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How to Choose Travel Insurance

Updated on October 26, 2012

How Safe is Your Vacation From Disaster?

Nobody wants to experience any type of trouble or disastrous event while traveling. These stressful situations can seem like one of those really bad dreams folks have in the middle of the night. You know, the kind of nightmare where you wake up in a cold sweat, just thankful that you're safe, at home and in your own bed?

It is natural to feel a bit insecure about events, places or people when traveling. Travel insurance can help to ease those insecurities and help you feel safer when traveling. The trick is to find just the right policy for your particular needs at a price you can afford. I think the following information can help…


Selecting the Right Travel Insurance

Start by doing some simple research. First, you may want to check with your current insurance provider to see if they already provide coverage while you are traveling. Some of the major credit cards will include travel insurance as part of their agreement with you. In either case, make sure you get all the details regarding coverage you may already have.

For example, when I was traveling in another state on a recent trip, I discovered that my health insurance policy did not pay for air ambulance service. While that is normally not a big deal for someone in good health, for people who have an existing heart condition, an air ambulance transport could mean the difference between life and death.


With Travel Insurance, the Devil IS in the Details

Other consideration are the overall length of your trip, where you are traveling, the condition of your health and whether any high-risk activities like scuba diving, mountaineering or climbing are anticipated.

You will also want to consider cost. The biggest factor in determining the overall cost of coverage is the type of travel insurance needed and what is covered. If you need an expensive policy that covers a lot of different things, consider selecting a higher deductible to offset the cost of the policy. Premiums may be determined based on length of travel or a percentage of total travel cost.

TIP: If you travel frequently, you can save money on travel insurance by buying one policy for all travel.

If you have concerns or questions, ask your travel agent or speak with an insurance professional. Have them take a look at the policy you are considering and give you a rundown on the coverage. If that resource is not available, do some homework on the Internet. While this may take longer, you can typically find out all you need to know about a policy from a company's website.

Bottom line: Make certain you check the fine print and are aware of your exact coverage.



Tips to Help You Find the Best Travel Insurance

When you first start looking for travel insurance, there seem to be so many different companies, types, coverages and options available. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with a lot of seemingly confusing information. Take a deep breath and relax.

Basically, all types of travel insurance can be broken down into the following four categories:

  • Multiple Trip/Long-Term Travel Insurance provides coverage up to one year.
  • Single Trip/Short-Term Travel Insurance provides coverage for up to 90 days.
  • Expatriate Travel Insurance provides coverage for those people living overseas.
  • Foreign National Travel Insurance provides coverage for non-U.S. citizens.

Once you determine which type of basic coverage you need, you need to do some research on the wide variety of coverage provided within each of the aforementioned categories.


You just never know what is likely to happen with your luggage.
You just never know what is likely to happen with your luggage. | Source

What to Look for in a Good Travel Insurance Policy

  • 24 hour Emergency Medical Care coverage - some policies actually exclude this.
  • 24 hour Emergency Dental Care - hey, you never know when a you're going to need this, right?
  • Medical Evacuation - this will pay for the cost of getting you to medical facilities, which may be in another country in some parts of the world.
  • Legal Aid or Legal Referral Assistance - these days, you never know what is likely to happen. If a country is in political turmoil, this coverage may keep you out of a foreign jail or even save your life.
  • Personal Liability - this covers any damage or injury caused by you.
  • Cancelled Trip or Delayed Travel - what happens if a transportation worker strike occurs after your arrival? This covers unforeseen or emergency travel situations.
  • Financial Protection - what happens if your airline goes bankrupt while you're away? This coverage allows for financial compensation in case of emergency. This coverage is typically provided by credit cards to their customers.
  • Lost Baggage - this coverage typically pays a dollar amount for lost bags. Some policies cover delayed luggage as well.
  • Repatriation of Your Remains - Nobody wants to think about this, but if the unthinkable does happen, the last thing you want is your family or friends having a tough time getting your remains returned home.


I Found Some Helpful Travel Resources at Amazon...

Some of the More Common Exclusions to Watch For

All insurance policies have excluded items and travel insurance policies are no different. This is where reading the fine print can really pay off because some policies have a lot of exclusions. (Need I remind you again that you should do your homework before you purchase travel insurance?)

Different policies have different exclusions, but these are some of the most common:

  • Claims arising from declared or undeclared war
  • Terrorist activities or other similar acts
  • Suicide or self-inflicted injuries
  • Mental illness
  • Pregnancy or any other pre-existing medical conditions
  • Many high-risk sports activities including organized sports, rock climbing or skydiving
  • Alcohol or drug related incidents




Do you buy travel insurance every time you travel?

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    • MKayo profile image

      MKayo 5 years ago from Texas

      novascotiamiss - sharing your experience adds so much to the info in this article. Great advice and encouragement to never give up. Best, M

    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      This is an excellent article which highlights many important factors. While shopping for travel insurance I recently noticed that there is such a huge price difference, so doing some internet research definitely pays off. Due to the high cost, I usually only take out medical travel insurance. During my last trip I had an accident and injured my knee, so I ended up going to the emergency department of a hospital abroad. They did all the necessary check-ups and gave me their reports (which were according to Swiss insurance standards). Turned out that my Canadian insurer wanted a completely different questionnaire (in English) to be filled out by the physician. I only found out about this when back in Canada and I spent weeks e-mailing and phoning the hospital until they finally filled out the required paper. In the end the insurer only reimbursed me for the cost of medication and the physiotherapy (but not the hospital), which was against their policy! I insisted that I wanted my money back and after a long exchange they admitted that they didn't want to refund me, as I couldn't prove that I had actually paid mentioned hospital bill. Being no dummy I sent them a copy of my international wire transfer and bingo - I finally got all my money back. What I learnt from that: Always ask your insurer for all necessary forms that need to be completed (before you travel). If they don't pay, don't give in and ask for a written explanation and if necessary seek legal advice...

    • MKayo profile image

      MKayo 5 years ago from Texas

      freecampingaussie -glad to be of help. Thanks for leaving such a kind comment. Enjoy your trip - sounds like a big adventure! Hope you get to see the Alamo here in Texas. Safe travels - M

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 5 years ago from Southern Spain

      A great hub as we are planning a big trip next year . I am trying to find insurance for 1 big trip of a year not lots of small trips , getting so confused . We will leave Australia and visit Europe/Britain/ USA/Canada /Alaska etc .

      Voting you up. Found you while hopping hubs

    • MKayo profile image

      MKayo 5 years ago from Texas

      Savingkathy - thanks for the read and the compliment! Best, M

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a great resource for anyone planning a trip. I think you've covered absolutely everything there is to know about travel insurance. Awesome hub!