Expect the unexpected. Rarely is that old adage proven true as often as it is in the context of travel. But some surprises aren’t as cool as seeing the Eiffel Tower or having decadent Belgian chocolates in Brussels.
Lost luggage, health emergencies, or flight cancellations due to natural events are some of the most common mishaps that can sideline travelers and prevent the enjoyment of an otherwise perfect vacation. That’s why travel insurance can be a great investment these days, no matter what type of trip you’re planning. Travel insurance premiums typically represent just a fraction of the cost of your trip, cover you for a wide range of emergencies, and let you rest a bit easier both before and during your trip.
The best travel insurance policy for you is going to be the one that offers the coverage you actually need at a price you can afford. Here’s a rundown of the most common types of travel insurance policies, as well as some of the optional add ons you may want to look into.
Basic cancellation coverage, as its name implies, covers you for pre-paid, non-refundable expenses under a fixed set of circumstances detailed in your policy. You can make a claim when you have to cancel a trip due to an illness or health emergency, for example. Depending on the policy you choose, you may also be able to make a claim if you suddenly lose your job or get called for jury duty. In the event of your trip, a natural disaster in your destination city may prompt travel providers to cancel and refund your trip. Under cancellation coverage, you’d be able to recoup your non-refundable expenses, too.
Trip delay insurance is usually bundled withcancellation coverage. With trip delay insurance, you’ll be reimbursed for any expenses you might incur as a result of your trip being delayed. Short departure delays are not covered – policies set a minimum number of hours for delays to fall under coverage. Meals, hotel charges, and taxi fees are among some of the expenses typically covered.
Trip interruption coverage protects you in the event you have to return home due to an emergency in the middle of your trip. It will cover the expenses involved in getting you home and getting you back to your destination once you’re able to travel again.
If the list of covered cancellation reasons under basic cancellation coverage seems too limited to you, you might consider going for a CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) coverage. It offers the fullest coverage available but may only make sense for you if your calendar is subject to change at a moment’s notice (ie. the COVID-19 numbers in your destination suddenly change).
Lost, stolen, damaged, and delayed luggage is one of the most common—and frustrating—travel-related misfortunes. Pay attention to coverage limits and increase yours as needed. If you’re taking your new camera out for its first shoot in Costa Rica, you’re going to want coverage at the upper end of the scale! Even more mundane articles like laptops and mobile phones have replacement costs beyond the limits set by basic policies, so always read your policy closely and make sure your most expensive possessions are fully protected.
While travel insurance isn’t terribly expensive when compared with the cost of your trip, there are some ways to bring down the cost. If you’re a frequent flier, an annual policy might make more financial sense to you. And if you’re traveling with a group, buying group insurance is a great way for all members of your party to get the same coverage for less.