Covid-19 has undoubtedly made it more challenging, isn’t it? So what’s the solution? How can you ensure that your holiday is perfect without losing your mind?
The answer is a two-word secret – Travel Insurance; it allows you to go places with complete peace of mind.
Amid this pandemic-ridden world, travel insurance has become the knight in shining armor for frequent flyers. And here’s why you need it:
Things have changed drastically in the aviation industry since Covid-19 hit. Over 7500 flights got canceled over the Christmas weekend due to a surge in Covid-19 cases. And this is not the only time it has happened in the last two years.
So, were you a passenger on one of these flights?
If yes, imagine if you had travel insurance. Wouldn’t things be a lot easier right now? And if you were not, thank your stars because you would have suffered significant losses!
Apart from this, there are innumerable benefits of getting travel insurance, like:
- You don’t lose money and are always blanketed.
- You’ll not have to cope with the emergency hospitalization healthcare expenses, especially if you’re traveling to or from the USA.
- You’ll have 24*7 access to support so that you can travel with peace of mind.
- You’ll be protected from mishaps like pickpocketing, mugging, sudden flight cancellations, etc.
Intrigued to know more, right? Let’s uncover everything about travel insurance, ranging from how it works, the types of travel insurance, things you must keep in mind, and expert tips, so you don’t get slammed.
Let’s begin by understanding the what, how, and why of Travel Insurance.
The What and the How of Travel Insurance in the United States
The What of Travel Insurance
As the name suggests, travel insurance is an insurance policy that safeguards you from potential financial risks and losses which can occur while traveling. These losses can range from minor ones like a missing suitcase to significant ones like a last-minute flight cancellation or a medical emergency over international waters.
In addition to the financial cushion, another most common reason people buy travel insurance is access to assistance services. Irrespective of where you are, you can have access to an outstanding team of travel and medical experts who can help you replace your lost passport or arrange medical treatment, and so much more.
The How of Travel Insurance
Usually, travel insurance reimburses you for the financial losses you’ve incurred after filing a claim, and it’s approved. This is how the process goes:
- You file for a claim.
- Submit proof of loss to the insurance company.
- They verify what happened.
- And finally, you’re reimbursed for the covered losses.
Let’s take an example:
You purchase a travel insurance plan which includes trip cancellation benefits to protect your upcoming voyage to Mexico. 24 hours before the departure, you’re diagnosed with a severe infection/condition, and your doctor advises you to cancel the trip. But, it’s too late to cancel or get a refund, and without travel insurance, you’d lose all the money you’ve spent on the vacation, ranging from flight fare to hotel accommodation and other excursions you may have paid for in advance.
Fortunately, a severe illness or infection is considered a valid reason for trip cancellation, which means you can be compensated for all your prepaid, non-refundable trip expenses.
Here’s what you must be thinking right now – “Does Covid-19 come under the ‘covered reasons’ for trip cancellation? And can travel insurance help me if I get infected while traveling?”
The good news is that travel insurance plans now include pandemic-related reasons. The benefits and reimbursements may vary from plan to plan and, of course, the location. However, most travel insurance plans now cover certain losses related to Covid-19 and any future epidemics.
Why Should You Get Travel Insurance for the US?
So You Can Be Compensated for:
- Flight Delays
If you are an itinerant (a frequent traveler), you must have faced a flight delay at least once in your travel history, right? It’s relatively common, and you must be accustomed to the situation by now. However, did you know that if you have travel insurance that covers flight delays, you can qualify for a lump sum claim amount if your flight is delayed?
That’s right; some insurance companies offer coverage even in case of flight delays. And while you cannot get your time back, you can be reimbursed for the waiting period.
- Baggage Loss/Delays
After a 15-16 hour flight, it’s already frustrating to wait at the baggage carousel to collect the luggage, right? And to top that, what if you have a cab waiting at the airport to take you to your meeting and your luggage is deferred, or you end up losing it?
If you don’t have travel insurance, not only will you be late for your meeting, you’ll also have to bear the cost to replace your luggage. On the other hand, if you do have travel insurance, you’ll still be late for the meeting, but you can be compensated for the monetary loss.
- Medical Emergencies
Of course, this is the last thing one wishes for, but what if it happens – While you’re on vacation or official travel, you get hurt or have to be hospitalized? Indeed, the medical expenses may not be as inflated as the USA; however, they can still burn a hole in your entire year’s travel budget, especially if you’re overseas.
This is where travel insurance comes in handy; it can offer you coverage for room fees, doctor’s consultation, diagnostic charges, and any other expenses incurred during the hospital stay.
- Loss of Passport or Money
Irrespective of how vigilant you are about your belongings, you may end up leaving your phone in the restaurant or lose your plastic money, or worse, your passport is stolen. A travel insurance plan can help cover losses and ensure your safe return.
