You can’t prevent the unexpected from happening before or during a planned vacation, consider safeguarding your family vacation with Travel Protection, also known as Travel Insurance. Family vacations get planned many months in advance and make up a significant part of a family’s annual budget. Unfortunately, it only takes a few moments to have your vacation plans and budgets ruined. It is a smart move to consider safeguarding your family vacation with purchasing a travel protection product for your next vacation or trip since it is hard to predict the future.
You might have never considered adding Travel Protection to your vacation or you may have done so on your last vacation. Regardless of your experience with Travel Protection, there are many benefits worth considering for reasons to safeguarding your family vacation with Travel Protection in 2020 and beyond. Here is a guide for you to use to learn the end and outs of Travel Protection so that you can make an informed purchasing decision.
As we have seen over the past several weeks, you can’t prevent the unexpected from happening. Three months ago, it was hard to believe we would be ordered to stay home. Only essential businesses would operate. And that all the cruise lines around the world would suspend their operations during the busiest sailing season of the year. While the COVID-19 is and has been as “unprecedented” time and unforeseen, other unforeseen events can happen that prevent you from taking a much-deserved vacation.
As a Travel Agent, we have seen many things that have happened to our clients before they left on their vacation. One client broke his leg after he fell off one of his kid’s hoverboard. Another couple realized that their daughter was starting her first year of college during their vacation. Unfortunately, many clients had been diagnosed with cancer or some other serious health condition. All requiring medical care and treatments. And, a few had experienced the death of an immediate family member or spouse before their trip. All these were unforeseen and for sure not warranted or welcomed. Even so, they happened and ruined their plans for their vacations.
We have also seen situations causing significant unforeseen disappointments. One of the most common disappointments is flight delays and cancelations. When you travel you find out that you are at the mercy of the airlines and your schedule is not your own but of the airlines. In 2019 there were 105,222 domestic flight delays and 16,726 domestic flight cancellations. While this number improves, if you are one of those impacted, it sets the tone for your entire vacation.
More disappointment can happen during your vacation besides flight delays and cancelations. With 1,800,000 mishandled bags filed by domestic carriers in 2019, many travelers experience lost luggage, missing luggage, or damage to their personal belongings. There is nothing worse than going on vacation but your luggage doesn’t end up going with you. Even if you plan ahead and buy the latest and greatest luggage and travel accessories, once you hand it to someone else to handle, the condition it shows up with you is anyone’s guess.
And, what ruins a vacation more than getting sick or injured during your vacation. Regardless if it is motion sickness, food poisoning, or something causing you to spend the time in your hotel room or cruise cabin, missing out on your vacation is never fun. Then on top of being sick, you have to pay the medical bill for seeing the ship’s doctor or going to the resorts medical facility.
Most Travel protection products provide cancelation benefits before your trip, they also give you extra benefits during your travels. During your travels, medical treatment or lost luggage can leave you with unexpected and expensive bills, such as the emergency evacuations that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Despite the best planning, events that are out of your control can derail your travel plans. Travel protection products can help with the financial impact of these unexpected circumstances. Travel protection products can also help you in an emergency.
What is Travel Protection
Travel Protection (also known as travel insurance) helps you protect the financial costs you have paid into your trip in the event you have to cancel, or your trip is delayed or cut short. Travel Protection provides medical coverage for when you are traveling.
Traveling without protection can be a bit of a gamble. If someone in your family gets sick or bad weather closes the airport for the day, you could lose any non-refundable deposits you’ve made for your trip. If you experience a medical emergency, you may need to be transferred to a better hospital. These situations happen more often than you’d think – and are costly when they do!
Components of travel protection include emergency medical insurance, coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, delays, medical evacuation, and lost, damaged, or stolen luggage, and emergency travel assistance.
For more information about travel protection, the purpose of travel protection and how it works, check out our dedicated page on this topic.
Why Purchase Travel Protection
Many don’t consider adding travel protection products to their vacation. But, there are many reasons you should. Here are 10 reasons to consider protecting your vacation with Travel Protection:
- You have to cancel your trip due to an unexpected event such as inclement weather, an illness in the family or the financial default of your airline, cruise line or tour operator. Many travel protection products have cancel-for-any-reason add-ons that give you total peace of mind.
- You must return home early due to an emergency such as an illness or death in the family.
- Your luggage gets lost or delayed, forcing you to buy necessary essentials or prescription medications.
- Your luggage or personal effects gets damaged or stolen.
- You become ill or injured and learn that your health care plan doesn’t cover you outside the U.S.
- You need an emergency medical evacuation due to an accident or sudden illness.
- You run into flight delays and miss a part of your trip or cruise.
- Your trip gets interrupted due to an unexpected hurricane or storm.
- You lose your passport, leaving you stranded abroad.
- You need help with replacing a prescription or an emergency cash transfer.
