Understanding Travel Insurance Benefits and Options for Today’s Traveler

Estimated read time 9 min read

Why Get Travel Insurance?

It’s a question we used to ask before 2020 and many of us would opt to move ahead with our travel plans without it.  Many have changed their minds and now see it as an important part of your travel plans in order to avoid unfortunate sudden losses. 

“Life must be understood backward. But it must be lived forward.”

~Søren Kierkegaard
understanding travel insurance benefits and options for today

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6 Reasons Why Purchasing Insurance Should Not Even Be A Question Anymore

  1. Trips get cancelled for many reasons.  Work can get in the way, illness, natural disasters can strike suddenly and many other unexpected changes can affect your travel plans.  Many common reasons are covered and you could be reimbursed for them.  Be sure to check the reasons allowed for the policies that you are considering.  
  2. Sometimes, trip interruption coverage can be helpful when dealing with a cancelled flight…which is not unusual these days.
  1. Flying to a cruise departure on the same day can be disastrous when everything doesn’t line up perfectly.  I always recommend flying in the day before the cruise or at the very least, take the first direct non-stop flight out that morning.  If you experience delays or missed connections that make you miss the cruise departure, you can fly to the next port and join the cruise there.  This can be costly with no way to recuperate the losses without insurance coverage.
  2. Cancellation insurance not only helps when you experience a sudden death in the family but also when your destination has a recent terror attack, a global pandemic, when airports shut down, and when there is a disruption in government.
  3. I’ve talked a lot about lost luggage because it happens.  Insurance can help reimburse you for purchasing clothes and personal items when your luggage is delayed or lost.
  4. If you’ve ever gotten sick on a trip or injured, you know that getting medical care can create a windfall of financial problems in a chaotic web to untangle.  Insurance that includes medical coverage helps you get taken care of without worry including emergency medical evacuation when necessary.

Wondering what could happen, read my travel horror stories.

Which Countries Require Travel or Visitor Insurance?

Hospitalization and medical costs for vacationers who need medical care have increased as tourism has grown.  Countries have been over burdened by these costs and are now making travel insurance a requirement to enter their borders.  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many international destinations now require travel insurance and some require a specific travel medical insurance that covers COVID-19.

If you will be traveling to any of the 26 following destinations, you may be required to show proof of specific insurance: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The embassies of these countries may require proof of the following insurance coverage for travelers: $50,000 of hospitalization insurance, $300,000 of evacuation insurance, and proof that the provider of the insurance has offices in Europe.

Additionally, the following countries have insurance requirements that can include pre-registration forms, proof of medical insurance, and COVID-19 testing requirements.  These rules are still frequently changing so always check the local authority to ensure your own compliance.

  • Anguilla – Covid-19 Requirements
  • Antarctica – Requires Travel Insurance
  • Aruba – Covid-19 Requirements Visit Official Site to see mandatory insurance premiums.
  • Bahamas – Covid-19 Requirements
  • Bermuda – Covid-19 Requirements Travel authorization.
  • The British Virgin Islands – Entry Requirements.
  • Cambodia – Covid-19 Requirements
  • Cayman Islands – Covid-19 Requirements Official travel guidance.
  • Chile – Covid-19 Requirements Official travel guidance.
  • Costa Rica – Covid-19 Requirements Official travel guidance.
  • Cuba – Requires Travel Insurance
  • Curacao
  • Democratic Republic of Congo – U.S. Embassy travel guidance.
  • Dominican Republic 
  • Ecuador – Requires Travel Insurance
  • Egypt – Requires Travel Insurance
  • French Polynesia/Tahiti – Covid-19 Requirements Official entry conditions.
  • Israel – Covid-19 Requirements
  • Iran
  • Jamaica – Covid-19 Requirements
  • Japan
  • Jordan – Covid-19 Requirements
  • Lebanon – Covid-19 Requirements
  • Mexico
  • Nepal – Covid-19 Requirements
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • Russia – Requires Travel Insurance
  • Saint Martin – Official entry requirements.
  • Singapore – Official mandatory insurance requirements.
  • Sint Maarten – Covid-19 Requirements
  • Thailand – Covid-19 Requirements Expect site changes after Nov. 1. – Official travel guidance.
  • Togo – Official travel guidance.
  • Turkey – Requires Travel Insurance
  • Turks and Caicos – Covid-19 Requirements Official entry requirements.
  • Ukraine – Covid-19 Requirements Official travel guidance.
  • United Arab Emirates – Requires Travel Insurance Official travel guidance. *Dubai has its own requirements.

