With summer officially here, more and more people are starting vacations and family getaways. In addition, demand for air travel has increased as the COVID-19 pandemic lifted restrictions. Still, the airline industry continues to be challenged by flight cancellations due to staff shortages, labor issues, airfare increases, and schedule reductions due to soaring fuel prices.
With so many travel factors beyond our control, it can be tempting to purchase travel insurance. A travel insurance policy can protect against unforeseen circumstances that get in the way of your travel plans while providing peace of mind in times of uncertainty.
Although often considered interchangeable, travel insurance and protection are not the same. Travel insurance is a regulated product underwritten by an insurance company and typically offers more COVID-related provisions. Travel protection, which travel agencies or travel agencies often offer, is less comprehensive and less expensive and usually only provides a waiver of fees or the granting of credit for the cancellation of your travel.
If you’re traveling this summer, we’ll explain travel cancellation insurance coverage, how it differs from travel protection, and what to consider before making a purchase.
Is travel insurance worth it? This is a frequently asked question at this time of year, and it’s worth thinking about as you plan that next trip to visit your in-laws. But, of course, now that you’ve created an itinerary and researched the best prices, the last thing you need to consider when booking your tickets is whether you need to add travel insurance. So, to simplify the decision-making process, we’ve put together a list of all the times you need to buy travel insurance — and the times you’re better off avoiding the expense.
There are two main types of travel insurance: basic and comprehensive. As the name suggests, a basic diet covers the bare minimum. This type of insurance usually covers lost baggage costs, reimbursements for missed flights, and reimbursements when you cannot travel due to illness. Comprehensive coverage will typically include all of the benefits mentioned above, plus the costs of medical emergencies, disaster evacuations, and even accidental death costs.
The price of travel insurance varies by company and what each plan covers, but according to ValuePenguin, a financial research site, the average cost for a basic plan is $105, compared to $164 for full coverage. Completing which protection plan works best is up to you, but many experts recommend shelling out extra for the whole package.
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a significant insurance policy overseen by state insurance regulators. By purchasing travel insurance, you could be reimbursed for any losses during your trip. Covered incidents can range from unexpected inconveniences such as delayed baggage to major disruptions such as illness or injury.
As always, check with official sources for visa and travel requirements to your specific destination so you don’t get caught off guard. For example, if you want to take a trip to Cuba, you might be surprised to find that you need non-U.S. medical insurance, according to the State Department. A travel insurance policy will cover this requirement.
What does travel insurance cover?
The typical travel insurance policy consists of trip cancellation services and medical expenses.
Suppose you cannot travel due to an unforeseen event. In that case, travel insurance will reimburse you for initial non-refundable costs, such as flights and hotel reservations that cannot be refunded. Unforeseeable circumstances generally include things over which you have no control that prevents you from traveling, such as adverse weather conditions, injury, or illness, which now comprises COVID-related diseases in most (but not all) cases.
It wasn’t offered when the COVID-19 shutdowns began in 2020. “[The public] was nervous because most insurance policies had pandemic exclusions,” said Michael Giusti, an analyst at Quotes. Insurance. “But the travel industry turned to the consumer and included COVID in the policies. And so, if you get sick with COVID and can’t travel, they’ll cover your expenses.
Unforeseen events caused by pre-existing conditions are even covered. For example, according to Giusti, if you have asthma and experience an attack, that still counts as an unexpected event. On the other hand, planned events, such as travel during your eighth month of pregnancy, are not covered.
Michael said that government mandates that may come into effect while traveling aren’t necessarily covered either, Giusti said. So, for example, your policy may not cover you if you cannot board due to a new mandate. And the fear of traveling isn’t covered either – so if you’re afraid to travel due to concerns about contracting COVID, your travel insurance policy won’t reimburse your trip.
The second part of the typical travel insurance policy covers health costs if you are outside your home insurance network during your trip. This often includes doctor visits for more minor illnesses, such as a stomach bug, emergency services, and medical evacuations. Your travel insurance company will pay for anything your health insurer won’t (depending on your plan and deductible). Read the fine print to make sure this is included in your plan.
