When you book a prepaid tour package, such as a vacation cruise, you should seriously consider getting travel insurance to guarantee the cost of your trip. Any one of a number of things can happen before, and even after you board the ship that could ruin your vacation. And since the trip is prepaid, you want to be insured to make sure you get your money back if you have to cancel or your trip is interrupted.
What if your trip is canceled or delayed due to weather? Or what if you or a member of your party suddenly falls ill and can’t go? Will you lose the cost of your cruise? Or what if you get sick while on the cruise and need emergency care or have to be evacuated? Consider the plight of the passengers of the Costa Concordia who found themselves stranded in a foreign country without a passport. In each of these cases, the right travel insurance can protect you and your cruise investment before, during, and even after your cruise. Here are some things to look for when shopping for the right travel insurance policy.
- make sure you have trip cancellation coverage
- check for trip interruption and travel delay coverage
- be sure to have adequate medical coverage
- shop for adequate medical evacuation coverage
- get insurance with 24/7 phone and web support
- buy unless licensed in all 50 states
- pack anything expensive or irreplaceable
- rely on your agent for travel insurance
- expect travel insurance to cover lack of common sense
This is the most commonly asked for travel coverage and protects you in case of all kinds of eventualities, such as natural disaster, illness, assault, civil unrest, and even last minute work commitments. Remember that trip cancellation covers events before your leave on your trip, such as a death in the family, an accident on your way to the airport, or some other disaster. It does not cover you if you change your mind; that requires “cancel for any reason” coverage.
Trip interruption covers you once you have left on your trip, such as if you get sick or stuck in a location during your vacation, and covers the cost of extra hotel, and the transportation costs to rejoin the cruise. It also covers the cost of any prepaid hotels, events, and other accommodations you might have paid for in advance that are affected by the interruption. Travel delay coverage covers the costs while you are stranded in transit, such as the cost of a hotel, or extra transit expense if you experience a travel delay on a common carrier – for instance, if you have a weather delay getting to your cruise departure point. The idea is to cover expenses required to resume your trip. Normally, if you are delayed eight hours or more, travel delay coverage will cover it.
Most domestic health care plans don’t cover you when you leave the country, so be sure you are covered in case of accident or illness. Especially when you travel abroad, you want to be sure you have adequate coverage for emergency services, and be sure your policy covers pre-existing conditions. You might also want to check to see if you need additional coverage for high-risk activities such as parasailing, mountain climbing, or scuba diving.
If you do have to be flown to a hospital or for emergency care, the cost of transportation can be prohibitive. Be sure that you have adequate medical evacuation coverage – if you need to be airlifted or have to travel for medical care it can be very expensive.
Do shop for an insurance provider with 24/7 phone and web support. If something should happen during your travels, you want to make sure help is available when you need it. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you need insurance or don’t need advice and you don’t have an expert available.
Don’t buy from an insurance provider who isn’t licensed in all 50 states. Any reputable travel insurance provider will be licensed across the country. If the insurance provider is not licensed in all 50 states, chances are they will not have adequate coverage where you need it.
Most travel insurance policies cover up to $500 for lost luggage, which won’t cover the loss of expensive jewelry or electronics. Some insurance plans will cover up to $2,500 for lost or stolen baggage, and there is special coverage available for electronics, however no policy will cover carelessness.
Don’t rely on your tour or travel agent as your sole source for travel insurance. You can often get a better selection and better deals if you shop for travel insurance. If you buy online you can save up to 40 percent. Be sure to shop before you buy.
If you lose your cellular phone or miss a flight because you aren’t paying attention on a layover, don’t expect travel insurance to cover it. Insurance is not meant to protect you from being careless.
Good travel insurance coverage shouldn’t cost you a fortune. In fact, you should expect to budget no more than an additional 7 to 8 percent of the cost of y