ST. PETERSBURG, FL January, 3, 2013 – Travelers often choose to protect their vacation dollars with travel insurance in case an unexpected event interferes with travel plans. Unfortunately, there is one momentous mistake frequently made when buying policies. According to travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth, waiting too long to purchase a policy after making an initial trip deposit can cause many valuable and sought-after benefits to become unavailable.
Squaremouth has released the following tip sheet to help travelers prepare their 2013 vacation plans. Travelers who find themselves in these common scenarios often wish they had purchased their policies months earlier.
1. There’s a hurricane
Although 2012 didn’t see an unusually active hurricane season, several named storms wreaked havoc on the travel plans of many. Travel insurance policies often include cancellation and interruption coverage for hurricanes, but only if a policy is purchased before the naming of a storm. “It can be disappointing when a traveler buys a policy just after a tropical storm is named and discovers that hurricane and weather benefits have been voided,” says Chris Harvey, Squaremouth’s CEO. “It is imperative that policies are purchased while a hurricane remains unforeseen.” As soon as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration names a storm, the available hurricane benefits are rescinded for subsequently purchased policies.
2. A common carrier goes on strike
When a common carrier goes on strike, travel insurance benefits may cover associated losses, but only on policies purchased before talks of a strike are made public. Over the summer, travelers across the country anxiously awaited negotiations to curtail the potential strike of United Airlines pilots. When employees of a common carrier strike, it can mean disaster for scheduled travel, causing unexpected delay and cancellation expenses; however, policies purchased early enough may protect travelers from such losses.
3. A travel supplier becomes bankrupt
In light of the shaky economic climate, the potential bankruptcy or financial default of travel providers is a factor that travelers must consider. In October, the sudden bankruptcy of Club ABC, a private travel club, left many travelers with significant losses and no recourse. “Financial default” benefits are included in many travel insurance policies, but will only cover losses if policies are purchased before indication of a supplier’s insolvency becomes public.
4. Vacation time is revoked
It is disheartening when the need to work during scheduled time off arises, and nonrefundable trip costs can leave would-be travelers with significant losses. Fortunately, a “cancel for work reasons” benefit is included in the trip cancellation coverage of many policies – but the benefit may be time-sensitive. Some policies require plans to be purchased within 15-30 days of initial trip deposit in order for the benefit to take effect. Reimbursement for associated losses would not be available for policies purchased after revocation of vacation time.
5. Coverage is needed for pre-existing conditions
According to Harvey, emergency medical coverage for pre-existing conditions is the number one reason to purchase policies early. “Many policies have pre-existing condition coverage available,” says Harvey. “But often, travelers don’t realize that this coverage is only available if benefits are purchased within 14-30 days of an initial trip deposit.” For emergency medical care that is needed due to a pre-existing condition, purchasing a policy early can mean saving tens of thousands of dollars. “Out of all the reasons we advise travelers to make early policy purchases, pre-ex coverage has the most potential value, by far,” adds Harvey.
There is usually no difference in premium between policies purchased the same day as initial trip deposit and policies bought the day before scheduled departure. However, when factoring in availability of the time-sensitive benefits described above, the differences in policy value can be substantial.
Squaremouth is America’s fastest-growing travel insurance comparison site, providing the tools to instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major provider. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, with offices in Fort Wayne, IN. For more information on Squaremouth or its extensive network of partner sites worldwide, visit www.squaremouth.com.
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