What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for a traveler’s main concerns, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Most policies are built to be comprehensive to protect travelers from a variety of events that may cause a financial loss before or during their trip.
When Travel Insurance Covers a Canceled Trip
For many travelers, the number one reason to buy travel insurance is for financial protection in case they can’t take their trip. With Trip Cancellation coverage, you can protect all of your prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses.
Trip Cancellation can refund 100% of your trip expenses if you cancel your trip before leaving for a reason covered by your policy. The most common covered reasons include:
- Illness, injury, or death of you, a traveling companion or a family member
- Severe weather preventing you from reaching your destination
- A terrorist attack at your destination
In order to buy a policy with Trip Cancellation coverage, you must insure some or all of your trip expenses. In addition, all Trip Cancellation policies come with a similar benefit: Trip Interruption.
Trip Interruption reimburses unused trip expenses, however coverage begins the day you leave for your trip. Many policies with Trip Interruption also cover the costs of additional transportation incurred if you need to return home early.
While Trip Cancellation covers traveler’s most common concerns, it doesn’t cover everything. If you are concerned the Trip Cancellation benefit doesn’t have enough coverage, the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade may be a good option for you. This benefit offers a partial refund of your expenses, typically 75%, if you cancel a trip for a reason not listed under Trip Cancellation. However it requires you to insure your full trip cost, and is only available for 14-30 days after you book your trip. The Cancel for Any Reason benefit will increase your premium by about 40-50%.
When Travel Insurance Covers a Medical Emergency
If you get sick or injured while traveling abroad, most domestic health insurance plans, including Medicare, likely won’t extend coverage overseas. However, medical and medical evacuation benefits are built into most travel insurance policies, and can cover you in multiple countries while you’re traveling.
There are two main travel medical insurance benefits: Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation.
Emergency Medical coverage can reimburse you for the costs associated with medical treatment for an illness or injury during your trip. This can include coverage for physician services, ambulance services, and hospital charges, among other expenses.
Medical Evacuation is included alongside Emergency Medical coverage. This benefit can arrange for your transportation to the nearest hospital in the event of a medical emergency, and can bring you home if the hospital determines it’s necessary in your situation.
When Travel Insurance Covers a Travel Delay
Travel insurance covers more than cancellations and medical emergencies; it can also help you if your flight is delayed or you miss your connecting flight.
The Travel Delay benefit is available to help if your flight is delayed for a reason outside of your control, such as inclement weather or a mechanical breakdown of your plane. Travel insurance can refund your meals and hotel accommodations during your delay.
Missed Connection is for travelers who are delayed, and incur additional costs to catch up to their trip. This benefit can help you if you missed your departure for a reason covered by your policy, such as severe weather, a mechanical breakdown, or an accident on your way to the airport.
When Travel Insurance Covers Lost or Delayed Luggage
The travel insurance coverage for your personal items can include lost or damaged items, or delayed luggage.
If your luggage is delayed, you can be refunded up to the policy’s benefit limit, to purchase clothes and other essentials after 12-24 hours. This benefit won’t refund the cost of the actual items that are delayed, however, if your luggage is permanently lost or damaged, you can be reimbursed to replace the lost items.
Coverage for lost or damaged luggage is limited to a per item maximum, typically ranging from $250-$500. If you travel with expensive items, Squaremouth recommends insuring them on your homeowner’s insurance policy.