Travel Insurance: Deciding Coverage and Cost

 By: Dave Page
Travel insurance is a relatively new commodity that became popular only towards the end of the 20th century. The current estimate of the cost of travel insurance range between 5% and 8% of the total travel cost.

If the holiday vacation is worth about $10,000, the cost of travel insurance is at most $800. It is a substantial amount, and thus, some travelers are tempted to forego the idea of getting travel insurance at all. Getting such an insurance policy might be considered a luxury. But during the travel, some things are beyond anyone's control. The luggage may be lost. One of the kids may get sick. The flight may be cancelled. The expenses for these unexpected incidents can be claimed when there is travel insurance. And the travelers will have peace of mind knowing that they have travel insurance.

Different travel insurance coverage

However, not all travelers' insurance policies are exactly the same. For example, all travel insurance policies state that they cover trip cancellations. But the traveler must be aware that some policies cover only trip cancellations caused by sudden illness or death, airline cancellations due to weather or bankruptcy, jury duty, and emergency military duty. Some, but not all, travel insurance policies may also honor trip cancellations due to travel warnings issued by the US State Department. And few policies have the "cancel anytime" coverage, which allows the traveler to cancel anytime and for any reason.

Obviously, the inclusion of this last type of coverage will drive up the cost of the travel insurance policy. But travelers have different needs. Some may need this "cancel anytime" feature while others may not. What every traveler needs, however, is a travel insurance that is affordable and will provide the coverage needed. Deciding early on the coverage of the traveler's insurance will allow the traveler to obtain a relatively cheap travel insurance policy. But how do you decide? Research and common sense are needed.

Including medical coverage in travel insurance

For example, one of the most important and pressing concern during travel is the medical coverage. Going to another country is not a walk in the park. You may have a difficult time adjusting to the climate. You may get sick because of the food that you ate. You may be involved in an accident. Or you may have accidentally bumped your head against a solid wall because you were ogling scantily-dressed beautiful women. The question now is this: what type of medical coverage do you need?

For longer travels, the travelers insurance must include doctor visits, as well as hospitalization. If the traveler has no healthcare coverage, it is recommended to have a comprehensive medical coverage included in the travel insurance policy. If a person has healthcare, the HMO must be consulted first on whether they can cover emergency care even when the insured is abroad. And if they do, the traveler must know the maximum number of days that the HMO will provide medical coverage. When the HMO does provide such coverage, then there is no need for a comprehensive medical coverage. Having double coverage on medical expenses is not the best way to get cheap travel insurance.

There are cases, however, that the travel insurance must include the medical evacuation insurance feature. This feature covers the cost of transporting the patient from one emergency facility to another. The patient is assumed to be badly injured or terribly ill. Obviously, this feature is necessary for travelers who will be involved in extreme sports, in which the chances of being injured are high. The medical evacuation insurance is also useful for travelers who have chronic diseases and for travelers whose destinations are remote areas of underdeveloped countries, where medical facilities are insufficient to care for the traveler's emergency needs.
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