Travel insurance 101

There’s no doubt that travel has changed in the past two years. Travel restrictions are ever-changing, which has created more of an emphasis on being able to travel safely and confidently. That’s why we created this guide – to help you understand and navigate travel insurance to ensure you’re prepared and protected.

 

Benefits of travel insurance

Prior to COVID-19, some travelers wouldn’t have considered purchasing travel insurance. Now, many people are exploring the benefits of protecting their trip, which is smart. Travel insurance can bring peace of mind in knowing that there’s added protection to help ensure you don’t lose money in the event of an emergency.

The four main benefits of travel insurance are:

  1. Reimbursement. You can get money for the cost of your flight, hotel or rental car in the event of an unexpected trip interruption or cancellation.
  2. Medicinal benefits. Travel insurance can help cover medical emergencies while traveling, which can be critical when traveling abroad.
  3. Help with lost items. When life happens, travel insurance helps with protection for lost, damaged or stolen personal items.
  4. 24/7 help. With travel insurance, you can get 24-hour emergency assistance services from your provider.

 

Travel insurance can help when the unexpected happens

Various destinations may require you to purchase travel insurance prior to arrival, so it’s important to research your destination’s requirements before embarking. Our Travel Restrictions resource can help you navigate these, but always be sure to check local government websites as well.

Even if you are not traveling to another country, COVID-19 may still be a top concern and some travel insurance companies have been doing the right thing for their customers in uncertain times. Even if they do not cover epidemics, they’ve been making temporary accommodations for COVID-19 claims until they can release new insurance plans with the protection travelers need for today’s world.

It’s important to read the fine print carefully and to speak with a representative at the insurance company so that you really understand your benefits. To avoid confusion, you could consider exploring Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage. While CFAR plans are often more expensive, this level of coverage allows travelers to, as the name suggests, cancel their trip for any reason. Whether it be fear of travel, illness or border closures due to COVID-19, and more. NerdWallet provides a simple overview of the different types of insurance and what they typically cover.

Another reason to consider travel insurance: bad weather. It’s best to purchase travel insurance sooner than later, but again, be sure to read up on your policy. Travel insurance can help in the case that your plans get delayed or canceled due to rain, snow, storms and more.

 

Choosing the right insurance

According to the Better Business Bureau, it’s best to first check with your current health, car and home insurance providers. There is a potential you have existing coverage under these plans. If using a credit card to purchase your travel, check with your card provider to understand the extent of coverage offered if you need to cancel or change plans. A lot of times, there may be gaps and travel insurance can provide more holistic protection that’s specifically designed for travelers.

Once you understand your existing coverage, begin to explore what additional coverage you may need. For example, if your personal health insurance plan is one of the few that provides coverage outside the US., it may be best to look for travel insurance with trip cancellation, interruption or delay benefits when leaving the country. According to the Insurance Information Institute, travelers can expect insurance to cost around 5 – 7% of the total cost of their trip.

If all this sounds like a lot of work, the easiest way to keep your travel budget safe is to add travel insurance when booking your trip. The plan offered at checkout is often designed to provide the recommended amount of protection with the most popular benefits for your trip. It can include trip cancellation and interruption protection, emergency medical care and transportation benefits, travel delay and baggage protection, 24-hour live assistance services, and much more–all so you can worry less and make the most of your entire travel experience.

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