For many Americans planning a summer trip after the coronavirus has spoiled the holiday season for the past two years, a major financial question still remains: Should I buy travel insurance?
Consider a family of four living in Cleveland, Ohio, that has to fly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, toDestined for the Caribbean. Without cruise insurance, if their trip is delayed or canceled and causes their ship to go missing, they will usually be on the hook for the cost of the trip and other paid activities.
“They won’t hold the boat for you, so getting insurance for the cost of the cruise will be good for her. Without that, you’d be out of pocket,” said Scott Keys, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. A website for flight deals, according to CBS MoneyWatch.
Insurance can certainly relieve stress by providing an assurance that the family or individual will not be in financial trouble if their trip is interrupted for a variety of reasons.
“For a lot of people, money is well spent if it’s going to give you a happy vacation,” Keys said. “At the end of the day, vacations are supposed to take away your worries.”
For international travel, the financial risks can be particularly high.
“I can’t think of an overseas trip that I wouldn’t recommend, because there’s a high potential for something to go wrong,” said Michael Gusti, an analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com.
“I used to think it was a waste”
Relaxation of epidemiological restrictions, including the cancellation of a requirement for travelersTo return to the United States also increases the demand for international travel, which is often costly and can require complex arrangements. After lingering concerns about It also makes traveling abroad risky financially for individuals who do not have coverage.
Even seasoned travelers who have bypassed flight insurance now say the equation is different.
“I used to think it was a waste and a bit of a scam and no one had ever used it,” said Kathleen Bangs, an aviation expert at flight-tracking website Flight Aware. “Now if the family is going to Disney World or Europe, I recommend it.”
One reason may be insurance wise this summer – the exorbitant cost of airfare. SweetenedSince January alone, according to data from Adobe. Air ticket prices have also increased by 30% compared to May 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, airline staff shortages, reduced carrier capacity, and COVID-19 infections among airline workers have resulted in flight cancellations and delays, raising the risk of travel disruptions.
Don’t just check the box
Before you sign up for any type of travel insurance, find out what it covers. Experts advise against signing up for flight protection plans offered as add-ons at check-out on airline and bundler websites.
“Don’t just press ‘Yes’ for insurance when you purchase your flight,” Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights said. “Usually because it’s right there and comfortable, it won’t be sturdy or cover you for a lot of things, and you don’t always know who to buy it from.”
These types of policies can be narrow and only cover flights that have been canceled due to an unexpected illness or injury that prevents the covered individual from traveling.
Find out what’s already covered
Find out what your current health and car insurance covers before purchasing additional coverage. And remember that under US federal law, consumers are entitled to a full refund of ticket costs in the event of a flight cancellation or significant delay.
Also look for the protections your credit card might offer. Generally, credit card issuers will require you to pay for your flight or hotel with their card to be eligible for compensation if your flight falters.
“Many cards automatically provide a certain amount of protection while traveling. Specific provisions range from reimbursing a hotel, taxis, food or clothing if a flight is delayed and you lose contact,” Keys said. “You don’t want to pay for things you’re already insured.”
Do your research before purchasing travel insurance. Websites including World Nomads, InsureMyTrip, Square Mouth, and Battle Face are trusted by experts and allow you to compare plans and coverage, as well as select add-ons like “cancel for any reason” insurance.
How much should you spend?
The more covered by your travel insurance policy, the higher the cost. Trip coverage policies typically cost 3% to 8% of the cost of the flight. “Cancel for any reason” insurance usually costs more.
Experts say that for extra peace of mind, add a buffer the day before, say, you’re scheduled to leave for a cruise.
said Zach Grieve, a travel expert at The Points Guy, a site that helps consumers top up their credit cards and airline rewards. “Cancellation of insurance for any reason can get really expensive, so these are ways to reduce that cost.”
Do I need medical insurance too?
Before you travel, find out if you’re covered for out-of-state or out-of-state medical expenses under your current health plan. If you get generous out-of-network benefits, you may be covered adequately. Additional medical insurance may be useful if you fall ill or have an accident while traveling.
“It’s something to think about. It can help you, depending on how good your current health insurance is,” said Giusti of InsuranceQuotes.
“Some people think they can go to a foreign country with their health insurance card and get coverage, but that’s not always the case,” said FlightAware’s Bangs. “Talk to your healthcare company and understand what your coverage is if you travel abroad.”
Without health travel insurance, the International Association of Medical Assistance Travelers (IAMAT) warns that “you may be liable for the full cost of all expenses related to an unforeseen event, accident or medical emergency abroad.”
Medjet Assist, a medical evacuation insurance company, will take you to a hospital of your choice in your home country for as little as $99 for a short-haul flight.
“You urgently need to get medical evacuation insurance,” said Peter Greenberg, travel editor at CBS News. “If you become ill or injured outside the United States, it is beneficial for you to be medically stabilized wherever you are, and to be sent home to a medical facility and physician of your choice.”