What about travel protection? How is it different?
While travel insurance can provide financial coverage for rental damage, lost luggage, flight delays, medical expenses, and ticket cancellation, travel protection typically only allows you to change, cancel or refund a travel purchase (such as a flight or hotel). Airlines often offer the option to purchase travel protection when you buy a ticket online, which can help you get your money back or give you travel credit if you need to cancel a flight.
Travel protection, also known as travel protection, is not offered by hotels but can be purchased when booking a cruise, according to Benét J. Wilson, editor-in-chief of The Dots Guy.
Premium credit cards may also offer coverage for certain travel expenses as a cardholder benefit. This coverage is usually labeled as travel insurance but provides a minimum of what you typically get when purchasing from an insurance agency. What’s covered depends on the card, but generally, you’re looking at coverage for emergency evacuation, death, loss of sight, or loss of limbs, according to Wilson.
To make sure you’re buying a genuine travel insurance policy, don’t just search for the word ‘insurance’ – be sure to look for a well-known travel insurance brand that works with a travel insurance underwriter, such as Allianz Travel Insurance. Plus, you can make sure the company you’re buying from is listed on AM Best and the Travel Insurance Association of America before you buy.
How much does travel insurance cost?
How much you will pay for travel insurance depends on a few factors:
Cost of your trip
Destination of the trip
Your coverage selections (flights and hotels, prepaid excursions, etc.)
That said, a good rule of thumb when budgeting for travel insurance is 5-10% of the total trip cost, according to Giusti.
What is cancellation insurance for any reason?
Cancellation for Any Reason Insurance, or CFAR, does precisely what its name promises: it allows you to cancel for any reason and receive a refund, going beyond the limits of a typical insurance trip. However, these policies are more expensive and generally do not cover 100% of your costs in the event of cancellation. And you must purchase this insurance shortly after booking your trip.
“As soon as you put down your deposits for your trip, the clock starts ticking,” Giusti said. “So you have to buy this insurance policy within the time limit. They don’t want you buying the policy six months later when you’re about to take the trip and hear about a new COVID variant. »
“CFAR can reimburse up to 75% of the cost of the traveler’s trip if they have to cancel for a reason not covered by their policy,” said Megan Moncrief, director of marketing at SquareMouth.com, a quote engine and travel insurance comparison. “It costs an additional 40-50% premium and is only eligible within 21 days of first booking the trip.
What are the benefits of travel insurance?
Being insured has many advantages, including, for example, extensive coverage for all insured persons. In addition, travel insurance purchased on eSky includes third-party liability, accident insurance, and medical expenses cover, as well as several other insurances ideal for travel and leisure.
The insurance coverage obtained from travel insurance allows you to enjoy the trip and rest with peace of mind. For a small sum, you can protect yourself against unforeseen, often substantial expenses, such as the costs incurred during a visit to the doctor or hospital treatment or the need to cover the damage caused. It should be remembered that travel insurance offers extensive coverage from the beginning to the end of the trip. It therefore also covers, for example, a flight to your destination and a return flight. In addition, the insurance taken out with eSky also includes a default alcohol content clause at no additional cost.
Where to buy travel insurance?
Travel insurance can be purchased on eSky when booking flights or separately – after purchasing flight tickets on eSky or from another service. Insurance can also be taken out with eSky, even if the planned trip has to be made by another means of transport, for example by train, bus, boat or with your car. To do this, one must go to the page dedicated to insurance and provide the required information, then pay for the travel insurance.
Do all travel insurance companies cover COVID-related claims?
While most travel insurance companies have generally moved to cover COVID-related cancellations, not all have. Also, while most plans offer COVID-related protections, they’ll only cover you if you’re sick, not if you’re worried about traveling due to an outbreak.
Coverage amounts vary by policy and can range from $50,000 to $1 million in coverage per traveler, according to Moncrief. SquareMouth.com suggests looking for a policy with at least $50,000 medical coverage and $100,000 medical evacuation coverage.
