Travel insurance, to purchase or not? That is the question. OK, so it’s not quite Shakespeare but for the moment it is a much more valid question. Essentially, is travel insurance worth it?
Since COVID 19 and shelter in place as the owner and operator of Dreams are Forever Travel I’ve been bombarded with questions about travel insurance. “Does my travel insurance cover the current situation? “Is it too late to buy travel insurance?” The question I’ve been asked the most is “why did I pay for travel insurance if I can’t travel right now and I won’t get reimbursed either?”
With all of these questions, I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to explain general travel insurance coverage.
So what is travel insurance? Travel insurance is a plan that protects you, the traveler from certain financial risks, and losses that can occur before or during travel. Here’s an example of a “before” scenario. If you become ill and end up in the hospital that prevents you from traveling. An example of during a trip claim could be something like your suitcase gets lost.
Rule of Thumb
As a general rule, travel insurance does not cover foreseeable or known events such as COVID-19. Additionally, any nonrefundable expenses are not covered because you are afraid to travel due to the pandemic. However…they may accept a claim if you are actually sick.
Another example of a foreseeable event is a hurricane. In the Caribbean, hurricane season is June – November with a peak in August, September and October. Once the World Meteorological Organization names a hurricane (ie. Hurricane Sandy) it’s too late to purchase travel insurance. If you decide not to travel you have no recourse and will lose your money. To be on the safe side, I recommend that you buy travel insurance at the time you book your travel when you’re traveling to the Caribbean whether for a cruise or not.
Some tour operators offer “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) insurance. Which literally means that the traveler can cancel for any reason, hence the name! It’s typically available only at the time of purchasing the vacation. Sometimes its offered before your final payment is due. However, if you purchase at that late date you may only get back 70% of the cost.
I WISH I HAD NEVER GONE TRAVELING. SAID NO ONE EVER.
Another important thing to know about travel insurance has to do with pre-existing conditions. If you or another traveler has a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes, you must buy travel protection within 7 days of purchasing your vacation. Otherwise, pre-existing conditions are not covered and if something happens while you are traveling you will be responsible for all the cost you incur.
Here’s a little more information on pre and post-departure coverage.
Pre-departure covered reasons
- The insured traveler, traveling companion, or a family member suffers a serious covered illness or injury.
- The insured traveler, traveling companion, or a family member dies.
- You or a traveling companion are terminated/laid off from your job through no fault of your own, after your effective date of coverage, after working there at least 12 continuous months.
- You need to attend the birth of a family member’s child.
Post-departure covered reasons
- Interruption of your trip- If you, the traveler or anyone else covered by the policy gets sick and must be seen by a physician who recommends cutting the vacation short.
- If you have a trip delay – for example, you lose your wallet and/or passport in the airport that causes a 6+ hour delay.
- Your baggage is lost, damaged, or delayed.
- Emergency medical and dental – say you wake up with a terrible toothache and you need to find a dentist at your travel destination.
Additionally, it’s important to check with your medical provider, insurance provider, and credit card companies to see what they cover.
In summary, when it comes to travel insurance you need to weigh what you are willing to spend if you need to cancel a trip vs. the cost of a travel insurance plan.
Hi, I’m Sandy Haddick, owner and Travel Dream-Maker of Dreams are Forever Travel. I’m a certified Travel Leaders Vacation Specialist with IATA credentials and several vacation destinations & vacation brands certificates.
With a degree in Business Administration & Marketing, over 20 years in Supply Chain and my passion for planning and travel, the move to open my own agency was a natural fit: instead of moving product, I move people.
Planning a vacation can be a daunting process. There are so many details–flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and activities. The internet is a great place to look, but not the place to book! Working with Dreams Are Forever Travel ensures everything is arranged, scheduled, and paid for before you leave the house, allowing you time to enjoy your vacation. Every detail is taken care of, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. There’s never a cost to use our services, all you have to do is pack your bags!
I love making travel dreams come true; let’s start planning YOUR next dream vacation!