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Monday, February 10, 2014

Should you invest in travel insurance

Should you invest in travel insurance
Travel insurance is something that most people need, but don’t want to talk about. Generally, having travel insurance is an excellent to help cover the exorbitant medical costs lest one gets sick or injured during a holiday, get compensation for lost or stolen bags as well as airline delays. However, travel insurance as a whole is full of exclusions and non inclusions. As a result, it has been termed as a losing proposition by the few who do end up purchasing it.

The concepts of travel insurance

Travel insurance refers to a short term insurance policy where the insurance company promises to pay the insurance holder with certain travel related expenses in exchange for a pre-decided fee. However, travel insurance is a bit different than the general forms of cashless insurance. The travellers need to pay the smaller expenses out of their pockets and get reimbursed for the same after their trips. However, when it comes to larger costs such as medical expenses, the insurance generally offers cashless facilities to the insurance holder. There are two types of travel insurance – international insurance and domestic insurance. International insurance is a lot more expensive as it covers medical expenses as well.

Is insurance a waste of money or a sound investment?

The true determinant of travel insurance is whether the insurance holder needs it or not. For example, certain countries mandate having a travel insurance in order to apply for VISAs. In such cases, it is wise to look at travel insurance as a fixed travel cost and simply move on. There are other cases where the travellers themselves prefer to have travel insurance to save themselves from the exorbitant medical costs lest something happens. The actual answer to the usefulness of travel insurance depends on how much a traveller is willing to pay for peace of mind. Some travellers who are likely to consider travel insurance as an extremely sound investment include senior citizens travelling to far away lands, travellers embarking on extremely expensive vacations, travellers visiting remote locations or travellers about to make trips such as jungle river rafting, skiing, sports adventures, etc. that involve a higher risk than usual. Today, the concepts of having travel insurance have become quite popular due to the fact that people prefer to be secure rather than live in uncertainty nowadays.

How does the concept of travel insurance work?

The travel insurance provider usually collects about 3% - 4% of the total coverage as premium. For example, a coverage of $1400 for a one week excursion generally costs about %50. These policies help travellers to recoup a portion of their investments if the journey gets cancelled for certain defined reasons, fly them back home if there is a death or illness back home, covers medical care costs and even helps with helicopter evacuations (if required) in the foreign country and helps reimburse towards losses due to lost luggage or flight delays. However, the exact inclusions differ from company to company and there are a number of programs that only offer medical coverage as well.

Things to consider before you buy travel insurance

- The first and foremost thing to consider is whether you need to be insured for the upcoming trip. You need to weigh your investment against the peace of mind that you would have by getting travel insurance and decide for yourself if it is worth the extra costs.
- Secondly, you need to consider if you need medical coverage. You need to determine how much you would have to pay from your pockets if you fall sick or got injured while travelling.
- Thirdly, you need to determine if your credit card offers protection from any losses. For example, American Express offers its travellers with protection if the trip costs have been charged to the card.
- Finally, you need to make sure that you read the fine print properly and understand the “exclusions” before investing in a travel insurance. It is also important to understand how to contact the insurance company in times of emergencies.

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