Travel Insurance

Most of us going on long-haul journeys to exotic locations realize that it is prudent practice to take out some form of travel insurance. But with such wide and varied products available today, what can you expect from your travel insurance?

Buying Travel Insurance
The first thing to note is that regardless of how many names they may go under, all travel insurance policies breakdown into one of three product categories, namely:

  • bundled travel insurance policies
  • custom travel insurance policies; and
  • flexible travel insurance policies

As you might be able to imagine, each of these also has a difference in cost. Finding cheap travel insurance requires a bit of shopping and determining your exact needs.

Bundled Travel Insurance
Bundled travel insurance is the type of insurance policy that most insurance salesmen try to sell you. The premium for this type of insurance typical costs between 6-8% of the vacation price; and the insurance policy generally covers such unexpected events as:

  • medical expenses - usual maximum liability is $10,000
  • emergency evacuation - under a bundles policy there is usually a maximum liability of $25,000 for any emergency evacuation policy
  • accidental death insurance
  • trip cancellation or trip interruption - which can include such precautions as trip cancellations due to your being laid-off
  • baggage claim loss - which may also include emergency monetary assistance provision; and in the event that you want to take out a bundled travel insurance policy, you are usually required to do this a week to 10 days after you have purchased the trip in question.

Custom Travel Insurance
Similar in nature to bundled travel insurance, Custom travel insurance however allows you to customize your travel insurance to cater for your exact travel needs. In effect this means that if you are off to hike the Inca Trail, surf in Costa Rica, or dive in the Caribbean you can increase your medical expenses and evacuation coverage for such a specialized trip. In most cases custom travel insurance allows policyholders to double the limits that are usually found in bundled policies.

Flexible Travel Insurance
Flexible travel insurance is a hybrid policy that is becoming increasingly popular. In effect a flexible travel insurance policy allows you to pick and chose parts of a bundled travel insurance that you want, and to discard parts that you don't want. The premium of the insurance policy is then set according to your needs. The reason why flexible travel insurance policies are becoming increasingly popular is because travelers are becoming more aware of the fact that they may be covered for certain circumstance under other pre-existing policies they already hold. For example, if a traveler already has health insurance, which covers any emergency health needs they may have when traveling they are unlike going to need this; as such, the elect to discard this part in their flexible policy.

...And Finally
Regardless of which insurance policy you decide to take out, give very careful consideration to what you think your needs are going to be during your holiday. Whilst none of us plans for unforeseen events whilst we are away from home, the old adage of "it's better to be safe than sorry" has a rind of truth about it!

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