“Man makes plans, God laughs.”
– Yiddish Proverb
OK, you know where this is going…I’m going to talk to you about travel insurance. Wait! Don’t go yet…hear me out! I promise it will only take a few minutes…
I know, I know…insurance…insurance companies…insurance policies…all that dang confusing legalese and fine print. Argh! Paying for something you may not need or paying and then finding out you aren’t covered when you need it…Double argh!
I do understand (been there, felt that way), but the reality remains…stuff happens…and it happens to someone. Of course, I hope it isn’t YOU (or me!), but it’s hard to ignore that little nagging voice whispering “just in case” or “what if”.
And then my favorite is the friend who shares the latest travel horror story: “My (fill in the blank: neighbor/uncle/daughter) was in (name of country) and (s)he (fill in the blank: fell, fainted, slipped, etc. ) and they had to (choose one: hospitalize/airlift/cancel)…” Geez…thanks for sharing!
Of course, no one likes to dwell upon or think about the worst happening, but it can. And it can be anything from a slippery sidewalk, a missed step, a car accident, or a missed connection to a family emergency, a sudden illness, a lost or stolen wallet, AWOL luggage, and even a natural disaster (remember the volcano that halted all European travel a few years ago stranding thousands?).
In an instant your best laid plans can unexpectedly change, be interrupted or cut short.
And if do find yourself in an unexpected situation and need help, do you really want to try to communicate and make arrangements in a foreign language and foreign (possibly Third World) country? Not to mention the potential personal expense! (A medical evacuation, for example, typically costs at least $50,000!)
OK, maybe now I have your attention, but you’re still not sure? Read on…
~10 Assumptions People Make About Insurance and Traveling~
Just remember when you break down the word “assume”…yeh, “ass-u-me”…so with that in mind here are some “assumptions” that can trip up your trip!
1. Assuming you are covered by your health insurance plan (Medicare or otherwise) for any health or medical emergencies in another country.
2. Assuming that your health insurance plan or Medicare will provide evacuation services outside the U.S.
3. Assuming that the U.S. government or host government will rescue, treat you or evacuate you at no expense.
4. Assuming that your airline, tour company or cruise line will take care of you in the event of flight delays, missed connections, lots luggage or of an emergency (medical or otherwise). (It’s called limited liability or waiver of responsibility…yep, more fine print!)
5. Assuming you can easily get a refund or even a credit if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip for any reason.
6. Assuming that just because you’re a tourist (or an American) that you will get special treatment abroad.
7. Thinking you’ll be able to handle anything that could possibly occur.
8. Not budgeting travel insurance into your travel budget.
9. Thinking it can’t /won’t happen to you!
10. Assuming anything!!
Make your purchase of travel insurance part of your trip planning. But, before you buy consider the following:
1. What is/is not included in your health plan/insurance and homeowner’s policy? Read the exclusions carefully.
2. What does the credit card company you’re using cover? What is included and what is excluded?
3. What does the airline, tour operator or cruise line cover? What is included and what is excluded? (In most cases, very little is covered although, for an extra fee, policies are always offered and recommended.)
4. Do You have AAA? What and where does it provide coverage/assistance?
5. Do you understand what is/is not covered in your travel insurance policy? Have you read the fine print?
6. Go with a reputable company. Remember the adage “you get what you pay for”? OK, enough said. …
7. Find out the best time to purchase your travel insurance. It can protect your investment before you even leave home should you have to cancel or postpone for any reason.
8. If you aren’t sure or don’t understand something in the policy, talk to your travel consultant and/or the insurance company.
9. Bring and carry at all times: a copy of your policy number and contact info for the insurance company (which should provide a toll-free number).
10. You waited, saved, planned, invested in this long awaited trip. Is it worth it to risk all of that?
There are lots of options.
You can get flight only, cruise/vacation only, medical evacuation plans, etc. There’s even insurance for backpackers. They are typically a flat percentage of the total cost of the trip.
Do your research, get all of the info and answers you need. Be sure you understand it. Make the investment. After all there is no price tag on peace of mind, is there?
Check out these pages for more information:
Do you purchase travel insurance? If not, did this article provide valuable information for your future decisions?
Photos: Victoria De Maio, Win/Lose graphic: freedigitalphotography.net