Some of us set aside a significant amount of money for international travels and vacations. These may not be substantial investments like a home or a car, but they are still worth a lot of money. Even a well-planned vacation can have unexpected things happening along the trip. Most often, these involve flight cancellations, lost baggage, missed flight connection, and many others.
When something like this happens, you are often at the mercy of the airline or your travel agency, and you will likely not be able to get all of your money back. Thus, having travel insurance is a good measure of protection for your invested money on your vacation, business trip, or study abroad program. We will discuss what travel insurance covers and why you should buy one as you read further.
Trip Cancellation Coverage
Perhaps one of the most important reasons for buying travel insurance is as a safeguard for trip cancellations. Most cancelled trips are due to personal reasons, like a death in the family. The traveller suddenly gets sick and cannot travel, or revocation or postponing a business trip happens. Most airlines do not have a flexible refund policy when it comes to cancellations due to these reasons. Unless the trip cancellation is initiated by the airline or caused by an extreme weather situation, you still have the chance to get your money back or get another chance to take a rescheduled flight.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having travel insurance for flights impacted by this medical emergency. Many travel restrictions are still being imposed in different countries, and even in your home country, travel availability may be limited. Thankfully, many travel insurance providers have expanded their product to include Covid 19 Travel Insurance or updated their policy coverage to include flight cancellations due to Covid 19. If you think your flight reservation for this year or the next year might still be affected by the pandemic, it would be wise to check with your travel insurance provider if their trip cancellation coverage includes COVID-19. If you have not yet purchased travel insurance, be sure to check if Covid 19 is included in its scope.
Missed Connection Coverage
Sometimes, unexpected things happen in the middle of your journey. For example, during connecting flights, where you have to land at another airport, disembark, and board another plane towards your destination. Often, your flight may have several connections, and there are sudden changes in the arrival and departure times of your next flight. Also, there can be sudden changes in the next carrier or airline if the original carrier is not available for some reason. These situations can often mislead some passengers and leave them unable to catch the next connecting flight.
Without travel insurance, this can be a costly situation, as you will be forced to pay for a new flight with the airline to reach your destination and avoid cancellation of the rest of your flights. If you have travel insurance with a missed connection coverage, you can take another flight to reach your destination, and it doesn’t need to be the airline on your ticket. It should be noted that missed connection coverage can vary with your ticket type (if one-way or round-trip) and with the insurance provider, so carefully read the insurance policy’s terms and conditions.
Damaged Destination Coverage
We mentioned extreme weather conditions earlier and how some airlines may give you a full refund if your flight is affected. This can be a good thing if you haven’t taken your flight yet or you haven’t made an advanced booking for a hotel. But what about if you are en-route to your destination? Or what if you have already booked a hotel? Will the cost of booking a new hotel or getting a refund for canceling a hotel reservation be also covered by the airline?
Airline policies vary on this one. Some may cover new hotel booking costs, but most would not refund you for your cancelled hotel or resort bookings. However, with travel insurance, you can arrange for reimbursement of the costs of your cancelled resort bookings, including side trips and other services you have paid for in advance. There should be no reason for you to settle only for a ticket cost refund and forget about the money you spent on reservations if you have your travel insurance policy with you.
Lost, Stolen, or Delayed Baggage Coverage
Having your baggage lost, stolen, or even delayed during your trip can be a frustrating and scary situation, and sadly, millions of passengers suffer this fate every year. No matter how careful you handle your baggage during the trip, it doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll get your luggage to arrive safely with you. Having these situations covered by your travel insurance can help put your mind at ease. Many insurance policies can reimburse lost or stolen baggage, but the reimbursement amount can vary depending on the insurance provider.
To ensure that your refund covers the cost of items in your baggage, have your valuables and expensive gadgets placed in your carry-on luggage. An additional safety measure you can look for when it comes to travel insurance is baggage delay coverage, where your purchase receipts for necessary items. Having your baggage protected makes you thoroughly enjoy your travel experience, and it’s one of the perks of having travel insurance.
Medical Emergencies During the Trip
Medical emergencies don’t just happen before the trip. Most of the time, they happen when you are at your destination or, worse, during your flight. With the right travel insurance, emergency medical care should also be covered even if you are in a foreign country. The insurance policy may not cover the entire medical bill and expenses, but it can help reduce your medical bill and help you locate suitable medical facilities. In the event of severe injury or a critical medical emergency, your travel insurance can also cover emergency airlift expenses such as helicopter transport.
Most of us may think that travel insurance is just another expense, but it can come in handy when we need it. There can be uncertainties surrounding our travel, and having something to protect us from them can give us peace of mind. If a fellow traveller asks you why you should buy travel insurance, the right answer would be: to prepare for the unexpected.