Many travel insurance providers offer a variety of policy add-ons, including COVID-19 coverage, medical evacuation reimbursement and terrorism coverage. Some also provide trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost luggage coverage and accidental death and dismemberment coverage.
However, you should understand how the cost of travel insurance varies by coverage and risk. For example, if you are planning a ski or adventure vacation, specialized coverage is more expensive than general trip insurance.
Review the Policy
When shopping for a travel insurance policy, it’s important to review the coverage options, claims and policy limits. Choosing the right policy can make the difference between having a smooth trip or a stressful one.
A good place to start is by reviewing the baseline coverage that each company offers in its cheapest comprehensive plan. This includes COVID-19 coverage, cancellation and delay benefits, medical evacuation and emergency medical coverage. Companies also receive points for offering a variety of policy add-ons such as coverage for extreme sports and valuable items, and for offering specialized policies for cruises.
Some travelers may want to consider purchasing “cancel for any reason” coverage, which reimburses up to 70% of pre-paid, nonrefundable trip costs if they cancel their trip — without having to provide a specific reason. But this is an extra cost on top of the standard trip cancellation coverage and will likely increase your premium by 40 percent or more.
Review the Exclusions
Many travel insurance policies exclude coverage for certain activities or situations. Review the policy’s exclusions carefully before purchasing. For example, most policies include a look-back period of 60, 90 or 180 days for pre-existing medical conditions. If you have symptoms during this time frame, the claim may be rejected.
The policy may also exclude losses for tours or hotel stays booked using frequent flier miles, credit card points or free vacations won as contest prizes. Similarly, the policy may exclude losses incurred for pre-paid or nonrefundable trip costs if you cancel within a specific time frame or for reasons that aren’t approved by the insurer.
To avoid these limitations, consider an upgrade to a “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) policy. This type of coverage usually reimburses a percentage of your pre-paid, nonrefundable trip costs, around 70%, without the need for a reason. This type of policy is more expensive but can provide greater flexibility. It is available as a standalone policy or as an add-on to comprehensive policies.
Review the Company’s Customer Reviews
You’ve heard about customer reviews for movies, restaurants and hotels, but you can also read them online for travel insurance. These can give you a good sense of how efficient a provider is at settling claims.
You should also check a company’s reputation and financial stability. Some companies offer a free look period, which allows you to review the policy and request a refund if you’re unsatisfied. Others have 24/7 travel assistance, which can arrange medical treatment, monitor your health, provide interpreters and help replace lost passports.
Travelex Insurance Services provides competitive pricing for comprehensive plans that cover everything from canceled and interrupted trips to medical emergencies and evacuations. Its policies are underwritten by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, which holds an A++ rating from AM Best and AA+ from Standard & Poor’s. The company has been providing travel insurance since 1996. It offers a range of insurance packages and optional coverages, including CFAR and rental car coverage.
Consider Additional Coverage
Many travel insurance policies include add-ons or riders that increase coverage limits or cover activities that are excluded from standard plans. For example, some comprehensive policies include flight accident coverage or car rental collision protection. These rider options may be worth considering if your trip is very expensive or you are planning a dangerous activity.
Similarly, many travelers consider buying a travel health policy to protect themselves against illness or injury while traveling. However, remember that these policies are not the same as traditional medical insurance and do not replace your primary coverage.
Ultimately, travel insurance is an inexpensive way to mitigate the risk of losing prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs due to unforeseen circumstances or emergencies. While it is important to research the different companies and policies available, be sure to narrow your choices before purchasing a plan. Narrowing your options will make it easier to find the best travel insurance for your trip. Using an online marketplace will also help you compare prices and features to find the right fit.