How to Choose The Best Insurance For Travel (and Travelers)
Travel insurance has been around for more than 40 years, and most travelers know they need insurance when traveling – especially for big trips.
Choosing the best insurance for travelers means evaluating plans on how they cover three things:
- Medical emergencies;
- Trip cancellation and interruption; and
- Everything else.
Here’s how to weigh your travel insurance options and choose the right plan.
Medical coverage for travelers
For many travelers, travel medical coverage is a must-have. It makes sense; few medical plans cover travelers when they leave the country, and the ones that do may cover only a few procedures, or services from specific providers.
Medical coverage for travelers is purpose-built to deal with medical emergencies overseas. That’s why it’s such an important part of most travel insurance.
The key feature of medical coverage for travelers is coverage for pre-existing conditions. In addition, emergency medical evacuation is a medical-related coverage that can be a literal lifesaver.
Our Premium plan can cover pre-existing medical conditions if you’re medically able to travel at the time of purchasing the plan, you insure all of your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs, and you purchase the plan prior to or within 24 hours of your final trip payment.
Here’s something else to look for with medical coverage: The length of the “look-back” period – a length of time prior to buying the coverage, usually between three months and one year, where if you’re treated for a medical condition it’s considered pre-existing.
In our case, the look-back period is 180 days. That means any medical condition you were treated for in that 180-day period will be considered pre-existing, and won’t be covered if it flares up while you’re traveling. This does not apply to a condition that is treated or controlled solely through the taking of prescription drugs or medicine, and remains treated or controlled without any adjustment or change in the required prescription throughout the 180-day period.
Emergency medical evacuation
If you’re backpacking in Myanmar or trekking through the Amazon jungle, you need insurance in case you have to be evacuated.
Generali plans provide coverage for emergency medical evacuation to the nearest hospital that’s equipped to take care of you. The plan can also cover the cost of medical transport to a U.S. hospital, or even back home, if deemed medically necessary by the treating physician.
Finally, the plan can help pay the cost of sending home your remains if the unthinkable happens.
The more active your vacation and the more remote your destination, the more evacuation coverage you may need. Our Premium plan includes one million dollars of Emergency Assistance and Transportation coverage.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption insurance are must haves for many travelers because they help protect trips from perils at home and at your destination. These coverages reimburse you for unused, non-refundable, pre-paid travel expenses if you’re prevented from taking your trip due to a covered reason.
The best way to understand how Trip Cancellation coverage works is to read your Description of Coverage/Policy, and look for the covered reasons for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption.
Generally the reasons fall into several broad categories, including:
Your home or your destination is deemed uninhabitable, due to a flood, fire or other natural disaster.
Illness, injury, or death
You can’t go on your trip because you, a traveling companion or family member got sick or injured and can’t travel, or died.
With Generali, you can be covered if you have to cancel your trip because you lost your job.
If there’s a Terrorist Act in the city you’re departing from or at your destination, you could be reimbursed for your trip costs if you get one of our plans.
You’re called for jury duty, for instance, or you’re a student and your school year was extended due to weather. Plans vary greatly on the number and type of miscellaneous reasons they cover, so read your Description of Coverage/Policy to be sure of specific terms and conditions that may apply.
Not only do you need to understand what’s covered, but you need to understand how it’s covered, too. Many plans cover trip cancellation at 100% of your insured trip cost and trip interruption at more than 100%, so make sure you’re comfortable with how your plan pays before you buy.
Trip Cancellation For Any Reason Coverage
Trip Cancellation for Any Reason coverage (CFAR) is just what it says: Coverage that reimburses you if you cancel your trip for any reason – any reason, from fear of terrorism to hangnails.
There’s a catch: CFAR will only reimburse you a percentage of your insured trip cost. In the case of the optional CFAR coverage available as an add-on coverage to our Premium plan, that amount is 75% of your trip costs.
CFAR comes with some restrictions:
- You need to buy your plan within 24 hours of making your initial trip deposit;
- You’re not disabled from travel at the time of purchase;
- You insured your entire trip cost;
- You canceled 48 or more hours before your departure date;
- Everybody covered under the plan cancels; and
- The per-person trip cost is less than $10,000.
As a something’s-better-than-nothing way of recouping some of your trip cost, CFAR can be a worthwhile investment.
This coverage is not available to residents of New York.
Other travel insurance coverages
Other travel insurance coverages aren’t as sought-after as medical and cancellation/interruption, but they’re still important. Here’s what to look for:
Baggage coverage can reimburse you if your bags are lost, stolen, or damaged. There are restrictions on what’s covered and how much you can be reimbursed, and you’ll also need receipts for the lost or damaged items, or you’ll only get 75% of actual cash value.
Baggage Delay coverage can reimburse you up to the plan limit, for the cost of personal items that you have to buy while your baggage is delayed (baggage must be delayed a certain number of hours to qualify).
Accidental Death and Dismemberment
Let’s face it: the chances are slim of you dying or losing a limb when you travel. That makes this coverage more of an extra – though should you somehow lose an eye while traveling, or are killed in a travel accident, it’s there for you.
Sporting Equipment coverage can reimburse you for the cost of skis, golf clubs, surfboards, mountain bikes and more if they’re lost or damaged.
Sporting Equipment Delay coverage can cover the cost of finding them if they’re delayed. This coverage is over-and-above traditional baggage coverage.
Rental Car Damage Coverage
This collision and damage protection offered through your travel insurance is often better (and cheaper) than the rental-car-agency coverage – and it can keep rental-car issues from affecting your standard auto policy. Generali includes this coverage with the Premium plan and offers it as an add-on coverage with other plans.
This coverage is not available to residents of Texas.
Emergency travel assistance services
This isn’t insurance at all, but 24/7 travel assistance in case you lose your passport, get lost, need to know where the nearest embassy or consulate is, or fall victim to other travel mishaps. It’s another good ally to have on your side when you travel.
Why insurance for traveling is a good idea
If you’re thinking “it makes so much sense to get travel insurance!” — then jump right in and get a quote to compare prices. But, if you’re still not convinced that insurance for travelers is worth it, here’s our simple explanation:
Because things happen. People get sick. People lose their jobs. Things get lost. You need help.
Everyone wants their vacation to be the trip of a lifetime, but there are no guarantees. Travel insurance is the best way to help protect your investment.