What Does a Good Travel Insurance Policy Cover?

Before you hastily click, 'no travel insurance,' on your travel itineraries, you may want to give it another thought. It's instinctual to say no, but you may want to consider the protection especially if you have a particularly active or long trip ahead of you. If you're traveling with your family, you have a dozen more reasons to get travel insurance. You don't want to tempt fate or jinx yourself, but if you just so happen to need a life flight from the hike you were planning, you'll be glad you spent a few more dollars to insure you don't get a whopping medical bill to take home with the rest of your souvenirs.

Travel Insurance isn't just for pessimists; it's for people who aren't willing to gamble with the real possibility that the safety nets we spend so much to provide ourselves with in the states won't be available to us overseas. If you do decide to opt for travel insurance, make sure you look into what it will cover. Not all travel insurance packages are created equally, and if it's being sold in a vending machine at the airport, you may want to be a little cautious. Instead, plan ahead and do your homework. You don't want to pay for coverage you already have, and you want to make sure you do have what you'll need for your specific trip. Here are some basics you'll want to consider and make sure that you know how your travel insurance company is providing coverage.

Medical Coverage

Crossie's Crash

Before you decide on travel insurance medical coverage:

Ask your current health insurance provider whether or not they will cover your medical care when you're out of the country. National health serves and Medicare among other companies do no cover health insurance if you are out of the country. Even if your insurance company claims that you will have care no matter where you are, as is the case with companies such as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Program, you should still check on the limitations of that promise. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield will cover your care if the place you are visiting has an affiliate hospital. While they have many affiliates worldwide, you should make sure they have places near your intended destination. You should also be aware that when traveling overseas if you do go to a non-affiliate hospital, your insurance company will probably deny your claim.

Once you've decided you need travel insurance for medical coverage:

An air lift out of a foreign country without medical coverage will cost you more than $50000, so if your regular medical coverage won't cover you out of the country, it's probably a good idea to get travel insurance. Find out whether your travel insurance company offers travel insurance coverage for a set annual fee or on a trip-by-trip basis. Find out the rate of cost. Some insurance companies sell coverage by flat rate and others offer coverage based on a percentage of the trip's cost. According to travel agent Damian Tysdal, "you can get a good travel medical plan for $2 to $4 per day." Good travel insurance will cover preexisting medical conditions. It will also cover a flight home in the event that your trip gets cut short by a medical trauma.

Cancellation Coverage

A good travel insurance offers protection for trip cancellation. If your trip is cancelled for any reason at all, good travel insurance will help you to get your money back. Especially if you book expensive reservations in advance, cancellation coverage makes a lot of sense. Every travel insurance company has a different set of criteria for covering trip cancellations.

The average travel insurance company covers trip cancellation based on:

  • sickness
  • injury
  • weather and disaster
  • traffic accident on the way to the airport
  • host death
  • burglary
  • job loss

The great travel insurance companies cover trip cancellation based on everything above plus:

  • bankruptcy
  • pregnancy
  • the attendance of a childbirth
  • the delay of a trip

Lost Luggage and Valuables

Luggage

Most people assume that an airline will reimburse them if their baggage is lost or damaged in flight, but airlines have their limitations when it comes to covering luggage. They have a list of items they won't cover even if they are at fault for the loss. They also depreciate the value of your items in the luggage, and then it can take more than a month to see the reimbursement.

The below-average lost baggage/valuable coverage offers:

  • a policy limit of around $250
  • deductibles
  • per-item limits

The best baggage / valuable coverage offers:

  • a policy limit between $1,000-$3000
  • no deductible
  • no per-item limit

Before you turn your nose up at travel insurance, make sure you do your homework. You could save yourself a lot of money if unexpected glitches come your way. You can hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Travel insurance has a wide range of cost and coverage, though, so make sure that you get the coverage you need from the best travel insurance companies out there.

Amy Thomson is a blogger for Monkey.co.uk, a leading UK car insurance comparison site where you can find several options to choose from. Follow her on Twitter @VroomVroomAmy.