Coverages that travel insurance plans offer

Travel insurance plans offer many different coverages. Listed below are some of the common ones that are available.

Cancellation and Interruption

Trip cancellation

  • Description: Provides reimbursement for non-refundable trip payments and deposits if a trip is canceled for illness, death or other specific unforeseen events. The description of coverage (“DOC”) will note which events are covered and the maximum amount payable.
  • Comments: Note one of the key words is “unforeseen”. The reason you are canceling must have been unknown when the policy was taken out. The DOC will provide a list of the covered reasons. In order to receive reimbursement, the reason you are canceling MUST be one of the covered reasons in the DOC. In addition, you must be able to show proof of your reason (e.g. a doctor’s statement for cancel due to sickness).

Cancel for any reason

  • Description: Provides reimbursement for non-refundable trip payments and deposits if a trip is canceled for any reason.
  • Comments: Some package plans might provide this as an optional upgrade and some plans will not cover this at all. The maximum amount payable, under this coverage, might be limited to a percentage (e.g. 50%) of the forfeited payments and deposits. So read the DOC carefully.

Cancel for work reasons

  • Description: Provides reimbursement for non-refundable trip payments and deposits if a trip is canceled because the traveler was required to work. The DOC will provide specifics.
  • Comments: Proof of the requirement to work will probably be required which could include providing a notarized statement.

Trip interruption

  • Description: Provides reimbursement for non-refundable trip payments and deposits if a trip is interrupted for illness, death or other specific unforeseen events. The DOC will note which events are covered and the maximum amount payable.
  • Comments: The maximum amount payable will probably be based on the original trip cost and might be more than 100% of it.

Trip interruption – return air only

  • Description: Reimburses the additional airline transportation expenses, up to the policy limit, incurred by you to reach the return destination.
  • Comments: Normally, this cannot be combined with Trip Interruption coverage. It’s either one or the other. If your original trip cost was fairly low, this coverage might provide a better benefit.

Some specific events that allow the trip cancellation or trip interruption to kick in are:

Terrorism

  • Description: Can provide coverage in the event of a terrorist incident.
  • Comments: Terrorist incident will be defined in the DOC. For example, Travel Guard covers “a Terrorist Incident in a City listed on the Insured’s itinerary within 30 days of the Insured’s scheduled arrival.” Travel Guard goes on, in the DOC, to indicate – “Terrorist Incident means an act of violence, that is deemed terrorism by the United States Government other than civil disorder or riot (that is not an act of war, declared or undeclared) that results in loss of life or major damage to property, by any person acting on behalf of or in connection with any organization which is generally recognized as having the intent to overthrow or influence the control of any government.” Before canceling because you believe a terrorist incident took place, contact the insurance company and find out if you are covered for the incident.

Financial default

  • Description: Can provide coverage if the travel supplier (such as the airline, cruise line or tour operator) has a total cessation of operations whether or not bankruptcy is filed.
  • Comments: Sometimes, this coverage will only kick in if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the initial trip payment or deposit.

Employment layoff

  • Description: Can provide coverage if the insured (or maybe even a traveling companion) is involuntarily terminated or laid off through no fault of their own.
  • Comments: There might be conditions such as person was an active employee for the same employer for at least one year. If a person is terminated for “cause”, this provision probably will not kick in.

Hurricane & weather

  • Description: Can provide coverage if covered weather conditions cause a delay or cancellation of travel.
  • Comments: Several key points – 1) make sure your reason for canceling is a covered reason (you might have to contact the insurance company and ask if a certain weather condition that is taking place is covered) 2) you must buy the policy before the storm is named 3) insure for the full trip cost and 4) buy within a certain period of time after the initial trip payment. Travel Guard defines “inclement weather” as any severe weather condition, other than a hurricane, which delays the scheduled arrival or departure of a Common Carrier or prevents the Insured from reaching his/her Destination when traveling by an Owned or Rented Vehicle.

Unannounced strike

  • Description: Can provide coverage if an unannounced strike results in a complete cessation of travel services at the point of departure or destination.

