What’s The What With Travel Insurance…

As we look expectantly toward adventures in (hopefully, 2021), we know you must all have insurance questions.  This last year brought the pluses and minuses of traveler’s insurance into sharp relief, but, the majority of travelers didn’t have coverage at all.  Despite the variances in coverage company to company (caveat emptor, in a big big way) we have always been big believers in insurance (no one at The Travel Yogi travels without it), and for 2021 and beyond, it is more relavent than every.  So… though traveler’s insurance won’t protect you from everything, it truly can be a lifesaver. If you’re in the market for travel (and some insurance to go with it!), we’re breaking down some of the top benefits and limitations of travelers insurance to keep in mind as you go. The Pluses: If you’re new to the concept of travel insurance, it’s important to understand that shopping for a plan is not a one-size-fits all approach. The coverage you select is going to depend on your top priorities and concerns.  Many cover basics like trip cancellation due to illness or help if something happens on the road (lost luggage anyone?), but moving forward, you should be looking for policies that have some measure of coverage when it comes to COVID-19. World Nomads offered some measure of COVID coverage at the start of the pandemic and they’re still at it.  Keep in mind that there are still only a handful of companies offering pandemic coverage, so it should be top of your checklist when considering policies and options.  Here’s some of their coverage good stuff:
  • Different plans offer varying amounts of medical and potential trip cancellation coverage should you fall ill during a trip or during your window of coverage.  This includes testing positive for COVID-19 during your policies coverage dates.
  • Flight delays and cancellations… These definitely happen, and can be a real bummer when they do. Airlines are in a much more precarious place of late, and flights are more prone to be cancelled. Trip Interruptions or Trip Delay coverage can be indispensable.
  • Delayed baggage, stolen or lost baggage/gear coverage, overseas dental, overseas medical, assault, medical evacuation, and more. Again, the level of coverage under each of these is highly dependent on the plan you choose.
(Some of) The Limitations: Of course, travelers insurance won’t protect you from everything that could go wrong on your trip and like all insurance companies, there’s the ‘covered’ and ‘not covered’.  In a way, it’s more important to compare the ‘not covered’ with the policies you’re considering.  Some of the big ones we heard questions about last year, and things to consider moving forward regarding limitations are:
  • A fear of flying due to the pandemic. We get it: the reality of the entire world continues to be in flux, especially in regards to public health. However, if you decided to book a trip, only later to become concerned about COVID-19, insurance wouldn’t cover you.
  • A pre-existing issue.  There is gray area here, so always best to read the policy carefully, but in general, if you have a medical reason not to travel and book a trip anyway, insurance won’t be your safety net should you need to cancel.  However, for many people booked to travel with some measure of medical uncertainty prior to the outbreak of COVID, they did get to cancel with a full refund from World Nomads with doctor verification.
  • A refund on travel insurance. Once you choose a plan with World Nomads, or most carriers, there are no refunds available outside of a “free look” or review period (if there is one). So, before hitting “purchase,” make sure you carefully review your coverage.
In our humble opinion, current world climate aside, insuring a big trip is just good sense.  Life is not predictable (we’ve seen a thing or two!) and in the case of something unexpected, you’ll be grateful for the added coverage. When it comes to traveling, peace of mind does have a price – the price of travel insurance! Keep in mind that you can get coverage anywhere you’d like, but we strongly strongly recommend you not get the airline’s coverage, or, if you do, that you purchase a supplemental policy as well.  Most of the policies offered at the time of buying your airline ticket are to cover the flight portion of your trip only.  As with everything insurance related, the devil is in the details so reading potential policies before purchase is a must. There are many aspects of travel insurance coverage and limitations we’re not covering here.  We aren’t insurance agents and will always refer you to your policy holder with specific questions.  But the general questions, like “do you think I should get travel insurance?”, we’ll go to town on.  Again, no one in our office goes anywhere, domestic or international without it and we’ll happily elucidate why, anytime.  So the old ‘ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ adage is one we’ll invoke… frequently.