What Type of Policy is Best for You?

Health Insurance

Many factors go into which is the best trip insurance policy to purchase.   However, all travelers need to have health coverage, without exception, regardless of where they travel.   Most United States health insurance policies do not cover illness/injury overseas.  Therefore it is necessary for overseas travelers to obtain health insurance for their trip.

Each policy is different in terms of deductible and limits for illness/injury.   Travelers should also check coverage for emergency medical evacuation back to the United States if it is deemed necessary.   Expenses for such medical evacuation can be expensive, sometimes reaching $100,000 or more.

Trip Cancellation/Delay

What is the best trip trip cancellation/delay policy for you?  A lot depends upon personal circumstances.   Here are some tips:

  • A common reason people cancel trips is for personal health reasons or the health of a closely related person.   If  it is necessary to cancel a trip due to health reasons, see a doctor before cancelling and get documentation from the doctor with a diagnosis of the injury/illness and the doctor’s recommendation that the trip be cancelled.   Cancelling a trip due to the illness of a relative or traveling companion may also require similar documentation.   Some policies require cancellation to be made within a certain time frame (i.e., 72 hours) of the diagnosis and recommendation of the doctor.
  • Cancelling a trip due to the death of a relative may require a copy, sometimes an original, of a death certificate.
  • If travel insurance was purchased after a significant weather event, or after being diagnosed with an illness, after a job change has occurred, or after political unrest occurs in a destination may invalidate any claims for cancellation for those reasons.
  • What is the refund policy of the tour operator, hotels, transportation companies, etc. in case of trip cancellation?  If refund policies are liberal, it may not be worth purchasing cancellation insurance.

Each policy is different, but here are some reasons that a trip may be covered for cancellation or delay:

  • Injury or illness of insured, travel companion, family member, or business partner
  • Hurricane or natural disaster strikes destination.
  • Bankruptcy or financial default of travel company
  • Terrorism or mandatory evacuation at destination.  Sometimes a declaration by the tour company or government agency is required for insurance reasons.
  • Death or hospitalization of destination host
  • Home or business damaged, vandalized, or burglarized
  • Jury duty, a required court appearance, or military redeployment
  • Required to work, terminated, or transferred
  • Victim of felonious assault prior to trip
  • Traffic accident prior to trip
  • Theft of passport or visa prior to trip
  • School year extension
  • Legal separation or divorce
  • Loss of accommodations abroad due to an illness or death of host family or friends

Again, check with the insurance company for policy details.  Also, written documentation is needed in almost all cases in order to file a claim.

It is important to note that coverage is rarely, if ever, provided for pre-existing circumstances.   For instance, let’s say a trip cancellation policy has been purchased.  It reimburses a traveler for the cost of airfare if the traveler cancellation occurs due to a covered reason like job loss, traffic accident, or jury duty.    If the event (job loss, traffic accident, or jury duty) occurs BEFORE the purchase of airfare, reimbursement will probably not be made by the insurance company.

Again, it is strongly recommended all travelers have medical emergency coverage while traveling.  If travelers have any idea that they might be subject to trip cancellation for a covered situation, it is probably a compelling reason to purchase trip cancellation insurance.