short because of illness

• You have to cancel your nonrefundable trip because a family member had an accident

• Your flight is delayed overnight because of bad weather, and you need a hotel room

• Your baggage is lost or substantially delayed

• You miss your cruise departure because of weather-related flight delays

• You need medical assistance while abroad

• You have an auto accident in a foreign country and need legal assistance

• You have to cancel a trip because your home is flooded or uninhabitable

• You can't get home because of a hurricane, floods or other natural disaster at your destination.

Where should I purchase Travel and Should I purchase from a UStiA member?

When, buying travel insurance, buy from UStiA member.

• UStiA membership is your assurance that a company has met high industry standards including participation in the association’s Code of Ethical Conduct.

Before you purchase any type of travel insurance be sure to check with your credit card company to assess what type of coverage may already be built into your agreement. And when buying travel insurance, always be sure to ask what is covered and if in fact it meets the standards of the three types of travel insurance coverage contained in a single policy - Financial, Medical and Assistance.

Do you have any travel related stories where insurance saved the day? Please feel free to share in the comments or on our Facebook page as we want to hear from you.

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