Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Is Travel Insurance Worth It For Flights

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Consider Getting Your Own Car Rental Insurance

Is travel insurance worth it?

You might not think of car insurance when youre shopping for travel coverage, but if youre planning on driving at your destination, its worth looking into beforehand. Although you will be offered insurance at the rental counter, these policies are usually restrictive and far more expensive than purchasing in advance.

One seriously important thing to note: rental car collision/loss damage insurance policies will never include liability insurance , so keep that in mind when youre assessing your insurance needs.

Where To Buy Travel Insurance

Many tour and cruise companies, travel agents and travel booking websites offer travel insurance to their customers.

A few tips if you decide to buy travel insurance:

  • Buying insurance from the sources of your travel means youre asking the companies to reimburse you if things go wrong, which leaves it up to them to decide if things went wrong. Its not in the financial interests of the airlines, cruise lines and tour operators to give you your money back, but it is in their interest to get you to hand over more money. Skip this one.

  • Travel agents receive a commission for selling you insurance. If you prefer the convenience of one-stop shopping, know what type of coverage you want before you call to ensure youre getting the coverage you need instead of the coverage they want to sell you.

  • Rather than buying from the people selling you the trips, try comparison shopping on third-party insurance sites like SquareMouth or InsureMyTrip.

  • Shopping around for travel insurance could end up saving you hundreds of dollars, allowing you to sit back, relax and enjoy your trip.

    Lisa McGreevy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

    Emergency Medical Care Insurance

    Your primary health insurance including Medicare may not cover treatments and/or medications while out of the country. We strongly recommend that you check with your insurer as to the extent of your coverage before you leave.

    You can always contact the local embassy to locate appropriate medical services in the event of an emergency. However, the State Department will not help cover any of your medical expenses whereas certain travel insurance plans will.

    Emergency medical insurance provides peace of mind in that it is a financial safety net. It will help you pay unexpected medical bills that could potentially add up to hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars.

    Adobe Stock

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    See How Youre Already Covered

    In some cases, your travel concerns may already be covered without the need to purchase insurance.

    Be cognizant of what is covered from the beginning, Keyes noted. I get the sense that people under-account for how much protection they already have without having to buy anything extra. The things people worry about what happens if theres a big delay, if the flight gets canceled, if my bag gets lost generally speaking if those things happen, the airline itself will give you compensation if you reach out and ask. It varies but its not as if anything can happen to you and youre left completely on your own.

    He added that many credit cards also carry some form of travel protection, so the card you used to pay for your flight may cover you or offer some amount of money to buy a new flight or a new bag and clothes if yours was lost.

    Find out the ways youre already protected and then, with that in mind, ask, Is it worth it for me to buy extra? Are there other things Im concerned about? Keyes suggested.

    So Who Needs Travel Insurance

    Is it worth it to get travel insurance?

    In the pandemic, travelers learned they can insure themselves for unforeseeable but relatively routine disasters like getting hurt in a car accident, needing emergency gall bladder surgery or losing a job but not the ones that seemed like a sci-fi scenario two months ago.

    One way to make sure your money is protected is to pay more for refundable airline tickets as long as theyre not worth more than the fees to change them and carefully read the fine print on tour, cruise and hotel cancellation and refund terms, as well as travel insurance policies.

    So many travel insurance policies are set up for consumers to lose, said Ms. Balber of Consumer Watchdog, noting that policies including medical coverage abroad, where your own health insurance may not kick in, may be worthwhile. But the devil is in the details and that is doubly true when it comes to travel insurance.

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    Earn 3x Miles On United Purchases

    Like most airline credit cards, you’ll earn the most bonus miles through United purchases:

    3 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases. 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on select streaming services & on all other travel. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.

    The card seems to cover many of the top spending categories among travelers while offering the standard 1X mile on everything else.

    Unfortunately, the rewards value of miles earned with the United Quest Card doesn’t fare well against most luxury rewards cards currently.

    Average rewards earned per $1 spent

    We estimate an earning rate for the average consumer based on U.S. Bureau of Labor data and multiply that by the value of each cards points or miles.

    Not All Travel Insurance Is The Same

    All travel insurance policies have specific benefits, conditions and exclusions so it’s common sense, imperative, and absolutely necessary to take the time to read the policy wording carefully. These vary depending on your Country of Residence, so please take the time and always contact us if you are unsure about anything.

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    When Is Travel Insurance Not Necessary

    Travel insurance primarily covers two aspects of your trip your reservations and your medical expenses while traveling.

    If all of your reservations can be canceled without penalty, then trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage isnt necessary. But even if your trip isnt 100% refundable, insurance may not be necessary. For example, a cheap flight and hotel stay may not be worth covering, though you may still want to purchase travel insurance for medical situations.

