Sunday, August 8, 2010

Travel Insurance, Why You Need it!

When you spend months planning and preparing for your vacation, you develop images in your mind of what will make your trip the perfect trip. You can not imagine that anything could go wrong. But did you know that according to a recent survey commissioned by World Access, a travel-insurance and assistance company, more than 35% of business travelers said they or a colleague have become seriously sick or injured while away from home?

Whether it's your trip, your possessions, your luggage, or your health, travel insurance and most important, the right kind of travel insurance, has become an essential item to pack for smart travelers. And if you don't buy travel insurance — or the right kind — more than your trip could be ruined.

Reasons to buy travel insurance

1. Your flight has been cancelled.

2. Your bags are lost and your medication is in it. You require an emergency prescription filled.

3. Your passport and wallet are stolen, and you need emergency cash and a replacement passport.

4. You're involved in an accident and adequate medical treatment is not available. You need medical evacuation.

5. You need to cancel your trip due to illness.

6. Your cruise line, airline or tour operator goes bankrupt. You need your non-refundable expenses covered and to get to your destination.

7. You have a medical emergency in a foreign country.

8. A terrorist incident occurs in the city where you’re planning to visit and you want to cancel your trip.

9. A hurricane forces you to evacuate your resort, hotel or cruise.

Here is a brief run down of the basic types of insurance. Click here for a full guide.

Flight Insurance.
Promises to pay out big bucks in the event that your aircraft should crash. It's expensive, and considering what it pays for, not necessary.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance. If you get sick, or miss your trip, or the travel provider goes out of business, you're not left high and dry. Do NOT buy this insurance from the individual travel provider, meaning don't buy your cruise trip insurance from the cruise ship company. Why? If that company goes out of business, chances are, so does their insurance. in my opinion, its worth the few bucks to cover your trip.

Health insurance.
Most people think they are covered if they already have existing health care insurance. Within the United States, that’s true. Outside the U.S., however, usually not. And in some cases, your insurance won't even cover you if you're traveling on a foreign-flagged vessel. This is a huge red flag, since most cruise ships, even those cruising U.S. waters, are not flagged in the U.S. And in many cases, even if you are covered for basic emergency care overseas (a big IF), in almost all cases, your current health insurance does NOT cover you to evacuate you and repatriate you back to the U.S. My suggestion, get the coverage. If you’re in a foreign country, particularly a developing country, many hospitals will admit you without caring about coverage, but they won’t let you leave until you pay.

Baggage insurance.
As of Feb. 28, 2007, U.S. airlines' liability for lost or damaged luggage increased to $3,000 per passenger from the limit of $2,800. There's an entire list of excluded items not covered (jewels, furs, negotiable financial documents, et al), and then there's something called.... depreciation. The airlines may have a $3,000 liability limit, but that limit is not per bag, it's per incident, and it's all based on depreciated value. Hardly anyone in the history of aviation has ever received $3,000. It’s well worth it if the airline does lose your bags, and they sometimes do. Click here to read more about lost baggage.

Non Refundable insurance.
This runs about $13 per $100 of coverage. An expensive premium, but still worth it if you really think you might have to change your trip once you purchase your ticket.

Golf travel insurance.
Travel Guard provides golf equipment loss, golf equipment delay, golf fee refund. In addition, every Golf Travel Insurance Plan customer will also receive AIG Travel Guard's Golf Concierge Services, which includes golf course recommendations and driving directions, tee time reservations, PGA-Professional referral service and much. If you get a hole-in-one, they'll reimburse for the celebratory round of drinks (up to $250) at the clubhouse.

Adventure/Extreme sports travel.
In most cases, there are exclusions on basic travel insurance when it comes to adventure travel. That means specifications on how high is the mountain you’re climbing, and how far are you scuba diving. However, third-party travel insurance can offer additional coverage for adventure and extreme sports—even professional sporting events can be covered, but it will cost you.

Where ever you go, I wish you happy and safe travels. allows you to compare national plans, based on what they cost, what they cover and payouts. offers comparisons and testimonials from users, and you can also sign up for a plan though the site.

Access America 1-800-729-6021.

Travel Guard International: 1-800-826-4919.

Travelex Insurance Services: 1-800-228-9792.

HTH Worldwide: 1-888-243-2358.

Travel Insured International: 1-800-243-3174.

Global Travel Insurance: 1-800-232-9415.

Travelsafe: 1-888-885-7233.

Medjet Assistance: $250 per year, $350 for families. 7, 14, 21 and 30-day options available as well. 1-800-963-3538.

Air Ambulance Card: $195 per year for individuals and $295 per year for families.

Information correct at time of publication. Check for latest updates.
Article by Jennifer Baeta SF Travel Tips Examiner - March 18, 12:34