A recent article in the Sun Sentinel talks about what travelers should know before purchasing travel insurance.
Understand the two basic types of coverage. The first, trip cancellation coverage will reimburse you for non-refundable costs if you have to cancel your trip, or if it is delayed or interrupted. Ask for written specifics and read them carefully. Are all natural weather events covered? Strikes or terrorist incidents that shut down transportation? Is there a limit on how many days of expenses are covered if you are stranded? Are you covered if you miss your cruise ship or tour departure because a flight that you booked outside the tour package is delayed?
Medical coverage, the second type of coverage, usually is separate from trip cancellation. Senior citizens, or those with serious medical conditions, should consider buying it, especially if traveling overseas, where Medicare does not cover beneficiaries. Ask: Exactly what kind of hospitalization would be covered and how much would be allowed? Does the policy apply to pre-exisiting conditions and is there an age limit for policy holders? Would an emergency medical evacuation be covered and are there limits on how far a patient can be transported?
Travel insurance plans are designed to cover vacations such as cruises, resort stays, tours and other trips where vacation payments are at risk in the event of cancellation. These plans will also cover other types of trips, some even allow for a $0 trip cost, effectively removing trip cancellation coverage. Most travel insurance plans include emergency medical & dental coverage as well as medical evacuation & repatriation in addition to the other travel benefits. These plans can cover international and domestic travel.
International medical insurance is targeted for long term international travelers, typically, volunteers, business travelers, students or family travel. Rarely will these plans offer any trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage. Like travel insurance, there is coverage for emergency medical & dental as well as medical evacuation & repatriation. These do require that the travel be outside of the home country.