The Better Business Bureau is trying to help travelers avoid headaches when purchasing travel insurance this holiday season.
Before you finalize your travel plans, be sure you have given careful thought to whether you need to purchase travel insurance. There are circumstances that could cause you to cancel your trip, return home early, or force you to seek emergency medical treatment while traveling. Travel insurance may provide the extra protection you need.
Before you purchase coverage, check your homeowner’s or medical insurance policies to avoid any overlapping. For instance, expensive items such as your camcorder, laptop, computer or jewelry may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance should they be stolen while you are traveling. If the airline loses your checked luggage, they are required to reimburse you for your bags (up to a certain dollar amount). Or, if you become sick or injured while traveling, your personal medical insurance firms differ in what they cover, so be sure to ask.
“Be sure to read the insurance plan. Make sure you understand what it covers, and more importantly, what it doesn’t cover”, says Ran Hoth, BBB of Wisconsin CEO & President. “Check to see if your homeowners or renters insurance covers travel. Some credit cards also offer trip protection. BBB encourages doing some homework before purchasing.”
Some of the different types of insurance available include:
Trip Cancellation/Interruption (TCI) – If your plans suddenly change and you have to cancel or end your trip early, TCI will cover you for this. But, it will only reimburse you for reasons on the insurer’s acceptable list, such as, injury, sickness, death of yourself, a family member, a traveling companion or business partner. Some policies will cover only medical reasons and some will not cover pre-existing medical conditions. It is very important to read the fine print.
Emergency Medical Evacuation – If you are going on an adventure vacation or to an area that is far from modern medical facilities, it may be a good idea to buy this coverage. If adequate treatment is not available at a local hospital, you would be transferred to the nearest adequate medical facility.
Baggage Loss – This coverage reimburses you for lost, stolen or damaged bags. Before packing, be sure to make a list of everything; if your bag is lost, you may be reimbursed for some contents, but not all.
Before purchasing travel insurance, the BBB advises:
- Read the fine print. Know exactly what coverage you’re getting and what it includes.
- Comparison shop. What is the difference between buying your travel insurance from an independent travel insurance firm, rather than from your travel agent, the tour operator, cruise line etc.
- Costs vary. It’s wise to compare costs before making a final purchase decision.
- Protect yourself further by paying for travel insurance with a charge card.
- Baggage-loss protection is only necessary if you are carrying more than $2,500 worth of items in your bags. Be sure to check your homeowner’s policy.
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