Medical

Emergency medical & dental

  • Description: Provides payment for the cost of emergency medical or dental treatment while the insured is traveling.
  • Comments: For coverage to kick in, the sickness or injury usually has to begin on the trip while the insured is covered. Coverage can include the services of a physician, local ambulance services to/from the hospital, charges for hospitalization, drugs, other services and supplies. Some insurance companies will provide advance payment to the service provider (e.g. the hospital) if required. Cost is based on the length of the trip, the age of the insured, the limits and the type of coverage (primary or secondary).
    Coverage will either be primary (meaning the insurance pays before any other coverage) or secondary (meaning the insurance only pays after other insurance has been filed and paid).

Pre-existing condition

  • Description: A pre-existing condition is an illness or medical condition that existed before a policy’s effective date – usually excluded from coverage.
  • Comments: Some travel insurance companies will waive the pre-existing condition clause if you follow certain rules such as 1) purchase the plan within a certain number of days (defined by the company) after the initial trip deposit 2) insure for the full cost 3) be medically cleared for travel at the time of purchase 4) cover the full trip duration.

Medical deductible

  • Description: This section will indicate if there is a deductible for any of the medical expenses. Many policies will have no deductible required which is a nice feature.

Evacuation

Medical evacuation & repatriation

  • Description: Emergency evacuation arranges to medically transport a patient to an appropriate medical facility. Emergency evacuation means 1) transporting the insured from the place where they are sick or injured to the nearest hospital, or medical facility, where appropriate medical treatment can be obtained 2) after being treated at a local hospital or medical facility, the insured’s medical condition warrants being transported home to obtain further medical treatment or recover OR 3) both 1) and 2) above. Transportation includes any Common Carrier, or other land, water or air conveyance, required for an Emergency Evacuation and includes air ambulances, land ambulances and private motor vehicles.
    Repatriation of remains arranges for the insured’s body to be returned home if they die during the covered trip.
  • Comments: Some plans will transport the insured to a medical facility of their choice and some will transport to the medical facility of your choice or to your home. Sometimes, to your choice or to your home is an optional upgrade when the plan is purchased within a certain number of days. Verify this prior to purchasing the policy. Evacuation can be very important if you are in an isolated area (hiking, river rafting, etc.) and become injured. If you don’t have it, do you have the funds to pay for transportation to a medical facility or home if unable to travel on a common carrier?

Non-medical evacuation

  • Description: Arranges transportation from a place of danger to a place of safety during a time of civil or political unrest.
  • Comments: This is probably not included in the base package; however, it may be available as a package upgrade for an additional fee.

Loss or Delay

Travel delay

  • Description: Provides reimbursement for meals and accommodations when a trip is unexpectedly delayed – usually 3 to 6 hours (DOC will be specific on this). Limits will be per person and/or per day. Reasons for delay are specified in the DOC.

Missed connection

  • Description: Provides reimbursement in the event of a missed flight connection or for the additional costs to “catch up” to a cruise if the cause of delay is an accident or bad weather.

Baggage & personal items lost

  • Description: Provides reimbursement for lost, stolen or damaged baggage or personal items – usually for the entire trip. There will probably be a policy limit or a per person limit. In addition, there might be certain “per item” limits.

Baggage delay

  • Description: Provides reimbursement for clothing, toiletries and other essential items if baggage is delayed for a specified period of time – usually 12 or 24 hours.

Other

Life insurance – accidental death

  • Description: Provides cash payment for accidental loss of life or limb while traveling.
  • Comments: Only a few companies offer coverage for the entire trip.

Life insurance – air flight accident AD&D

  • Description: Provides coverage only for the flight portion of the insured’s trip.
  • Comments: This is optional on some plans.

24 hour assistance service

  • Description: This provides for a 24 hour hotline to assist the insured with a number of specific travel services. Services can include medical assistance, message services, language interpretation services, concierge type services such as dining reservations.

Rental car damage

  • Description: Collision loss/damage insurance for rental cars covers the costs of damage to, or theft of, a rental car. Does not cover liability.

Money back guarantee

  • Description: This provision provides a “free look” period (usually about 10 to 14 days). The traveler has a certain period of time to review the policy and cancel if they wish. The DOC will identify the period of time.

Identity theft

  • Description: Provides support to victims of identity theft. Support can include contacting the credit reporting agencies, creditors and providing information to assist in recovering and restoring the insured’s credit.

Hazardous sports

  • Description: Some hazardous sports, such as motorcycle riding, motor scooter riding, mountaineering, hang gliding, parachuting, bungee jumping, caving and heli-skiing, might not be covered without a special Hazardous Sports coverage provision. Check with the insurance company prior to purchasing if this applies.