Travel doesn’t always go as planned. In times of COVID-19, we know it all too well.
As the pandemic continues to disrupt and cancel vacations, many people are taking steps to minimize the challenges of changing travel plans. The data suggests that the pandemic has caused more Americans to buy travel insurance, or at least consider it.
But with so many newbies buying travel insurance, failure is inevitable. We asked the experts to share their most common mistakes when buying travel insurance and their advice for maximizing coverage and minimizing costs.
can’t wait to buy
“Travel insurance is designed to cover the unexpected,” said Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer of Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site. It’s important to purchase policies before a potentially dangerous event occurs.”
For example, if you book a Caribbean cruise in early September, hurricanes may be a concern. “It’s important to buy a plan before a weather event occurs, especially before the storm gets its name,” he explains Moncrief.
The sooner you purchase travel insurance, the more protection you will receive.
“It’s a best practice to buy travel insurance right after you make your initial travel deposit, just like when you book flights and hotel stays,” said Jeff Rolander, claims director at travel insurance startup Faye. says. “Generally, he must purchase travel insurance within 14 days of the initial travel deposit to take full advantage of the insurance’s benefits.”
Don’t check credit card rewards
“The biggest mistake is buying insurance you don’t need or buying too much insurance,” says money and budget expert Andrea Woroch. For example, many people don’t realize that rental car insurance is included with car insurance and credit cards.
Check your credit card information to see if you have travel insurance benefits. When you book travel with that card, you’re eligible for these benefits and don’t need separate travel insurance.
“It is important to understand the types of coverage credit cards offer. It could include insurance,” Woroch said.
If you travel frequently but have a credit card that doesn’t offer travel insurance, consider getting a new card to save on insurance premiums. Warlock suggested comparing his travel credit cards on sites such as CardRates.com.
She pointed to a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. This card includes trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance up to $10,000 per person (in addition to Trip Delay Insurance, Baggage Delay Insurance, Baggage Loss Insurance, Car Rental Insurance and Travel Accident Insurance). Woroch pointed out that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card offers similar benefits.
“You may have travel insurance through various memberships without realizing it,” she said. “For example, our AAA Premier Her membership plan offers generous travel coverage, including travel interruption or delay coverage of up to $1,500 and lost baggage coverage of up to $500.”
Buying the wrong insurance for your needs
Not all travel insurance is suitable for every situation.
“When purchasing travel insurance, it’s important to understand the specific concerns travelers have about their trip and the type of coverage they’re looking for,” said Moncrief. “We are seeing a new group of travel insurance consumers who are unfamiliar with the product, especially after the pandemic.”
In fact, buying travel insurance requires some reflection and research. Before paying a premium, think about what you are doing and what you don’t need to insure, and if you’re still not sure, consider calling a professional.
Shiny fine print
“Another big mistake is not knowing what your travel insurance policy covers because most people don’t read the fine print,” says Woroch. “Do your homework and find out the details, or you might think you got what you didn’t get.”
Travel insurance, like any other form of insurance, does not cover everything.
“When you buy travel insurance, read the plan,” says Angela Borden, product marketing strategist at travel insurance company Seven Corners. “It gives me a better understanding of my benefits and takes some of the frustration out of going to the insurance claim and finding out my situation wasn’t covered,” she said. , “You will know what actions need to be taken, such as filing a claim within a certain period of time.”
paying more than necessary
There is a price-value correlation in the insurance world, but that doesn’t mean everyone should pay top dollar for travel insurance.
“Travelers should not hesitate to go for the cheapest option once they find a policy that offers adequate coverage,” says Moncrief. “Pricing is based on travel factors such as length of trip, number of travelers, age, etc. It does not indicate the provider’s reputation or ease of handling the claims process.”
“Generally, if a traveler is trying to protect the cost of a trip with a cancellation policy, they should expect to pay between 4% and 10% of that cost,” she continued. “Most travel insurance policies are all-inclusive and include trip cancellation coverage plus some perks. You can find far more affordable plans with useful perks like emergency medical care, evacuation, delays and baggage.”
Misunderstandings in the billing process
“The most common mistakes we see today don’t have anything to do with buying a plan, but specifically with how the plan is used in the billing process,” said Moncrief. “Travel insurance is designed to make travelers complete by reimbursing them for unplanned expenses incurred during their trip.”
For example, travelers who experience problems or inconveniences while traveling may be offered vouchers or credits by vendors such as airlines. But this can complicate matters.
“To qualify for monetary reimbursement from their policy, [the traveler] Mr. Moncrief must not accept any refunds, credits or vouchers from any travel agent,” said Moncrief, noting the importance of understanding your coverage and what your claims process entails. emphasized sexuality.
“Most travel insurance policies have a ‘money-back guarantee’ period, allowing travelers to review the terms and, if unsatisfied with the plan, cancel the policy and receive a refund,” she said. “All policies also include 24-hour emergency assistance during your trip. If you need to use our policies, we encourage you to contact this assistance department immediately. It explains the benefits and in many cases avoids the claims process.”
Forgetting medical insurance
“Many international travelers don’t know that their primary health plan doesn’t provide coverage abroad,” said Moncrief.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to consider a comprehensive plan that includes travel medical insurance, in addition to covering lost luggage and trip cancellations or interruptions.
“Most Americans think of the following when thinking about travel insurance. [are] In fact, the biggest financial risk they could face is unforeseen injury, illness and/or medical evacuation while traveling,” said Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer of Goose Insurance. One Omar Kaywan said. “The biggest mistake consumers make is not buying travel medicals and/or buying travel medicals that don’t meet their needs.”
He noted that most policies limit pre-existing medical conditions and may have certain exclusions. Please check. The same is true if you plan to participate in certain sports or activities.
“Some policies exclude participation in scuba diving, spelunking, bungee jumping, or any type of sport. [of] As it is a team sport, consumers who plan to participate in sporting activities should review the policy language prior to purchase,” said Kaywan. “I’ve seen too many mistakes of buying insurance for ski holidays without coverage.”
Be aware of certain destination exclusions and local regulations in force.
“If you’re traveling internationally, check the requirements of the country you’re traveling to to make sure your travel medical policies are adequate,” warned Keiwan. [in] Among us, many countries need coverage for medical procedures and/or quarantine costs. “
don’t call customer service
“When buying from a travel insurance company, we work with a licensed insurance agent to answer all your questions and help you choose the best policy,” says Borden.
A good insurance company should also be able to help you after you purchase a policy or if you need to file a claim. Look for companies with great customer service that allow for human communication, not just bots.
“You can avoid mistakes by simply calling your preferred travel insurance company before your trip and asking for more information related to your question,” says Rolander. “If you can’t figure them out, or get a clear answer to your question, it’s a red flag that you should check with other providers to cover your trip.”
He said the phone calls help him learn about inconvenient travel scenarios that qualify for reimbursement — accidental damage to vacation rentals (broken lamps, wine stains on carpet, stove fire), participation Tickets for activities that are no longer available, cancellations such as flight delays (and related costs such as meals and hotels), and even luggage delays.