What makes up a Good Travel Protection Product
Travel Protection products vary from supplier to supplier, so we recommend working with those companies that have a good track record of paying claims and makes it easy for you to work with. We also recommend travel protection products that have coverages in the following 3 areas:
- Trip Cancelation/Interruption Coverage. If your trip gets canceled, delayed, and cut short due to a covered reason (e.g. death or illness of yourself, travel companion, or immediate family member), travel protection will reimburse you for any unforeseen financial loss. You also get some benefits if your flights get delayed, you miss a connection or gets canceled due to weather or mechanical issues.
- Medical Coverage Coverage. If you get hurt or injured while on your trip, travel protection will reimburse you for expenses associated with that during your trip.
- Baggage and Personal Effects Coverage. If your personal belongings are damaged, lost, or stolen, you will be reimbursed for that loss.
Trip Cancelation/Interruption Coverage
Trip cancelation coverage reimbursements you for unused prepaid expenses if a participating traveler cancels their trip due to a covered reason. Covered reasons are outlined by the policy itself. However, most cover cancellations due to illness or death of the travelers, partner, business partner or family, jury duty, legal appearance, or weather event. Make sure you understand what reasons are covered and ones that are not.
Some travel protection products provide additional cancelations benefits if you purchase the policy within so many days after your initial trip deposit. Additional benefits may include cancelations for work-related reasons and for financial default of an airline, cruise line or tour operator.
Most travel protection products will not cover you for known cancelations reasons, such as a named hurricane or worldwide pandemics, such as COVID-19. Additionally, most travel protection products will not cover you for a fear of the situation or fear of getting sick. This means if you are fearful of getting quarantined on a cruise ship or a fear of possible political unrest, cancelation benefits will not be covered. You have to actually have a financial loss in order to qualify for coverage
Coverage amounts should equal the amount of financial losses you would incure if you had to cancel your vacation. This means that if you purchased a vacation package for $5,000 and if you cancelled you would NOT get back $4,500 from the supplier, then you want to make sure your travel protection policy covers you for $4,500. There are some reasons why covering the entire $5,000 might be beneficial, which will be explained later in this article.
Cancel for Any Reason
Most third-party travel protection providers offer cancel for any reason policies. These policies will allow you to cancel for any reason beyond the “covered reasons” most policies cover. This means that you can cancel your vacation without any reason and be get back a portion of the money that is in penality with the travel supplier. In order to qualify for this type of coverage, you normally have to purchase your policy within many days of the first deposit of your vacation. There are a few things you need to be aware of with these policies:
- Most only allow you to get back a % of the amount in penalty. For example, many will only give you back 75% of the amount in penalty.
- Some cancel for any reason policies will give you back the penality in a travel credit instead of a refund. If you purchase travel protection from a travel supplier (cruise line, or vacation package provider), they may require you to purchase at the time of deposit and the only option is to get your money back via a credit. It is important for you to ask how the money will be reimbursed to you. We recommend a policy that gives you a refund in the form of the original payment.
- After a major loss event, such as COVID-19, suppliers may not offer this benefit due to the financial risk to the Travel Protection provider.
- MOST importantly, you may have to purchase this type of coverage at the time of deposit or within so many days AFTER the initial deposit. If you are interested in this type of coverage, make sure you ask before you pay for your deposit.
Trip interruption coverage helps protect you for expenses you’ve already paid into your trip when you must cut your travels short and return home unexpectedly. If you need to return home sooner than expected, with trip interruption coverage, you may be reimbursed for prepaid, non-refundable expenses associated with the portion of the trip that you didn’t complete.
We recommend a policy that covers 100% to 150% of our trip costs.
The reason you want up to 150% of your trip cost is the amount of money it may take to get back home at the last minute. Booking airfare the day of or the day before heading home can be very expensive and could be more than the cost of your trip. Having an additional 50% above your trip cost will help you to cover these expenses.
Similar to trip interruption coverage is trip delay coverage. While trip interruption benefits provide coverage if you are already on your trip and need to cut it short, the trip delay benefit gives you equivalent coverage if you need to depart for your trip after your scheduled departure date. For example, if you have jury duty that is scheduled to end two days after your trip is scheduled to start. You may be able to be reimbursed for airline change fees and the change in travel plans required to get you back up to speed with your planned trip.
We recommend a policy that reimburses you up to $1,000 maximum. It is also recommended you choose a travel protection product that begins coverage after the shortest amount of time of delay, ideally after 6 hours of delay.
if you miss a common carrier departure due to a cancelation or delay, this benefit covers you for unused, pre-paid expenses resulting from a missed connection.
We recommend a policy that reimburses you up to a minimum of $500 and begins after 3 hours of delay. The smaller the amount of time you have to wait for the delay the better you.
