The last thing that you want is to experience unnecessary stress while you travel. That is why it is a very good idea to take out travel insurance. Travel insurance can cover things like a missed flight or cruise liner, medical expenses, loss and evacuations. When you have these bases covered, you will probably feel more at ease, should something unexpected come up. Just make sure that you ask your travel insurance provider these 10 questions.
1. What is the 24-hour toll-free emergency assistance phone number for my destination?
This information is vital. When something goes wrong or plans change, you’ll need to be able to call.
2. How do you handle pre-existing conditions and can I get a waiver?
One of the top reasons a claim is denied is pre-existing medical conditions. A pre-existing condition, in many instances, is a condition you’ve received care for within the last 2 to 6 months. If you have diabetes and your medication has been changed 3 months before your trip, you’re not covered if you go into diabetic shock. But if you get a waiver, you will be covered.
3. Do I have to file reimbursement or does the insurer pay up front?
You want to know which events your insurer will pay up front and which events you have to pay for and file reimbursement for. There’s usually a lot of paperwork and long waiting periods when it comes to filing for reimbursement, and all your claims may not be reimbursed. A stolen European Health Card can mean having to pay for medical services that are quite expensive in some European countries. In an event such as this, some medical costs are paid up front by the insurer. If you’re traveling on a tight budget, you’ll want to know these things.
4. Are all of my travel providers covered?
Make sure you know which companies (airlines, tours, cruise lines, etc.) are covered by your insurer should the company go out of business. There are certain companies that your insurer doesn’t cover in the event of financial default or bankruptcy. Consider every company that you might use on your trip and ask your insurer specifically about those companies.
5. What are the exceptions to cancellation coverage?
Having to cancel your travel plans is rarely an enjoyable thing. But when you need to cancel and you can’t recover any of the money you spent, it’s downright upsetting. You should familiarize yourself with the difference between cancellation coverage and cancel for any reason coverage. Cancel for any reason coverage tends to offer more exceptions than basic cancellation coverage. You may not be able to cancel your travel plans due to civil unrest in your destination or childbirth under cancellation, but cancel for any reason allows you to recuperate something.
6. What are my coverage dates?
Some insurers begin your coverage the moment you leave your home and end it the moment you walk back through your door. Others will begin once you board your transportation and end once you have made it to your destination. Know what your insurer’s definition of destination is. It could be your home airport or home port, it could be your home. Wherever it is, you need to be aware. This can be problematic if your luggage is lost and you don’t know it’s lost until you land. Your loss may not be covered because you’ve already landed.
7. Who is my policy’s underwriter?
Just because you have an insurance provider with Company X, doesn’t mean that Company X is the entity paying your claim. Policies are usually underwritten by another company. Know who the underwriter is and look them up on AM Best to see their insurance company rating, to assess the financial strength and creditworthiness of your insurer. A low rating or the absence of your underwriter should prompt you to consider a different company. You may encounter some difficulty should you need to file a claim.
8. Are people in my age group covered?
Coverage for certain age groups may not be offered or it may cost less or more depending on the age of the travelers. There are companies that don’t cover people over a certain age, so you want to make sure that you don’t fall into that category before taking on coverage that will not insure you. Make sure you shop around before choosing an insurance provider.
9. Is my destination covered under my policy?
Some destinations are not covered by an insurance policy. A trip to just about any country in the world can be insured with a travel insurance policy, but there may be exclusions. Oftentimes exclusions are based on the recommendations of the government. If a country has been flagged by your government as having a high risk of experiencing terrorist attacks, natural disasters or some other reason, you may find it more difficult to include that destination in your coverage. If your destination is not covered, then you will not be able to use it should there be a need.
10. Do I need personal liability coverage as well?
Personal liability coverage is often an addition to a travel insurance policy. Let’s say you are driving a moped through the streets of Bali and you get into an accident. No one is really injured, but there is damage to the car that you accidentally hit. Since you are at fault, the burden of recovery is on you. You have travel insurance, but without personal liability coverage, you would have to pay the person whose property you damaged out of pocket. Having personal liability covers injury, personal loss, damages and maybe even death.
It can even cover legal expenses for claims made against you in some instances. Just make sure that you read your policy closely for any number of exclusions that are likely to be present.
Taking a getaway is supposed to help you relieve some stress and enjoy a little time off. And when you choose the right travel insurance you will be able to enjoy yourself a little more. Thoroughly read through your policy and ask questions. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.