    Medical coverage typically is not necessary if you have a U.S.-based health insurance policy and you’re traveling within the U.S. In those cases, you probably already have adequate coverage for illness or injury.

    If This Is All A Little Too Wishy

    Is travel insurance worth it?

    The answer to that murky unforeseen-foreseen line is cancel for any reason coverage .

    ‘Cancel for any reason’ is a great add-on if you wouldnt want limitations. If you opt for ‘cancel for any reason,’ its important you understand any limits on the actual reimbursement amount,” explained Gainullin. “For example, at battleface, ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ refunds up to 75% of your prepaid trip cost.”

    For context, I also looked into AIG Travel Guard, which has “cancel for any reason” coverage available as an add-on to their higher-tiered plans. The add-on would have cost me just under $35 and would cover up to 50% of the prepaid trip cost.

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    United Quest Card Vs Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

    Verdict: More flexible travel rewards

    If you don’t travel exclusively with United Airlines, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is probably the better option. That’s because it’s one of the most versatile travel rewards credit cards around. You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for almost any type of travel and other options. Plus, points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

    You can also transfer your Chase points at a 1:1 ratio to one of its many airline and hotel partners’ loyalty rewards programs . The card rounds out its perks with several travel and purchase protections.

    How does it compare?

    • Annual fee: $95
    • Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
    • Rewards earned/$1 spent: $0.025
    • Other benefits: Trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, extended warranty protection

    Your Favorite Travel Card May Offer Some Coverage

    If you like the idea of trip insurance but balk at the cost, there’s a neat solution: travel credit cards. Many of the best travel rewards cards offer some sort of trip insurance, with varying degrees of coverage.

    In fact, many premium travel cards — those with $400 and $500 annual fees — have fairly extensive trip insurance coverage. They’ll provide things like trip interruption and cancellation coverage, lost baggage insurance, and even basic emergency medical coverage.

    The main caveat? You’ll need to use your travel card to pay for most, if not all, of the travel expenses you want covered. Of course, since your travel cards are the ones most likely to offer you the highest rewards rates for travel purchases, this shouldn’t be too much of a hardship.

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    Covid And Travel Insurance

    Travel insurance should cover Covid-related expenses as well, Morrow said.

    When it comes to Covid, its treated like any other illness or injury like breaking a leg. As long as you didnt have Covid when you bought your ticket, itll be covered by a regular trip-cancellation plan, Morrow said. If youre traveling on points, a post-departure plan covers medical.

    You also want to consider the potential costs of testing positive in your destination country, which could run into tens of thousands of dollars, according to Baruch Silvermann, personal finance expert and CEO of The Smart Investor.

    Some countries outside the U.S. may not even allow entry if you dont have travel insurance, including non-Covid-related medical insurance, Silvermann says. For example, New Zealand requires all visitors to have medical insurance, while the Bahamas require Covid medical insurance.

    For many of us, travel insurance was considered an optional purchase whenever we booked a trip, Silvermann said. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of travel insurance became more apparent. Many people who opted for basic coverage found themselves getting stung with flight cancellations and other disruptions to their travel plans.

    Types Of Travel Insurance

    Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

    Before we dive into the pros and cons, lets take a look at the most common options that travelers can buy individually or as part of a comprehensive package.

    Emergency Medical Care

    If you get sick or injured while traveling outside the U.S., your health insurance, including Medicare, may not cover any treatment or medication you receive .

    In the event of an emergency, you can contact the local embassy to locate appropriate medical services, but the State Department will not help pay your medical bills.

    Emergency medical insurance provides a safety net to help you pay unexpected medical bills that could add up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

    Delayed or Lost Luggage

    Every traveler worries theyll be parted from their luggage at some point during their trip and end up wearing convenience-store flip flops and their travel companions underpants.

    Luggage insurance wont get your bags back to you any faster, but it will reimburse you for the money you spend buying replacement clothing, toiletries and medication.

    Accidental Death

    Its difficult to think about something tragic happening while traveling, but unexpected things can occur. Accidental death insurance is similar to a life insurance policy and pays out benefits to your designated beneficiary.

    Trip Cancellation or Interruption

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    Travel Insurance Is Worth It

    Travel insurance can pay back prepaid nonrefundable expenses if you cant go and its for a covered reason such as a family member is hospitalized, your employer lays you off, a cruise line, airline, or tour operator goes out of business, and the travel assistance that usually comes with travel insurance can help with lost passports and other issues.

    Unfortunately, many things can happen and as a result, many travel professionals recommend travel insurance for all their customers trips, big or small.

    When Is The Best Time To Buy Travel Insurance

    We suggest you buy a travel insurance plan when you make your first trip payment, like airfare or a cruise. That way you maximize your coverage period in case you need to cancel your trip.

