What travel insurance needs – and what to miss

Many Americans make their airlines or hotel reservations online. Choose a flight; find a hotel room – but get to the end of the transaction and you can’t leave until you sign up or give up travel insurance.

In the travel industry, travel insurance remains one of the most misunderstood and some might say misleading problems.

Millions of Americans joined in 2019 and 2020 with the best of intentions, only to find in the pandemic that the insurance they bought it was essentially useless. Somewhere in the companies’ policies – never disclosed on the website when passengers had to make a choice – there was a paragraph that said that companies do not cover pandemics.

These are millions and millions of dollars wasted by passengers – not only on the cost of policies, but then on the inability to get their money back for canceled flights or travel.

The two largest types of insurance are travel cancellation and travel insurance and medical evacuation and repatriation insurance. The first is what travelers are usually most familiar with. Theoretically, it is supposed to cover trips that are canceled or interrupted – so if the flight is delayed, causing a passenger to miss a connection or cruise, or if you lose a few days at a hotel. Or, if hard weather occurs, such as a hurricane, it will affect the destination.

Usually this policy costs between 6-10% of the price of your trip. But the devil is in the details, the fine print of any policy that most travelers never bother to read – and it’s almost impossible to do when buying a trip online.

Policies usually have a number of exceptions and exceptions, such as refusing to cover passengers over the age of 75 or those with pre-existing medical conditions. These rules may exclude travel to certain destinations, such as North Korea or Syria. And they may not apply in certain weather situations – you can’t buy a policy after the hurricane is officially named, for example.

And, of course, there was a “pandemic clause” during the pandemic.

In contrast, medical evacuation and repatriation insurance is – in theory – a basic cover that every passenger should have in case they get sick or injured while traveling. Most health insurance policies do not cover you outside the United States, so this type of travel insurance is especially important to have if you are traveling anywhere abroad.

The best policies pay you first to be medically stabilized in this place; then the insurance company will consult with your doctor – who knows your medical history best. Based on this consultation, the insurance will take you to the home – the evacuation and repatriation for which it is named – to the medical facility and doctor of your choice.

Most medical evacuation and repatriation policies are sold on an annual basis and many have family plans. I have had my policy for more than 20 years and although fortunately I have never had to use it, I am very happy to be wearing it. I was in Egypt a few years ago when an American tourist foolishly tried to climb the pyramids in Cairo. He fell and broke his thigh. He had no insurance.

He had to pay for five first-class seats on the return flight: four to hold the stretcher, between two rows, and a fifth for the nurse who had to fly with him. His plane ticket cost $ 67,000 alone.

If you are looking to buy travel insurance, never buy it from the travel providers themselves, such as the airline or the cruise line. In many cases, the language of the policy with this insurance tends to be more advantageous to the travel provider in terms of exceptions and limitations.

This also means that you never buy it online – always give up. Why? You don’t know what you’re protected for, and what’s worse is you don’t know what you’re not protected for. Travelers can easily purchase it from a travel agent or travel advisor, who can guide you through the characters in the language of politics to help you determine if you are really covered. And if you buy insurance from a travel provider and the travel provider goes out of business, in many cases, so does your insurance.

Be careful with travel insurance policies that allow you to cancel for some reason known as CFAR. These policies are usually very expensive and passengers will not get all their money back if they cancel. Before the pandemic, many policies would only recoup about 75% of the passenger’s investment. Now a number of policies have reduced this to 50%. And some rules exclude any cancellations for cancellations made 24-48 hours before the date of departure of the trip.

But after the last two years, there have been some changes that are good for passengers. There have been so many complaints about travel cancellation and travel interruption insurance during a pandemic that some insurance companies now provide policies that include epidemic coverage – now considered covered by medical expenses.

And a number of insurance policies – including one from Allianz, the largest travel insurance company – already include quarantine coverage if you test positive for COVID-19 while traveling. Travelers will be reimbursed for their expenses under the “travel delay” provision. But not all policies offer this, and travelers should consult these companies directly or with a travel agent or advisor to make sure the language of coverage you need is specified in that particular policy.

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