Understanding Travel Insurance Coverage
By Amy Nutt
Before you head out on that big trip, do you need to purchase travel insurance? What is travel insurance anyway? Is it a wise investment, or a waste of money? Understanding travel insurance before you book your next trip will help you make a wise decision as to whether or not to purchase this insurance product.

Two Main Coverage Options

Travel insurance products vary quite a bit from policy to policy. For this reason, you need to carefully read the policy you are considering buying. However, there are two main types of coverage that you will almost always see as part of a travel insurance plan. These are trip cancellation or interruption coverage and emergency medical evacuation coverage.

Trip cancellation or interruption coverage will pay all or a portion of the cost of your trip if it is cancelled or cut short due to unforeseen circumstances. For instance, if you end up in the hospital before your trip, you may be able to get your deposit back. However, you should know that not all reasons for cancellation are covered. If you decide that you do not want to go at the last minute, you will not get your money back. The interruption part of this coverage will cover the loss you may have if the cruise line or tour company canceled your trip. If, for instance, you have to head home early due to bad weather while you are on your cruise, you may be able to get reimbursed for a portion of your trip's cost.

Emergency evacuation coverage is great for those who are traveling out of the country. If you need to be medically evacuated from your destination country, you will not have to pay for the evacuation or your trip back to America if you have this coverage. This is important coverage for those who are traveling in areas where there is not going to be access to good medical care.

Other Coverage Options to Consider

While these two coverage options are almost always included in
a travel insurance policy, there are other options available. Those who are traveling overseas often purchase travel health insurance. This covers the cost of medical care that you may need while traveling out of the country. However, before you purchase this, make sure you do not already have similar coverage through your existing health insurance provider.

Some travel insurance policies also include a lost or stolen baggage clause. This will pay the approximate cost of replacing any lost or stolen luggage or other belongings that you have. Whether the airline loses your baggage or someone steals it while you are on your trip, it will be covered.

Catches to Watch For

There are some catches to watch for when shopping for travel insurance. First, look for the various exceptions and exemptions on the policy. For instance, if you are purchasing interruption coverage, you may find that you will only be reimbursed after you have tried all that you can try to get a reimbursement from the cruise line or tour company or if the company declares bankruptcy. Also, check your other insurance policies, such as your health insurance and homeowner's insurance, to make sure that you are not purchasing coverage that you already own.

Understanding what travel insurance actually covers is important when you are making a decision about purchasing it. It is not a perfect solution that will repay you for the cost of your trip under any circumstances. Most policies have specific circumstances under which they will pay, and other circumstances that are excluded from the policy. Read the policy carefully, consider your individual needs, and decide whether or not the cost of travel insurance is worth the protection it provides.

Pucher Insurance is an exclusive provider of Canadian health insurance and travel insurance Canada policies.

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