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    HAPPY NEW YEAR!  HAPPY THREE KINGS! As we are now in 2019, new year, new beginnings, new challenges and  new opportunities.  Everyone is entitled to make their new year’s resolution for as long as they keep it in mind and make sure that they do it to the best of their ability.  When I was young [...]

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Page added on February 24, 2011

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Due to weather, political situations and the prevalence of non-refundable tickets, it’s always a good idea to look into the possibility of obtaining travel insurance to safeguard your trip against any unforeseen events. Now, the question is which type of insurance do you need?

There are several different types of travel insurance policies available, ranging from trip cancellation insurance to emergency medical evacuation, all of which vary widely by company and what their coverage includes and how much it costs.

Following is a brief description of the different types of travel insurance options available. Note that every policy is a little bit different, so be sure to read the fine print carefully before purchasing any travel insurance.

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance covers you if unforeseen events cause you to cancel or interrupt your trip. In general, this coverage is meant for illness, injury or death suffered by the insured or a member of the insured’s immediate family. Some policies also cover cancellation in the event of illness, injury or death to the insured’s travel companion. Most policies exclude trip cancellation in the event of war, civil disturbance or a change in your own financial circumstances. (Lose your job before your trip? If you don’t have job loss protection — not offered by all companies — you could be out of luck.) Some policies also exclude travel to specific destinations that are prone to political unrest.

Medical insurance encompasses several types of coverage. Emergency medical evacuation insurance covers the cost of transportation if a qualified physician determines that you must be evacuated for treatment to the nearest medical facility or to the United States (if it’s warranted), due to a physical injury or sickness. This insurance is highly recommended for cruise passengers and adventure travelers visiting remote areas.

Keep in mind that in nearly all cases you will need to pay upfront for your medical services, and then your insurance company will reimburse you later, once you’ve made a claim.

Before purchasing a travel insurance policy with medical coverage, be sure to check what your regular medical insurance does or doesn’t cover, particularly when traveling overseas. You should also consider the medical care offered at your destination. Many Western countries have excellent socialized medical care available and you may not even be charged for the care you receive. On the other hand, if you’re in a remote area of a developing country and need to be evacuated for adequate medical care, the expenses can mount quickly.

Read the fine print regarding coverage or lack thereof for pre-existing conditions. Generally any medical problem that arises within 60 days prior to purchasing the policy is not covered; however, there are some exceptions to this.

Baggage loss and delay coverage protects you in the event that your luggage is lost, delayed or stolen. This often includes a cash payment if your bags are delayed for more than 12 hours after you arrive at your destination.

Flight delay or cancellation insurance (sometimes called “travel delay”) typically pays for accommodations, meals and new travel arrangements once you’ve been delayed a certain amount of time (often 6 or 12 hours — read your policy carefully).

Travel document protection kicks in to help you replace a passport or other travel documents when they’re lost or stolen.

Annual Insurance
If you travel many times a year (particularly internationally), it may be more economical to purchase annual insurance instead of individual policies for each trip. Annual insurance may also be a good idea if you regularly travel to developing countries, even if it’s only a few times a year.

Most annual policies provide medical evacuation coverage, benefits in the event of loss of life or limb, as well as minimums for lost luggage and treatment costs for illness or injury. These policies typically do not include trip cancellation coverage, but in some cases you may add this for an additional fee.

Before you purchase anything, make sure you read all terms and conditions carefully to be sure the policy provides the types of coverage you’re looking for and is valid in the countries you’ll be visiting.


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