- Unexpected Cancellations Due to Covid-19
Covid-19 has become the most typical reason for last-minute cancellations. And in most cases, you’ll have to bear all the loss UNLESS you have travel insurance. Nowadays, travel insurance partners are considering the pandemic, which is why most travel plans now include Covid-19 as a valid reason for trip cancellation. In such a case, you’ll be reimbursed by your insurance provider after your claim is approved.
Who knew having travel insurance could reap so many benefits, right? Well, read on to know the types of travel insurance plans you can opt for.
Types of Travel Insurance
- Travel Accident Insurance
Travel accident insurance offers protection for you and your family in case of loss of life or any other substantial impact caused by mishaps on or during the journey. It covers everything from baggage loss, evacuations, medical prices, pre-existing clinical conditions to extradition.
This type of travel insurance is ideal for typical global tourists, especially those who visit risky locations like where the weather is extremely harsh or places near the Bermuda triangle.
- Travel Medical Insurance
Your general health insurance may not cover medical expenses incurred while you are traveling overseas. This is where travel medical insurance comes into play. It acts as an extension to override medical, dental, and evacuation fees during your journey. This is a very low-cost coverage as it doesn’t include other incidentals like trip cancellation. However, some plans may comprise benefits such as not on-time or misplaced baggage, delayed journeys, etc.
It especially comes in handy if you’re going for an interview in another country or city or have an important review meeting scheduled and your flight is delayed.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance
This type of travel insurance overlays the cost of evacuation or repatriation. If you’re hospitalized while traveling with your family, medical evacuation insurance can help cover the price of an emergency medical return of any minors back home. And not just that, some plans also offer term life and insurance for lost baggage, adventure sports injury, and journey interruptions. So that’s another advantage of medical evacuation insurance.
- Package Travel Insurance
The only difference between the plans mentioned above and package travel insurance is that the latter is a wholesome deal. It is more comprehensive, which is why it’s one of the most commonly purchased travel insurance plans.
Package plans can be custom-designed to include any particular demand you may have. Usually, a standard package travel insurance plan includes:
- Coverage for evacuations
- Baggage issues
- Clinical and dental costs
- Returning minors back home
- Journey cancellations
- Delays and interruptions
Some travel insurance plans may also include insurance for:
- Specific activities
- Credit card and passport services
- Robbery or mugging assistance
- Pet care
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Vehicle collisions
- Roadside assistance
- Speciality Plans
Apart from these basic travel insurance plans, the insurance companies also offer specialized plans to fulfill travelers’ unique needs. These plans cover issues like evacuation during emergencies on an annual membership basis.
- Annual and Forte Tour Insurance
Consider this one as a bundle coverage. The only difference is that it covers all your trips throughout the year rather than protecting just a single trip. The best part? Most of these plans are renewable.
So this is the ideal choice as far as travel insurance plans go if you are a frequent traveler as it offers coverage for common elements of the trip along with vehicle rentals and term life.
Don’t Forget to Look For These Common Clauses While Comparing Travel Insurance Plans.
Here are a few clauses you must look for before investing in a travel insurance plan:-
- Trip Cancellation
The plan must include sudden emergency due to a death in the family, health crisis, or disaster as covered reasons for trip cancellation.
- Accident Coverage
This clause safeguards you and your loved ones if you are injured or, god forbid, die during travel. In which case, you or your loved ones would be entitled to repayment benefits, just like in the case of life insurance.
- Medical Care
In case you’re in an accident or too unwell to travel, you may get coverage for hospital treatment and transportation.
- Personal Possessions Coverage
This clause safeguards your luggage and personal property like laptops, smartphones, cameras, and jewelry. Some policies may offer insurance for money and passports as well.
Considering the technicalities and complexities of these travel insurance plans, you must study the policy to identify coverage obstacles and exclusions.
Tips to Choosing the Ideal Travel Insurance for the United States
- Figure Out the Travel-Specific Costs
Like life insurance and other insurance policies, certain factors directly impact the pricing of travel protection plans. So here are some travel-specific costs you must watch out for to get the best bang for your buck:-
- The length of the travel.
- Optional coverage.
- The age and number of travelers covered under the policy.
- The general cost of the trip.
- Take Special Note of the Special Conditions
If there are extra travelers, you may have to pay additional money for their coverage, especially if a fellow traveler has a pre-existing condition. In addition, people participating in adventure sports like bungee jumping or skydiving, or traveling to a high-risk destination might be required to pay extra.
- Plan Your Perfect Coverage Plan
Travel insurance plans are highly customizable, depending upon your insurance partner. So if you feel like the default health insurance is inadequate or need to make some minor modifications, you can upgrade for extra protection. This is why it is imperative to analyze the terms and conditions of every coverage plan before choosing one.
Final Question: How to Find the Best Travel Insurance for a US Trip?
The answer to how to find the best travel insurance for a US trip is not as straightforward. Compare and get multiple quotes to choose the one that suits you best.
The right kind of travel insurance can help you travel across the earth hassle-free and protect you against any unwelcome expenses like flight delays, medical emergencies, baggage loss, and more. Let’s hope you may never have to use it, but if you do, ensure you have a safety net.