ST. PETE BEACH, FL-October 27, 2008-Chris Harvey is the CEO of Squaremouth, America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, and an expert on travel insurance issues. With the Thanksgiving travel season nearing, he shares some basic tips for protecting costly annual vacations.
In this uncertain age of travel, you’d think consumers would be keen to protect costly investments in their vacations. But according to the US Travel Insurance Association, large numbers of Americans still travel completely uninsured, or rely on coverage provided by credit cards and employee benefits – not realizing these sources may offer only partial protection.
Employers, for example, won’t always compensate for lost luggage or aborted trips. Credit card travel insurance might only cover what was bought with the card.
There are some unusual sources of travel-related benefits as well. Homeowners or renters insurance may reimburse part of the value of lost, damaged or stolen property. Some resorts, airlines and hotel associations offer hurricane guarantees. Such a vast range of options for coverage from different sources can be confusing.
At Squaremouth, we’re committed to making sure you fully understand the travel insurance you buy. So this Thanksgiving, consider these basic tips to help you decide which policy fits your family best:
Don’t assume paying more means getting more. There are often huge price spreads between similar policies. This is because competitors try to match each others’ coverage closely, yet they each have a “sweet spot” – a segment of the market to which they’ll offer a really good deal. Comparing policies side by side at squaremouth.com can show you exactly what each policy offers, so you’ll be able to choose options and a price that’s right for you.
Shop smart online. A reputable travel insurance comparison web site won’t present options you aren’t eligible to buy. It won’t pad its site with policies that companies no longer sell. At Squaremouth, we expeditiously remove obsolete products, and we lay out each benefit of each policy you’re eligible to buy within an easily searchable format. You can compare options side-by-side, and sort them by price, benefit or carrier.
Don’t spend more than you need to. If you’re a US resident traveling in the US and you have a company medical plan, you probably won’t need any extra health coverage. You may still want to consider getting trip cancellation or interruption coverage, though, which lets you recoup the cost of backing out of a trip. And you’ll need to confirm how much coverage your spouse and children receive through your work policy, or if third-party insurance is needed to cover them.
Insure a pre-existing illness. Travel insurance covers most emergency and non-routine health issues. But make sure to buy insurance that specifically covers your pre-existing medical condition. Squaremouth clearly shows every policy that allows pre-existing cover and we tell you the date you need to purchase the insurance by to qualify.
Don’t expect insurers to pick up the tab for your loss instantly. They won’t. As is true of any policy, until you’ve been told what that delayed flight, unexpected hospital stay or hurricane-routed hotel has cost you, you can’t claim for the loss.
Know all the coverage you already have. You may be partially covered through your cruise line, airline, charter company, credit card, home insurance or employee benefits policy. Knowing what coverage you already have will speed up the claims process, since you may need to track down refunds from those sources first. With medical policies, you could be asked to pay for treatment and be reimbursed later, or the insurer will cover costs up front.
It’s always a cash claim. If you cancel a trip booked with air miles, you won’t be compensated for the perceived value of those miles (though some policies reimburse the cost of re-banking frequent flier miles). Ditto your time share paid for a decade ago – you can’t recoup the value of those weeks. So don’t add in non-cash items when calculating the amount of insurance to buy. You’ll end up needlessly paying more.
Don’t buy the first policy your travel agent offers. Often, travel agents will represent only one or two insurers, and they collect a commission for every policy sold. Your choice of insurance will be limited. And you could end up paying more than you need to for less than the coverage you require.
Research who the best insurers are. If you are already on your vacation, this isn’t the time to find out you’ll need to haggle with your insurance company when problems arise. Before buying travel insurance, research who the reputable carriers are; the ones who can swiftly mobilize aid in a crisis. Squaremouth shows each carrier’s ‘AM Best rating’, an independent evaluation, and we only deal with insurers rated A- or higher.
Squaremouth’s Help and Advice section offers insider advice to help you choose the right travel insurance. For more, visit Squaremouth.com.
Squaremouth is America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, helping customers instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major carrier. Squaremouth has web sites in the US and UK, and an extensive network of partner sites worldwide. The company is headquartered in St Pete Beach, FL. Visit Squaremouth.com or Squaremouth.co.uk.
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The cornerstone of our commitment to customers is Squaremouth’s guarantee to remove any company from our web site until a complaint is resolved to our satisfaction. Squaremouth offers the broadest selection of insurance with an emphasis on quality and follow-up care in companies featured. We also factor in independent evaluation from the insurance industry watchdog AM Best.
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