When you plan a vacation, you might not think you need to get insurance for your trip. However, it’s a good idea for many reasons. Nothing is worse than going on a trip and losing your luggage, or getting sick or injured while on your trip. Or even getting sick beforehand and not being able to go.
You will want to not have to worry about the financial hassles of any of these things, and travel insurance might be the answer. However, you have to be careful and make sure you get a legitimate policy when you purchase travel insurance. To ensure you don’t give yourself even more headaches in the long run, here are the questions you should be asking before you buy your travel insurance.
1. Who underwrites the policy and regulates the company?
There is a lot of fraud happening in the travel insurance world, so it's helpful to ask who regulates the insurance company and what the license number is. This way you have some assurance that the company is on the up and up.
In addition, there are underwriters on travel insurance policies. The company you’re purchasing the insurance from isn’t actually providing the insurance, so for added security it’s good to check on the underwriter just to make sure they are also doing well. Check with A.M. Best to see what the underwriter’s rating is. If there is no rating, then you know there might be an issue.
2. What advantages are there to buying insurance early?
Often, buying insurance when you buy your trip or make the first payment on it is ideal. However, you likely want to avoid purchasing it directly from the airline or cruise line. These are often lacking in benefits. Shopping around is key. Check to make sure they cover things such as pre-existing conditions, terrorism, or airline or cruise line bankruptcy.
3. What if I have pre-existing medical conditions?
Not all policies will cover you if you have pre-existing medical conditions. There are waivers you can get, but if anything changes with your condition, for instance you have a heart condition and are put on a new medication just weeks before your trip and then have a heart attack while on your trip, without a waiver you will not be compensated.
If the insurance company won’t offer you a waiver, then you might be able to get a "cancel for any reason" addendum added to your policy
4. What will it cost to add "cancel for any reason" to my policy?
There are often lots of little loopholes in travel insurance policies which they will not pay you for. Adding a "cancel for any reason" addendum to the policy covers you for any unexpected incidents. It could be costly to do, but it could be worth it to add if it’s offered. Shopping around is key.
5. Does the policy require me to pay for things up front and get reimbursed?
Most travel insurance policies require you to file after you have already shelled out money to get reimbursed for it. If this is the case, then you’ll probably want to know what the turnaround time to get reimbursed will be - especially if money is tight.
6. Are all of my travel providers covered?
When you go on a trip, there are multiple different companies that are involved. You will have the airline, possibly a cruise line, rental car, hotel, and tour companies. You will need to find out which companies are covered by your travel insurance to know what should happen if any of those companies that you already paid for goes out of business prior to your trip.
7. When does the policy begin and end?
Not all insurance is created equal. Some might only cover you while you’re actually traveling to and from your destination, while others might cover you for the whole time - even after you reach your final destination. You will want to be covered for as much of your trip as possible.
8. Where is that, in writing?
If you’re told something is covered, make sure you see it in writing. Have the insurance agent point it out to you or write it in if it’s not there. If it’s not in writing, then it never happened
Being sure that you have an enjoyable trip is the most important thing. You don’t want to have to be concerned about what happens if something goes wrong. Plan everything in advance and shop around for the right travel insurance. Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but if you do at least you’ll know what you’re covered for and that you are covered.