The subject of travel insurance often comes up when planning an international trip. Many travel sites will offer users the opportunity to purchase travel insurance as part of their trip planning. But many of them don’t distinguish between the two types of travel insurance, leaving travelers potentially unprotected. It’s important to know what the two types of travel insurance are, how they differ, and why you might need each one.
Trip Cancellation or Interruption Insurance
This is the travel insurance most people are thinking of when travel insurance comes to mind. This insurance can protect against the loss of non-refundable travel costs, such as airfare, hotel and tour expenses. If you’re planning a big trip, especially an international one, or one that is a substantial investment, you’ll want to consider this relatively inexpensive insurance. Most people consider this insurance when planning for an international trip. Trip cancellation or interruption insurance usually costs between about four and eight percent of the total trip cost.
This insurance usually covers these types of incidents:
- Trip cancellation: Reimburses you for pre-paid travel expenses if you aren’t able to take your trip because you or a family member becomes ill or dies.
- Travel delay: Reimburses you for pre-paid expenses if you aren’t able to take your trip because of a travel delay, such as a flight delay or cancellation.
- Trip interruption: Reimburses you for prepaid expenses if your trip is cut short because you or a family member become ill or die or because of any other misfortune listed in policy. Covered reasons might include bad weather, airline strikes, terrorism, bankruptcy, jury duty or damage to your home.
It’s very important to read the terms of coverage before you buy. Different policies have different rules, and may cover one or more of these events. Some policies only cover you if your trip must be cancelled before departure. Other policies may cover you if you have to cut the trip short for any number of covered reasons. And the covered cancellation reasons can vary between carriers. Also, you generally have only a short window to purchase coverage after booking your trip. Your best bet is to discuss insurance with your travel companions as part of your trip planning and before you begin making reservations.
Some package tour operators include this coverage or cancellation waivers as part of the package. Be sure to do your homework before booking a trip or before purchasing insurance. Always read your policy carefully so you know what is covered, and what you’re getting for your money.
International Travel Medical Insurance
Most US health insurance policies do not cover policyholders outside of the United States. If you are traveling in a foreign country and become ill or are injured, your US health insurance is not likely to cover you.
Foreign travelers to the United States can also benefit from an international travel medical insurance policy.
Travel medical insurance usually covers these types of expenses:
- Medical expenses, hospital room and board, and ambulance services
- Intensive and outpatient medical care
- Emergency room care: Charges incurred as a result of accidents are covered, but ER use for the treatment of an illness is subject to additional charges if the treatment did not require admittance to a hospital.
- Dental care: Plan covers care due to an accident only.
- Emergency evacuation: Evacuations to the nearest medical facility and the cost of returning to either the U.S. or the country where the evacuation occurred are covered.
- Emergency reunion: Plan covers reasonable expenses for a friend or relative during an emergency medical evacuation to accompany the insured during the evacuation or to travel from home to reunite with the insured.
- Repatriation/return of mortal remains: If a covered illness or injury results in the insured’s death, the plan covers the expenses of bringing the body or ashes to the U.S. for a proper burial.
- Returning of minor children: If the insured is hospitalized due to a covered illness and is traveling with minors who will be left unattended while the insured receives medical treatment, the plan will cover a one-way economy fare to the U.S.
While these may seem unlikely to the average healthy traveler, only you can decide whether or not you wish to take the risk. It’s important to note that in many countries, if you need medical care, payment may be required up front, or before you will be allowed to leave the country.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of all American travelers will experience health problems when traveling to another country.
If you’re heading abroad, contact Roper Insurance & Financial Services today at (303) 721-1145 to learn more about the different types of travel insurance and what may work best for your needs. You can also click here for more information about our travel medical insurance programs.