Political and Security Evacuation
If your trip gets interrupted because of potential political and/or security issues, you want a travel protection product that covers you for political and security evacuation. This type of coverage will assist you in the event of natural disasters, civil uprising, military coup, or political unrest.
Several travel protection products don’t cover this benefit, so make sure you are purchasing one that does. In today’s world, there many countries or governments that are not stable, so this benefit could come in handy. We recommend a policy that covers up to $100,000 in evacuation benefits and a company that will arrange this service when needed.
Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expense
One of the major benefits of purchasing a travel protection product for your next vacation is this benefit. Travel Protection can help with the expenses associated with an accident or sickness you experience while traveling – even if you already have standard health insurance. Travel Protection is especially important for Medicaid or Medicare recipients, as these healthcare plans don’t typically provide coverage outside the U.S.
It can happen at any time while you are on your vacation: a twisted ankle from walking on cobblestones, a head injury from a car accident, a visit to the infirmary on the cruise ship due to dehydration from the stomach flu. Such events occur whether you’re at home, or on the other side of the world.
Few people realize that their primary health insurance may have limitations when it comes to travel. Often, it may not provide the same level of coverage when the insured travels outside of the country – or even when traveling just a few hours away from home. If coverage is even available, it may be considered out-of-network, and therefore cost more. In some international cases, primary healthcare may not pay directly to a foreign hospital, so the traveler is required to pay for services out-of-pocket, and then submit for reimbursement when they return home. In a major emergency, these expenses can increase quickly.
We recommend a policy that reimburses you up to a minimum of $50,000 in medical expenses and at least $500 in dental expenses. The cost of medical care can be very expensive, especially if you are in another country or on a cruise ship, so the more the better. Always look at the coverage amounts on any policy you are considering. Premiums can dramatically be different based on the amount of benefit that is available. Normally, the cheaper the policy, the lower amount in this medical coverage.
“The cheaper the policy, the lower amount in this medical coverage”
Also, it is important you consider finding a policy that provides a benefit of a pre-existing conditions waiver. This waiver looks back so many days from the date you purchased your policy, and as long as you are not disabled at the time you purchase the policy, it will cover the insured. This means the insured will be eligible for trip cancelation/trip interruption, as well as emergency accident and sickness medical expenses, related to a pre-existing medical condition affecting the insured, a traveling companion or immediate family member.
To be eligible for Pre-existing conditions waiver, the Travel Protection policy has to be purchased within so many days from the date of your initial vacation deposit. This is why we recommend purchasing travel protection at the time of the initial department or at least within 7 days of the initial deposit. By purchasing your Travel Protection policy at the time of your initial deposit or within 7 days, you not only get this waiver, but you may also get some additional benefits (e.g. Cancel for work reasons, cancelation or interruption due to financial default. Not only do you get these additional piece-of-mind benefits, but you will also have the peace of mind you are covered for your vacation!
Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation of Mortal Remains
One of the missed overlooked and most important coverages to a travel protection product is emergency evacuation and repatriation of moral remails. Emergency Evacuation Coverage will reimburse you if they need emergency medical transportation. Repatriation of remains coverage will help with the arrangement and cost associated with the return of a person’s remains to his or her country of origin or to a nearby funeral or cremation facility. Neither of these coverages is something travels really want to think about actually happening to them. However, in such a catastrophe, this type of coverage makes the premium worth the purchase.
The cost alone for a medical evacuation and transport typically starts at $25,000 and can exceed $250,000. The cost of transporting mortal remains will depend on the distance, weight, and method of transportation. In addition to the cost of the travel method, you will have to purchase a container as well as other services associated with the mortal remains. The cost can range from $1,500 to as much as $15,000 for an international shipment.
On top of all the cost, the emotional stress of dealing with an injury, a serious health issue requiring an emergency evacuation or death while traveling will be difficult. Not only are you away from your support system of friends and family, but trying to figure out all the details around this type of need is beyond comprehension.
Many Travel Protection products will skimp on this coverage to save on the cost of the premium. Make sure you know the coverage amounts and what is all covered. We recommend at the very minimum $50,000 in coverage but more realisticlly $500,000. It is also important to understand what is covered and what is not covered.
One final thought; while this is something no one wants to think about it, it is always a good idea to be prepared in case the absolute worst happens while traveling. After all, this is an exact reason you need to consider purchasing Travel Protection for your next vacation in 2020 and beyond.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment
There are two types of Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverages, regular and Common Carrier Air Only coverage. A good travel protection product will provide regular AD&D and give you the option of adding Common Carrier Air Only coverage.
What is the difference? Regular travel accidental death and dismemberment coverage provides travelers to benefit if they suffer dismemberment or death in an accident during their vacation. Common Carrier Air Only Accident and Dismemberment coverage provide coverage only for dismemberment or death that may occur while riding as a passenger on an aircraft from a regularly scheduled airline or charter company.