    The financially prudent thing to do is to buy insurance when you have money at risk. If you buy nonrefundable airfare, which most travelers do, your money is at risk right away. For cruises and tours, it may not be an issue until cancellation penalties start to kick in. That could be at six months prior to departure.

    Later on, you can add coverage to the same plan for your hotel, tours and other pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs. Its best to contact us to add coverage as soon as possible after you make new trip payments to be sure you have coverage for your full trip cost.

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    Does Travel Insurance Cover Missing Your Flight

    Most insurance providers wont cover you for delays and missed connections caused by the airline. If you miss your flight and its not the airlines fault, then the airline has no obligation to compensate you. Some insurance providers will cover missed connections if the airline is not obliged to pay compensation.

    Delayed Or Lost Luggage Insurance

    Should you buy travel insurance for your plane ticket?

    Most every traveler worries that theyll be separated from their luggage during their trip. This is a very real concern. I mean, commonwho wants to wear convenience store flip-flops and/or their travel companions underwear?

    Luggage insurance will not reunite you with your luggage any faster. However, it will reimburse you for the costs related to replacement clothing, toiletries, and medication.

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    Thats A Good Question

    Travel insurance is a line of insurance we consistently hear problems about, said Carmen Balber, the executive director of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. Its much less regulated than other lines of insurance and tends to include exclusions for things consumers believe theyre covered for.

    Though the rules vary by state, most standard policies sold in the United States provide pre-departure cancellation and trip interruption for unforeseen problems that are specifically named, including job loss, an illness that prevents you from traveling or cuts a trip short, a death in the family, a missed flight connection that, in turn, leads to a missed cruise departure, and so on.

    But there is a long list of exclusions that render the insurance void, including terrorist attacks, war and claims associated with psychological disorders, or risky adventure sports like skydiving.

    When a threat becomes foreseen for example, once a brewing storm becomes a named hurricane, or a global health threat becomes a named pandemic it is uninsurable, unless you bought the policy before the threat is named.

    But for travelers who canceled in the current Covid-19 crisis, these insurance companies pointed to their list of things that were covered a death in the family, job loss, etc. which did not include pandemics.

    Potential Costs: Time Spent Not Vacationing But Sitting Around An Embassy Or Consulate

    A lost or stolen passport can be a huge hassle when youre traveling not to mention the fears of identity theft and the fact that you cant really go anywhere until you get a replacement. What travel insurance can do:

    Travel assistance that comes with most travel plans can help connect you with the embassy or consulate, and get you a replacement passport fast.

    Nothing beats having a friendly voice on your side whos been through this before.

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    And Around 30 Percent Of People Who Purchase It End Up Using It

    One of my hesitations with buying travel insurance is the belief that “everything will work out fine,” and I’ll never use it. I was surprised when Gainullin shared, “In relation to filing a claim, its roughly 30%,” meaning that 30% of people who buy travel insurance file some sort of claim or use the policy they bought.

    Medical Emergencies And Evacuation

    Is airline insurance worth it? Here

    As mentioned above, if there is one reason to buy travel insurance, this is it.

    Hospital costs in some countries like the US can approach US$10,000 per day, while emergency transport home for treatment can easily exceed US$100,000. Definitely take the time to read this part in detail, especially the areas of cover for emergency evacuation, limits on medical expenses and cover for emergency dental work. Also make careful note of the general exclusions, which are outlined in the description of coverage .

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    Potential Costs: Time Rebooking Fees Lodging And Meals

    Just a simple flight delay can ring up expenses like food and lodging, a change of clothes, and even something as basic as a toothbrush. What travel insurance can do:

    Travel insurance can help reimburse you for these extra expenses including rebooking fees, meals, accommodations, and yes, a toothbrush keeping your travel budget intact.

    Times It Makes Sense To Buy Travel Insurance

    There are some instances where buying travel insurance is definitely worth it.

    1. If your itinerary involves a lot of flights and stopovers, each one is a potential fail point.

    A nonstop flight to an all-inclusive Carribean resort in the springtime is less of an insurance risk than a month-long tour of Europe with 12 destinations during the height of blizzard season.

    2. If youre headed someplace where there is civil or political unrest, travel insurance is a good idea. A lot can happen between the time you make your reservation and when you get where youre going.

    The situation could become more volatile, your accommodation reservations might be canceled or travel to the area could be restricted before you leave. In a worst-case scenario, you may need a non-medical emergency evacuation to take you to safety.

    If youre buying travel insurance under this scenario, be sure to read the fine print to make sure your policy specifically covers war and civil disorder.

    3. Sometimes the best reason to buy travel insurance is if you wont be able to relax on your trip without it. If worrying about something going wrong will overshadow your entire trip and keep you from enjoying yourself, spring for the coverage to ease your mind.

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