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Living Big Travel Blog

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Travel Insurance 101


It doesn’t matter where I go outside the U.S., if I’m traveling overseas I always purchase travel insurance.

I know some might be skeptical of the coverage, and might be convinced that you’re covered through your credit card or U.S. health insurance. But for me, when it comes to my safety, health and financial wellbeing I don’t mess around and really value the peace of mind travel insurance provides. (And to catch-up on the debate, check out this recent article from USA Today, “Five myths about travel insurance.”)

Read below for more information about travel insurance, what you should look for when picking out a travel insurance policy and a few recommendations on what companies to consider if you’re shopping for travel insurance.

First things first: the coverage elements that make up most travel insurance policies can be dividend into two buckets:

  • Pre-trip coverage, such as: trip cancellation due to an emergency, death, financial default or a job layoff, weather etc.

  • Post-departure coverage, such as: medical treatment while you’re traveling, non-medical evacuation due to a political or natural disaster, trip delays and cancellations, loss luggage, access to an emergency phone number while traveling, repatriation, etc.

When evaluating a policy (or whether or not coverage through your credit card or U.S. health insurance policy is enough) keep the questions below in mind, but know that the specific questions you need to ask will completely depend on your own health and financial situation, comfort level with coverage and risk. Run through a few scenarios of things that could happen while traveling to ensure your coverage will meet your needs:

  • If you lose your job a month before a trip you’ve pre-paid for and you need to cancel your trip…

  • If you slip in a doorway at your hotel, sprain your ankle, and need to see a doctor….

  • If you break your leg while hiking and need to be evacuated by air to a local hospital…

  • If you miss a flight connection and your cruise leaves without you…

  • If your wallet is stolen out of your hotel room…

  • If you’ll be covered even while engaging in high-risk activities, such as paragliding…

  • If you’ll be covered if a pre-existing condition flares up and requires treatment on vacation….

  • If something happens (medical, theft, cancellation, etc.) do I have to first exhaust benefits through my primary coverage before filing a claim with my travel insurance?

  • Do I have to pay a deductible to file a claim with my travel insurance?

  • Do the cancellation benefits apply if you’ve already paid an initial trip deposit?

  • Are you on Medicare? If so, there are very few instances where Medicare will cover you for medical emergencies and expenses outside the U.S. Read more by clicking here.

  • If you have purchased an insurance policy with a cruise line or specific tour operator, make sure you understand the true limits of this coverage, so you can determine if additional coverage is necessary.

And if you’re looking at a policy, and don’t clearly understand if the policy covers you in the way you feel is necessary and for the activities you have planned for your vacation, then pick-up the phone and call the customer service department. Run them through the situations you’re most concerned with to understand how your travel insurance coverage would apply.

Here are two travel insurance providers I recommend you consider looking into:

Travelex Travel Insurance
Website, click here

If you have specific questions about coverage offered in each plan please call the Travelex Customer Service department at 1.800.228.9792. When you purchase your policy please add my location number 37-0094 and my Agent Code “MC.”

Travel Insured International
Website, click here

If you have specific questions about coverage offered in each plan please call the Travel Insured International Customer Service department at 1.800.243.3174. When you purchase your policy please add my agency number, 35669, to the booking.

Happy insurance shopping!