We recommend a Travel Protection product that provides at least $10,000 in regular AD&D coverage and gives you the option to purchase Common Carrier Air Only coverage for an additional premium cost.
Baggage and Personal Effects Coverage
This type of coverage, also known as luggage insurance can consist of two types of baggage/luggage coverages:
- Lost baggage coverage, which can provide coverage to replace items in case your luggage is stolen or if a common carrier misplaces your luggage, and
- Baggage delay coverage, which can provide coverage to buy essential items you will need during your trip in the event your luggage is delayed beyond the time trigger as outlined in your travel insurance policy.
Baggage and Personal Effects coverage will reimburse you for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage and personal items during their entire trip, not just a flight. In addition to reimbursing you for your luggage and personal effects, reimbursement can occur for the application of a new passport if your passports are stolen.
Certain items are excluded from this type of coverage, so make sure you understand your policy. Understanding what items are and are not covered will help you to know what items to bring or not to bring on your trip if you are worried about them getting lost, damaged or stolen. Additionally, some travel protection products include sports equipment in their premium, others have sports and business equipment as an upgrade, and yet others don’t even cover sports equipment.
We recommend purchasing a travel protection product that covers both lost baggage and delays coverages. Both coverages will have their own reimbursement limits. We recommend a minimum of up to $1,000 in lost baggage coverage and $200 in baggage delay coverage. Obviously, you can get more coverage, the better. And, if you are traveling with sports or business equipment, you for sure want a policy that covers this as part of their normal policy or has an upgrade.
Additional Coverages to Consider
The coverages mentioned above are the meat and potatoes of a good travel protection product. However, there are few other coverages you may want to consider before you purchase your next policy. Some of these may be part of the policy while others may be available by purchasing an upgrade to your policy, similar to Cancel for any Reason and sports equipment baggage coverage.
Worldwide Travel Assistance. This coverage provides 24/7 carefree travel assistance and travel-related services, including inoculation, Passport/Visa information, medical and legal referrals, translation services, lost baggage retrieval and much more. Most travel protection products include this service as part of their service.
Free Look Period. This allows those that purchase a policy so many days to cancel the entire policy after purchase. Each policy is different and some states dictate the time period. This would-be an included benefit of the travel protection product you purchased.
Kids-Included Pricing. Some travel protection products allow you to cover a child 17 or under for free for each paying adult. This included pricing is dictated by each state, but if your state is one that allows this type of pricing, you can save significant money for your family and at the same time have the peace of mind protecting your vacation investment and your family.
Rental Car Damage Upgrade. This coverage helps to protect you for damage to your rental car due to a collision, theft, vandalism, windstorm, fire, hail, flood or any cause not within your control while in your possession. If you are planning on renting a car as part of your vacation, the may be a cheaper option than purchasing insurance through the car rental company. This coverage is normally an upgrade option for most travel protection products.
Sports & Hazardous Sports Upgrade. Parachuting, scuba diving, mountaineering, and other action sports will give you the experience of a lifetime. However, these types of sports aren’t typically covered by most travel protection products. Because of the expensive equipment and inherent risks involved, you’ll want to have sports coverage in your travel trave protection product. This coverage is normally an upgrade option for most travel protection products.
Final Thoughts on Safeguarding Your Family Vacation with Travel Protection
Safeguarding your family vacation with Travel Protection in 2020 and beyond doesn’t have to be complicated. By learning a little bit about what travel protection is, what is covered, and knowing some of the basic coverages, you can take your next vacation and have total peace of mind. However, if you still feel overwhelmed but you know you want to protect your vacation investment and your family, you can reach out to someone that helps. Your local Travel Agent can be that help. They normally work with one or a few other travel protection companies that meet the coverages that were described above.
We recommend RoamRight Travel Protection and depending on your individual circumstances around your trip, where you live, your age, and other factors would determine the best product for you that they carry. If they don’t have a product that fits for you, we have a few other carriers we recommend to you.
Let us know what questions you have about Travel Protection or any comments you might have to help others make a decision to purchase Travel Protection for their next vacation.
This is only a brief overview of the benefits and services of the plan. Travel insurance benefits are underwritten by Arch Insurance Company. This is a general overview of insurance benefits available. Coverages may vary in certain states and not all benefits are available in all jurisdictions. Please refer to your certificate of benefits or policy of insurance for detailed terms, conditions, and exclusions that apply. Magnified Vacations CruiseOne is not an Insurance agent, but works with various Travel Protection Companies. Magnified Vacations CruiseOne is a full-service Travel Agency supporting the local community for over 7 years. Magnified Vacations CruiseOne is located in Avon, IN, and services the Avon, Brownsburg, Speedway, Danville, Plainfield, and great Indianapolis, IN area.
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