5 Often Overlooked Benefits of Travel Insurance – Forbes Advisor

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When you purchase a good travel insurance policy, you get much more than protection for the financial investment of your trip. Beyond the benefits for potential trip cancellation, delay and interruption, medical benefits and baggage loss, there is much more value packed into one policy. These services provide emergency support, troubleshooting solutions and guidance when you need it most.

Here are the overlooked benefits that the best travel insurance plans usually include that can improve your travel experience, provide cash reimbursement and help if you need medical attention.

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1. Teamwork makes the (dream) vacation a success: Travel assistance

When you buy a policy from a travel insurance company, you pay benefits but also get 24/7 travel assistance.

Whether you’re traveling to Minneapolis or Madrid, your 24/7 travel insurance company’s team can provide travel assistance services you may not even know about. These may include:

  • Recommendations from a medical provider
  • Last minute travel arrangements
  • Help with language translation
  • Emergency money transfers
  • Replacement of lost documents such as passport

“Unlike trip cancellation insurance with a travel investment to protect, there is no dollar amount of coverage associated with this particular benefit,” says Christine Buggy, spokeswoman for Travelex Insurance Services.

“With a simple phone call, you go through situations that are often difficult and take a long time to figure out on your own,” Buggy says.

“No one wants to spend their dream vacation figuring out how to solve a problem that has arisen. Travel assistance helps you save time and energy so you can focus on enjoying your trip,” she adds.

2. News flash: Covid updates and warnings

You may be traveling to a country that requires you to be tested for Covid or that may have other Covid-related travel mandates that you must comply with in order to visit.

“Travel assistance also navigates the various Covid restrictions and country requirements that are still in place,” Buggy says. This may be a benefit you may not know is supported by your travel insurance company, even if you’ve researched the best pandemic travel policies.

You can call your travel insurance company’s 24/7 helpline or use its app to learn about Covid restrictions, real-time safety alerts based on your location, general travel advice and instant help with a click for a call.

“This benefit helps you feel supported during your trip, knowing you have help day or night to find a nearby testing location, figure out new accommodations, extend your stay, change flights or more,” says Buggy. “For Travelex customers, this can all be done at the touch of a button via the Travel On app.”

3. Buddy System: Travel Companion Benefits

If you have emergency medical evacuation coverage, you usually won’t have to fly solo if you become injured or ill during your trip and need medical evacuation. Travel insurance companies usually offer companion benefits so you’re not alone in the recovery.

“If you have a medical condition, you can worry less about being alone,” Buggy says. A travel insurance plan can reimburse you for your travel companion’s additional hotel and meal expenses so they can stay at your bedside, Buggy says.

Your policy may also cover a companion’s one-way flight home to accompany you.

If you are traveling alone, you may be reimbursed to bring a friend or family member to the medical facility to be there with you.

And if you’re traveling with children, travel insurance plans can pay for the cost of getting the children back home, including the cost of a companion to help them.

4. Advance payments for medical expenses

Even when you have travel medical insurance, getting sick or injured while away from home can be a daunting and emotional experience, especially if you’re abroad. When this happens, you may find that your state requires prepayment or preauthorization of payment before you can receive medical treatment. Your travel insurance company can step in to help in these situations.

“If you become ill or injured during your trip, your travel insurance company can arrange an advance payment to ensure you are admitted to a hospital,” says Travelex’s Buggy. “This means you are not left alone, in an unfamiliar place, to find emergency funds for a hefty bill. Paying up front often means fast medical services at a time when you may need them most.”

5. Streamlined recovery during travel hiccups

You may not realize that a travel insurance company usually offers electronic reimbursement during your trip if you encounter unforeseen problems or delays.

“Automatic payments for qualified travel delays are an overlooked benefit of travel insurance,” says Daniel Durazo, spokesperson for Allianz Global Assistance.

For example, with its SmartBenefits feature, Allianz actively monitors customers’ flights for delays of three to five hours (depending on the policy benefit) and automatically submits a claim for the customer, Durazo says. You choose to receive a flat payment of $100 per person per day, travel delays that are covered by your policy. You do not need to provide receipts, just proof of your lateness.

Reasons for delays that are covered usually include bad weather, airline maintenance issues or a transit strike. But if you miss your connecting flight because you’re browsing the duty-free shops at the airport and lose track of the time, that’s not a cause of action.

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