Back in August, Edward J. Markey, Democrat Senator of Massachusetts, released a report about the travel insurance industry in the United States. The report found that travelers are getting less coverage than airlines make them believe. The senator’s team surveyed major airlines like Alaska, American, Delta, Spirit, United, among others, as well as online travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, and Orbitz.
What their team found was that travelers must purchase a travel insurance policy in order to buy tickets online. They also found that travel insurance provides minimal coverage and lengthy lists of exclusions. The report mentions that airlines and online travel agencies overstate their policies, too, and that the 87% of the market belongs to two travel insurance companies, AIG Travel Guard, and Allianz Global Assistance.
This is why it is important to make sure we understand what exactly is travel insurance, what kind of situations of emergencies does it cover, and which ones it does not.
What Is Travel Insurance?
There are several types of travel insurance coverage you can get before you go out of the country. The basic types of protection include Theft Protection, Medical Insurance, and Trip Cancellation Insurance. Depending on the type of trip you’re taking, destination and the activities you are planning to do is the type of coverage that would work better for you. It might be harder for senior citizens to find travel insurance that has a reasonable premium. This is because insurance companies might see this as a high-risk factor. However, there are other alternatives you can find to make sure you stay protected while away from home.
What Does It Cover?
Depending on the type of coverage and the policy you purchase is the extent of coverage you’ll get. If you bring electronic devices or expensive gear with you, such as cameras or laptops, a theft protection policy might help you cover the expenses of that gear in case somebody stole them. Keep in mind that most insurance companies will have a limit of coverage per item, and additional policies might be needed.
Medical Insurance policy would help you in case you were injured or caught an infection during your trip. Depending on the company, you might get a reimbursement, or they might take care of medical bills for you. Always ask these questions before you purchase any plan.
Trip Cancellation might be the most common and useful type of travel insurance. This will help you cover expenses that might arise when you miss a flight or need to reschedule it. It will also cover the costs if you need to cut your trip short due to an emergency back home. Missing connection flights can be particularly costly, and budget flights tend to not cover the expenses of such emergencies, which is why trip cancellation coverage might be a good idea.
What Does It Not Cover?
Just like with any type of insurance, Travel Insurance companies come with several exclusions. You need to be aware of them before purchasing. Like we mentioned above, senior citizens looking for a travel insurance plan might find it more difficult, especially if they have some kind of medical condition.
If we are adrenaline junkies, practicing adventure sports like skiing, skateboarding, hiking, skydiving, and activities of the such, will most likely not be covered by travel insurance, as they consider them high-risk activities. Other injuries that result from negligent behavior might not be covered. This is why we must always be as prudent and responsible as possible when we travel.
Keep in mind that travel insurance will vary from one carrier to the other, and from one policy to another. So, remember to always read the fine print carefully. Also, ask as many questions as possible before you decide to purchase an insurance policy. After all, this is to help you stay protected while abroad.