If you’re particularly concerned about contracting COVID, or you’re high-risk and concerned about hospital costs, you might want to consider policies with higher medical benefits. For example, some companies offer plans for $500,000 of COVID medical coverage per person and reimburse 100% of travel costs for cancellations of COVID-related illnesses. These companies include:
It’s important to talk to the insurer and read the fine print if you have questions about your coverage.
Does travel insurance cover quarantine costs?
This is where it gets tricky. Say you’re on a trip to London, and you contract COVID just before your outbound flight, and now you have to quarantine yourself until you test negative. You’ll suddenly need extra money for accommodation, meals, and possibly medical care while away.
Will travel insurance cover these costs? “It’s going to be policy by policy,” Giusti said. Some plans may have additional hotel stays and airfare coverage if you need to quarantine. However, the board may not cover the entire quarantine. So you’ll want to check your plan’s trip delay or trip interruption benefits to see if quarantine interruptions are included.
“Most policies extend seven days beyond the expected return date, although some policies may extend longer,” Moncrief said. Trip delay compensation can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars of coverage. At the higher end is a maximum payout of $2,000 per traveler, which breaks down to around $150 to $250 per day.
If quarantine is included in your Trip Interruption benefit, your plan may also provide reimbursement for missed prepaid portions of your trip, including excursions.
We contacted travel insurance companies to see their offers but did not receive an immediate response. We will keep this article updated as we receive new information.
Should I take out travel insurance?
It depends. Travel insurance may be worth purchasing if you’ve made deposits for your trip, especially for all-expenses-paid trips like cruises. If something happens, you risk losing all the money you have deposited, and travel insurance would prohibit this risk.
On the other hand, if you are just visiting family and not paying for accommodation, it may not be wise to purchase travel insurance, especially if the airline offers a policy—simple cancellation. But if you’re worried about canceling your trip because of COVID, opting for travel insurance with broad coverage can give you peace of mind.
For more, check out CNET’s recommendations for the best travel credit cards, tips for safe travel in 2022, and how to make travel more affordable despite the rising cost of flights.
When is travel insurance worth it?
International Travel: Imagine being stranded in another country because a family member misplaced their passport. Chances are you won’t be able to catch that return flight, which means you’ll have to cough up for another ticket. Wouldn’t it be nice to have insurance allowing you to be reimbursed for those unforeseen expenses? With the security of knowing that your trip is insured, you might even be able to move past this series of unfortunate events and enjoy your extended vacation.
Medical coverage: Depending on what your health insurance plan covers, it’s not a bad idea to get additional coverage through travel insurance. If you get hurt or sick in a big city abroad, chances are your health insurance will cover the cost, but if your medical issues require an extended stay, you could be in for a hefty bill.
Cruises: As fun as an all-inclusive Bahamas cruise can be, it comes with many risks: international travel, a large upfront payment, and a longer time frame for problems to arise. Fortunately, there is travel insurance, which you can purchase from the cruise line or a third party. Hurricane season is a great time to snag great deals on cruises, but you’ll also want to buy insurance if the rains affect your plans.
When is travel insurance not worth It?
Domestic travel: If the extended family members you’re visiting are still living in France, save a few bucks and skip the travel insurance. Domestic trips are shorter and cheaper, and your health insurance will work here even if you are in another department.
If your credit card offers it: Some credit card companies offer travel insurance up to a certain amount as part of their benefits.
For flights: Airlines usually must put you on another flight if your trip is canceled. Depending on how long the airline will take to reseat your flight, you may be entitled to compensation – no insurance necessary. Also, flight insurance will not help you book a new flight faster.
If you’re just looking for flexibility: It’s tempting to buy travel insurance “just in case,” but you’re better off spending your money elsewhere. If you want peace of mind knowing you can cancel your reservations at the last minute and get your money back, choose a hotel booking package that lets you cancel up to the day of your arrival. This way, you’re not wasting money on a comprehensive insurance plan when you only need a flexible hotel reservation.