By Barbara Pronin, RISMedia Columnist
In the wake of the recent Costa cruise ship disaster, more travelers are reconsidering the value of travel insurance, a unique niche within the insurance arena.
“When spending thousands of dollars on airfare and other trip costs,” noted finance writers at U.S. News and World Report, “some travelers hesitate to spend even more on travel insurance. Part of my job is to help my clients understand what may be at risk.”
Gomez offers seven tips to help travelers make the right decision:
• Insure what you can’t afford to lose – If your total trip cost is a few hundred dollars, you may not need to consider insurance. But if you are splurging on an expensive vacation, travel insurance can protect your investment if the trip is cancelled or interrupted for any reason.
• Age makes a difference – Although you will not need to take a physical exam, as you might with other kinds of insurance, the older you are, the higher premium you will pay.
• There are options – It may be possible to buy travel insurance for trip cancellation or interruption only—as in the case of illness or accident. Other policies may cover medical costs, lost luggage, or other emergencies. Look for a bundled package that will cover all your needs.
• Don’t rely on your health insurance coverage – Many health insurance policies do not cover you overseas. Contact your provider to find out what coverage you have when traveling. Then make an informed decision about what type of travel insurance to consider.
• Compare the costs – Rely on your travel agent’s advice or go to sites like insuremytrip.com to compare travel insurance options. Among the most reliable and trusted providers are Travel Guard, Travel Insured and Access America.
• Don’t look to travel rewards programs – Travel rewards offered through your credit card may offer some baggage insurance, accident insurance or rental car insurance. But it won’t offer cancellation or interruption insurance, which you must buy on your own.
• Timing matters – You don’t have to purchase travel insurance at the time you book your trip. Some companies will let you buy it just days before you travel—or within a set time period after booking. But there are risks. For trip cancellation insurance, for example, you won’t be covered if you buy the insurance after you’ve become ill or a hurricane has foiled your plans.