In some countries, travelers are expected to provide proof of medical or hospitalization insurance before they can enter. Visitors who can’t provide proof may be required to either purchase a policy on-site or be denied entry into the country.

(Some information courtesy of SquareMouth)

Understanding Travel Insurance Benefits and Options for Today's Traveler

Domestic Health Insurance Limitations

When traveling abroad, many Americans are unaware of their health insurance coverage. One out of five Americans surveyed by InsureMyTrip believed that their U.S. health insurance would cover medical expenses (e.g. emergency room visits) abroad, but 56 percent were not sure. Only 22 percent of those surveyed understood their domestic health insurance would not cover them. 

A medical evacuation back to the United States can cost over $100,000, and depends largely on the condition of the patient and where the patient is located. Few domestic health insurance companies will cover this expense.

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Cruise Lines that Require Travel Insurance

Even cruise lines are now requiring travel insurance for some passengers.  Be sure to carefully review your agreements when purchasing travel to understand what is required of you.

Carnival Cruise – Unvaccinated guests sailing from Florida or Texas must show proof of travel insurance coverage during check-in.  ***Unvaccinated guests without the required proof of insurance will not be permitted to sail and no refund will be provided.***

All cruise lines and travel suppliers strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance.

4 Reasons Why Family Travelers Should Really Get Travel Insurance

It’s a big deal for families to take a vacation. If you only get to enjoy a vacation once a year, you want to ensure that it goes well no matter what sudden situations arise.

Insurance not only protects the family but their investment as well.

  1. There are countries that may demand payment for services before allowing you to leave.  You may not have access to the funds needed immediately.
  2. When you’re ready to get home and a flight is cancelled, there’s nothing worse than having to sleep in the airport with cranky kids until the next flight is available.  A good night’s sleep in a hotel could be covered by insurance and provide some necessary rest.
  3. Lost medications can be replaced quickly with the help of your travel insurance provider including locating a nearby pharmacy.
  4. They can even help replace glasses or provide access to trusted doctors, hospitals, and dentists.
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Breakdown of Travel Insurance Benefits

New Benefits to look for:

Cancel for COVID-19 Illness – Refund prepaid and nonrefundable trip payments if a trip is canceled or interrupted as a result of catching the disease.

Medical Coverage for Covid-19 – Coverage for medical expenses a traveler incurs if they contract Covid-19 unexpectedly during their trip.

Trip Cancellation or Interruption benefits can include reimbursement due to:

  • Cancellation for unforeseen circumstances.
  • Hurricane/Weather
  • Financial Default
  • Employment Layoff or Work Reasons
  • Terrorism
  • Medical Reasons – unforeseen illness, injury, or death.

Medical coverage can reimburse for:

  • Emergency medical
  • Pre-existing conditions (always review lookback period)
  • Co-insurance
  • Medical deductible
  • Return to Home Country

Evacuation coverage can provide for:

  • Emergency medical evacuation to the nearest medical facility
  • Transport back home after a medical emergency
  • Transport back home after a natural disaster or civil/politcal unrest.

Loss or Delay coverage can provide relief and reimbursement for:

  • Costs of meals and accommodations during delays
  • Costs of toiletries, clothing, and essentials during baggage delays
  • Loss, stolen, or damaged luggage
  • Additional costs for missed connections under a covered reason

Accidental Death provides a cash payment in the event of:

  • 24 Hour Ad&D – accidental loss of life or limb during trip
  • Flight only AD&D – accidental loss of life or limb while flying
  • Common Carrier AD&D – accidental loss of life or limb while traveling on a common carrier

Additional Coverages can include:

  • Sports, Activities & Equipment
  • Rental Car Damage
  • Identity Theft
  • 24 Hour Assistance
Understanding Travel Insurance Benefits and Options for Today's Traveler

Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance

When looking for this option, expect an additional premium when available and pay attention to restrictions that can include the timing of your insurance protection.  Some policies only make certain coverages available when you have purchased your travel plans within 21 days of purchasing your travel insurance.

There are many plans to choose from so be sure to read carefully and never just go with the “cheapest” option without reviewing whether or not it would cover the most important things to you.  Always use your observation period to carefully review the fine print within the money back guarantee period if applicable.

***You can lose vital early purchase benefits that are included when you do NOT purchase within 21 days of your initial trip deposit, such as cancel for work reasons or pre-existing conditions.***

Put your insurance documents somewhere easy to access so you won’t have to go searching should you need to call for assistance or need to file a claim.  The best thing to do is print a copy to put in your wallet and save a copy in your email or in google drive/ dropbox so you can access it from anywhere.

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