ST. PETERSBURG, FL December 5, 2012 – Choosing the best travel insurance policy can be a challenge for travelers who are unsure about their coverage needs. Because there are so many different benefits and options available, it is important that travelers understand a policy and its exclusions before making a purchase. The travel insurance experts at Squaremouth, America’s fastest-growing travel insurance comparison site, have provided the following cheat sheet to help guide travelers to policies best for them.
A Travel Insurance Cheat Sheet
1. Know how much emergency medical coverage is enough
For travelers who already have health insurance and are traveling domestically, emergency medical coverage may not be a priority. However, most health insurance companies provide limited to no coverage outside of the country, so international travelers should consider the emergency medical benefits of a policy. Recommended coverage depends largely on travelers and their destinations, but Squaremouth typically suggests carrying at least $50,000-$100,000 in protection.
2. Determine coverage needs for pre-existing medical conditions
Pre-existing medical conditions are determined by a “look-back period.” This window will vary with different policies, but is usually defined as the 60-180 day period prior to purchase. Any condition that develops, changes, or requires treatment during the “look-back period” is likely to be considered pre-existing. In order to have coverage for medical issues related to pre-existing conditions, travelers must purchase a policy with this benefit. The availability of pre-existing condition coverage is time sensitive, so travelers should purchase within 14-30 days of their initial trip deposit in order to be eligible. However, pre-existing condition coverage may be available through some providers if it is purchased before a traveler makes their final trip payment.
3. Baggage and personal items loss coverage may be limited
For those wishing to insure valuables, the baggage and personal items loss benefit in many travel insurance policies may be adequate. However, travelers should review maximums to make sure a policy offers enough coverage for their needs. “Travelers should understand that there are usually smaller, ‘specific item’ and ‘per item’ maximums within the overall maximum for baggage and personal items loss,” says Squaremouth’s CEO, Chris Harvey. “It’s a good idea to schedule particularly valuable items with homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies because these often provide more coverage.”
4. Understand which expenses are considered “trip costs”
In order to have trip cancellation coverage, travelers will need to provide a total for prepaid, non-refundable trip costs. Trip costs may include airfare, cruises, accommodations, tours or other costs that may be forfeited upon cancellation. In most cases, it is not necessary to insure 100% of trip costs, but it may be required for some benefits, such as “cancel for any reason” and pre-existing condition coverage. If a traveler needs to increase trip costs after purchasing a policy, premium can be easily adjusted by contacting a Squaremouth representative, as long as it is done before coverage begins.
5. Emergency medical evacuation coverage
Some travelers may want to ensure that emergency medical evacuation benefits will cover transportation expenses to a hospital of their choice or a treatment facility near their home. Many policies will only cover costs associated with transporting a traveler to the nearest adequate treatment facility, so if the “hospital of choice” benefit is desired, travelers should review a policy’s emergency medical evacuation guidelines before purchase.
6. Understand the difference between “trip cancellation” and “cancel for any reason” benefits
Travelers will often purchase unnecessary “cancel for any reason” coverage, an expensive benefit that allows them to claim cancellation without providing a reason. However, the covered events listed under a policy’s “trip cancellation” coverage may be sufficient. Cancellation concerns, such as sickness or injury of a traveler or family member, are typically covered under “trip cancellation” benefits, so travelers should make sure they really need “cancel for any reason” coverage before spending unnecessary money on it.
7. Purchase early
“The best tip we have for travel insurance purchases is to buy early,” says Harvey. “This is our single most important piece of advice because many benefits are time-sensitive.” In order to ensure that such benefits are available, including financial default, hurricane and weather, and “cancel for any reason,” it is crucial for travelers to purchase a policy as close to the date of their initial trip deposit as possible.
Purchasing a travel insurance policy doesn’t have to be a headache. Squaremouth’s travel insurance cheat sheet is a helpful way to avoid the most common causes of confusion. “We want travelers to contact us if they are unclear about anything before making a purchase,” urges Harvey. “Our representatives are expertly trained and are delighted to assist with any questions.” Squaremouth customer service representatives are available Monday-Friday, from 9am-9pm EST, at 1-800-240-0369.
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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