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.
What’s the Purpose of Travel Protection?
Travel protection is there to protect you if travel emergencies strike, but also to reimburse you for the money you’ve already spent on your trip – on plane tickets, hotel rooms, tours, luggage, and personal items – if you have to cancel before it’s even time to leave.
Travel Protection also gives you peace of mind for issues that occur during your travel such as baggage delays, flight delays, and cancelations. Consider the following statistics:
Flight Delays = 105,222 domestic flight delays in 2019. Source: Bureau of Transportation Services (https://www.transtats.bts.gov/HomeDrillChart.asp)
Mishandled Baggage = 1,800,000 mishandled bags filed by domestic carriers in 2019. Source: Bureau of Transportation Services (https://www.bts.gov/content/mishandled-baggage-reports-filed-passengers-largest-us-air-carriersa)
How Does Travel Protection Work?
Travel Protection benefits give you three main types of coverages: First, there is protection for your unused and nonrefundable trip costs if you need to cancel, interrupt, or delay your trip due to a covered reason. Travel Protection can also protect your medical expenses if you get hurt or sick on your trip. Finally, travel protection can protect your belongings if they’re lost, stolen, or damaged while traveling.
In most scenarios, travel protection reimburses you for your covered financial losses after you file a claim and the claim is approved. Filing a claim means submitting proof of your loss to the travel protection under writers , so that they can verify what happened and reimburse you for your covered losses according to the terms on the travel protection policy. Many travel protection companies allow you to file a claim online, via the phone or through a free smart phone app.
How does this work in real life? Let’s say you purchase a travel protection plan, which includes trip cancellation benefits, to protect your upcoming cruise to Alaska. Five days before departure, you experience a high fever and chest pain. Your doctor diagnoses bacterial pneumonia and advises you to cancel the trip. When you notify the cruise line, they tell you it’s too late to receive a refund for your cruise and that you will forfeit everything you have paid for your cruise.
Without travel protection, you’d lose most of the money you spent on your cruise that was not refundable. Fortunately, a serious, disabling illness can be considered a covered reason for most travel protection policies, which means you can be reimbursed for your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs. Once you’re feeling better, you gather the required documents — such as your airfare and cruise line receipts and information about any refunds you did or did not receive — and you file a claim with your travel protection company.
Majority of the time, travel protection benefits are reimbursed to after you file a claim, sometimes, this process works a little differently. Travel protection may pay your expenses up front if you require emergency medical treatment or emergency transportation while traveling overseas.
When Should You Buy Travel Insurance?
Don’t wait too long to buy travel insurance! For the greatest protection, you should buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip as possible. Most travel protection providers offer extra benefits if purchased within a certain time frame. For example, if you buy travel protection within 14 days of making your initial trip deposit, you’ll qualify to have the pre-existing medical conditions exclusion waived.
Read your plan documents before you leave. If you’re not completely satisfied with your plan, you have 10 days (or more, depending on your state of residence) to request a refund, provided you haven’t started your trip or initiated a claim. Premiums are non-refundable after this period.
Top Ten Reasons to Travel with a Travel Protection Plan
- 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.
- You have to return home early due to an unexpected emergency such as an illness or death in the family.
- Your luggage is lost or delayed, forcing you to purchase necessary essentials or prescription medications.
- Your luggage or personal effects are 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 portion of your trip or cruise.
- Your trip is interrupted due to an unexpected hurricane or storm.
- You lose your passport, leaving you stranded abroad.
- You need assistance with replacing a prescription or an emergency cash transfer.