Travel insurance. You have saved and planned for this vacation. Nothing is going to happen. Right? Seriously, what are the odds of something going wrong with your carefully planned trip? Usually, those odds are low. I am sure that the travelers who booked (some of them a year ago) through the recently defunct Thomas Cook Holiday booking company which left 600,000 Europeans stranded around the globe never thought that the 130-year-old company would fold while they were on vacation.
Then there are the travelers that are on the open seas cruising and a hurricane rolls in and they are stranded to weather out the storm on a devastated island until they can be rescued. This is exactly what happened to friends of ours. Thank goodness they had purchased the optional travel protection when they booked their trip.
WHAT IS TRAVEL PROTECTION INSURANCE?
Travel protection is a combination of travel insurance and travel assistance. Travel insurance covers delayed/canceled trips, lost luggage, etc. Travel assistance is more of a concierge service that offers advice about that specific destination, translation, help finding legal services and medical care in your location, and preparation advice for the trip – these services and more are available 24/7. Travel protection helps provide you peace of mind when away from home; whether traveling abroad or within the U.S. One of the best things about travel protection insurance that is different from a standard car or medical insurance is there are NO deductibles!
MY FLIGHT WAS CANCELLED
We all know that airlines are incredibly reliable, right? They run like clockwork, always on-time, never lose your luggage. Wrong. Just recently I was on a domestic U.S. flight that had mechanical issues. There was a strange unidentifiable smell that they could not locate. We sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour before we were offloaded and told to go to another terminal gate where a plane was waiting for us. When we got to the gate we were then informed that our flight had been canceled. No reasoning. No explanation. We were left scrambling to rebook our flights. Thankfully, in this instance, most were able to find seats on other flights – but some had an unexpectedly long layover.
I, fortunately, was able to rebook my flight rather quickly. But if I had been put in the situation that I was stuck overnight and had to get a hotel room, that cost in addition to other covered expenses may have been reimbursed under certain trip protection plans.
YOU GOT THERE BUT YOUR LUGGAGE DID NOT
If you are like me, you check-in for your flight, watching your luggage move down the conveyor belt to disappear through the opening in the wall wondering if you will ever see it again. Then the second you get off the plane you start speculating – did my luggage make it? You stand at the carousel watching luggage go round and round, slowly being claimed. You know, inevitably, someone has to find an attendant to submit a where-the-heck-is-my-stuff claim – you just hope it is not you.
Just for fun, if you are in Huntsville, Alabama you should make a point to check out Unclaimed Baggage. It is where missing luggage goes – you never know, you might find something of yours.
Fortunately, with many trip protection plans, you can be reimbursed for luggage delay and/or damage. That swiveling-hip hula dancer you bought for Uncle Fred from an overly-tan beach vendor may not make it home, but maybe with your reimbursement, you will be able to order another one from Amazon when you get home.
Let’s say you are on an adventure tour and you are supposed to jump from a ledge of a (relatively) short cliff into a large pool of water. Let’s also say that your timing was off just a tad and instead of the splash landing you were anticipating, you end up getting knocked around by the waves and cut your leg pretty bad on the coral. Yup, true story – happened to a friend of mine. Not a pretty sight and definitely not planned.
Had my friend purchased a travel insurance plan, the emergency medical evacuation that was needed to get him to the hospital probably would have been covered. It turned out that the trip was substantially more expensive than planned.
Some foreign countries require payment for medical services upfront, this could pose a serious issue or at the very least, cause a deep wrinkle in your vacation. I would recommend that if you are traveling outside of the United States you check with the State Department to see if they recommend travel insurance for your destination.
Many trip protection plans also include non-insurance related assistance such as locating nearby pharmacies, doctors, hospitals.
DRIVING IN A DIFFERENT COUNTY
Did I tell you about the time we rented a car in England? We were prepared as much as possible for driving on the left-hand side of the road – after all, it is not something we could actually practice. What we weren’t prepared for when we picked the car up was that it was a standard – a stick shift! We had not driven a stick since high school. Oh, my gosh! That is quite a humorous story you can read here. Driving in a different country can be an adventure on its own!
We are making travel plans to visit parts of Italy in March. Let’s just say, New York City has nothing on its city drivers. Cars weaving in and out of each other’s lane whipping around the circle intersections. I was standing on the sidewalk watching the traffic and could not help but be a bit nervous. Whereas they are used to driving under those conditions, my husband and I are not. I will definitely be adding a trip protection plan if we decide to rent a car.
As I mentioned above, trip Protection is more than just insurance coverage for medical needs or delayed flights. Trip Protection is a peace of mind 24/7 while you are traveling – regardless if it is in the US or abroad. Purchasing a trip protection plan is like having a personal assistant wherever you happen to travel. Need help with translations? Not sure what local customs are in a particular situation? Maybe you need a recommendation or pre-travel advice. Under the Trip Protection these services and more at your fingertips.
WON’T MY REGULAR INSURANCE COVER ME?
Not all medical or auto insurance companies have coverage outside of the US or when you are traveling and if they do the coverage can be significantly reduced. The same can be true for travel insurance coverage through credit cards. Be sure to read the fine print of your existing policy to know what incidents would be covered and the covered amount.
TRAVEL INSURANCE COMPANIES
Now you are aware of the many ways that trip protection can help and the reasons to seriously consider purchasing trip protection before your next trip. So, who ya gonna call?
There are several companies – some better than others.
The two that I would suggest are AXA Assistance USA and RoamRight.
AXA Assistance has helped 95 million stranded travelers over the 50 years it has been in business. They have multi-lingual offices located in 34 countries that interact with customers in over 200 countries and territories. The USA AXA office is headquartered in Chicago working not only with individual consumers but also corporations and student/church groups.
They offer three different coverage plans to suit a variety of needs ranging from single trips to continual yearly coverage. Their concierge service is stellar ranging from medical evacuation to getting you concert tickets.
RoamRight, based in Maryland, has been around for a number of years mostly offering support to other travel insurance providers until 2012 when they launched their own brand. Both AXA and RoamRight work with groups and individuals for their travel protection needs. RoamRight offers a mobile app with emergency alerts and online claims to alleviate some of the hassles.
RoamRight has eight different levels of protection ranging from basic automobile rental coverage to the Elite plan with all the bells and whistles a traveler might need. The Elite plan also covers extreme sports adventures such as bungee jumping and skydiving. They also offer a “Cancel For Any Reason” policy which was an important box to tick when the Zika virus was such a concern in many areas a few years ago.
Travel insurance and trip protection can be a valuable add-on to your vacation to help keep it fun and favorable adventure, still many people opt not to use it. So, is it right for you? The cost of the coverage is a small percentage of the total cost of the trip. If everything goes as you have planned, then you have no concerns. BUT, if someone gets sick or you have an accident then the protection you bought will save you hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars. The choice is yours.
Thank you for reading this travel nugget of knowledge about Travel Protection insurance. This article may contain an affiliate link or two, which does not affect you in any way, but will allow Empty Nestopia to continue to bring you travel tidbits.