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A Checklist for Choosing Travel Insurance


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What kind of traveler are you? Do you like to do lots of activities, like snorkeling or jet skiing, while you're on vacation - or do you prefer to hang out and relax? Perhaps you just travel for business.

Whatever kind of travel you like to do, it's important that you purchase travel insurance that will match your needs. Your coverage should also reflect the kinds of trips you take and the activities you like to do.

Considering travel insurance? Whether you're taking a big trip or just a day trip, it's important to know what to look for in travel insurance. This checklist will help you choose the right policy for your needs.

Benefits of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance offers countless benefits to globetrotters - and it's something that nobody should travel without.

However, many people forego travel insurance, assuming that it's a luxury purchase that's nice to have, but not necessary.

Travel insurance is worth it because it can protect the cost of your trip if there's a travel delay or if you need to cancel at the last minute. It can also offset expenses due to things like damaged or delayed luggage.

Most importantly, travel insurance can even help pay for costly medical bills that you might incur if you are injured or become suddenly ill while you are away from home.

A Checklist for Choosing Travel Insurance: Key Questions to Ask

Now that you know why travel insurance is so important, it's time to choose the right policy. Believe it or not, not all travel insurance is equal. Here are a few key questions to ask as you shop around.

Does Travel Insurance Cover Cancellations?

First and foremost, does your travel insurance policy cover cancellations?

Most people purchase travel insurance with the assumption that it will automatically do this, but sadly, that's not always the case. Double check to make sure that cancellation fees are covered as part of your travel insurance policy, and under what circumstances.

You'll also want to do some investigation into the maximum amount of money that you're allowed to claim back - can you claim funds for canceled flights? What about excursions or tours?

Does Travel Insurance Cover Baggage?

For the most part, travel insurance usually covers your baggage and personal belongings - but not always. You'll want to know what sorts of belongings are covered, especially if you plan on bringing expensive items like camera equipment or computers with you.

Check the fine print to see if your policy covers damage, loss, or theft - or a combination of the three. If it doesn't cover all three, you may want to consider upgrading to another policy to make sure you're covered in all kinds of circumstances.

What Type of Travel Insurance Do You Need For Your Trip - Medical, Evacuation, or Both?

If you're traveling within your home country, you probably don't need medical travel insurance - your own personal health insurance should cover you for any injury or illness you sustain.

If you're traveling abroad, though, medical travel insurance along with an evacuation coverage are both equally important. A medical evacuation insurance plan will cover you if you need to be airlifted or medically repatriated while you're away from home.

What Are the Exclusions and Limitations of the Policy?

Many people don't realize that a travel insurance policy is not an end-all, be-all - in other words, it doesn't cover accidents or expenses related to certain activities. If you plan on going scuba diving, bungee jumping, or other "high risk" activities, there's a good chance that these will not be covered when you make a claim.

Issues often arise when people purchase a travel insurance policy and don't realize that their plan has certain limitations. When you buy a policy, be sure to read through it carefully to make sure you understand all of its limitations and exclusions.

Are There Any Countries That Are Not Covered By the Policy or Have Special Restrictions on Coverage?

This is especially important if you're visiting multiple destinations on your trip or if you're headed to a place that's on a US State Department travel advisory list. For instance, Cuba is often not included in travel insurance policies.

Make sure the policy you buy is applicable for your nationality and state of residence, too. Depending on where you live, you may be able to buy specialty types of travel insurance for country-specific coverage.

Canada, for instance, offers super visa insurance, which can be helpful for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, who are planning to travel to this country.

How Long Will You Be Covered By the Policy?

Most travel insurance policies are meant to cover you with comprehensive coverage for the full length of your trip. The policies can last for one year, in most cases, but this does vary by policy.

The length of your trip will be one of the most significant factors when it comes to determining your policy's premium, with other variables including the age of the travelers and your total trip cost.

While most travel insurance policies only cover you for one year, some policies offer international medical policies that can be extended for up to 36 months if you decide to extend your trip.

Is There a Deductible?

A deductible for a travel insurance plan is a specified dollar amount that you'll have to pay out-of-pocket before any benefits can be paid out by the insurance company to reimburse you.

Not all travel insurance plans have a deductible, though most do. The amounts vary, with most starting at around $300 or $500, but some can be as high as $1,000 or more.

When shopping for travel insurance, look for a policy that checks off all the boxes from the questions you answered for yourself above - but also try to find one without a deductible, if you can. If it has a high deductible, it might not be as great of a deal as you initially thought!

See the World - Securely and Safely

Just like visas and passports, insurance is an important part of travel. By taking the time to review your needs and shop around, you can find the right policy for your trip. These tips will help you get started on choosing travel insurance that's right for you.


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About the author

Bob Hornal

Bob Hornal is the founder and President of Best Quote Travel Insurance in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. With over 15 years of experience as a financial advisor, Bob has traveled to more than 30 incredible countries and has dealt with a multitude of difficult situations including flight delays, medical emergencies, and weather damage, making Bob an expert at traveling.

His dream is to inspire and inform those who wish to travel by including his personal experiences and professional knowledge in each piece he writes.

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