There are many misconceptions about the need for travel insurance, but savvy, sophisticated
Americans are fast becoming aware of its value.
Per Trip Policies
By far the most popular policies are comprehensive per trip package policies that include trip cancellation, interruption, travel delays, lost or delayed baggage, medical expenses and medical evacuation. In addition, many insurance companies offer a 24-hour hotline assistance number for various problems while traveling, e.g. a lost passport.
How much will a Per Trip Policy Cost?
In general, you can expect a policy will cost a minimum of 4% of your total pre-paid, non-refundable trip cost. For example, if you purchased a trip with a total cost of $5,000, a travel policy will likely begin at about $250, depending on variables such as the age of the traveler(s), the length of the trip, the cost of the trip, the type of coverage and the destination.
A basic, no-frills comprehensive policy, for example, will cost less than one that includes a “Cancel for any Reason” benefit.
What is a Pre-Existing Conditions Waiver?
A pre-existing conditions waiver can be purchased as part of some travel per trip plans. If you file a travel insurance claim due to an illness, the insurance company usually retains the right to look back through your medical records to determine if your illness resulted from a known pre-existing condition. This is generally for a period from 60-180 days prior to the day you buy the policy.
In order to be eligible for the waiver, most companies require that you buy your travel insurance policy with 10-14 days of making your initial trip deposit. In addition, you must be medically able to travel on the day that your travel insurance takes effect
This was especially good news for me after I was treated for an aggressive cancer fifteen years ago, and it is an important provision for travelers who have chronic, but well-managed medical conditions.
Review Your Existing Travel Coverage
When reviewing any existing travel coverage provided by your credit cards or other insurance policies such as health, homeowners, and car rental you may be surprised at how few circumstances are actually covered.
“It has been an eye-opener to many that Medicare almost never covers health care or medical evacuation in a foreign country. And medical evacuation in a Lear jet can cost well over $50,000,” says Jim Grace, President of InsureMyTrip, the world’s leading internet travel insurance agency (www.insuremytrip.com). Their website compares about 30 different providers.
I highly recommend you talk to one of InsureMyTrip’s knowledgeable representatives at 800-487-4722. They can help you find a policy that meets your specific needs.
Annual Medical Evacuation Program for Frequent Travelers
If you travel frequently, in addition to per-trip travel insurance policies, an annual air-medical evacuation program such as MedjetAssist is an important consideration. While not a health insurance plan, it arranges medical flight and medical repatriation services for its members, both worldwide and domestically.
Most forms of travel insurance will stop short of getting you where you want to go.
“If a MedJetAssist member is hospitalized more than 150 miles from home and meets transportation criteria, Medjet will arrange transportation to the hospital of the member’s choice within their home country,” says Roy Berger, President of MedjetAssist. “If you are hospitalized as an inpatient and meet inpatient criteria on the other side, your condition does not have to be critical or life-threatening .”
Recently, I discovered that MedjetAssist’s program will also arrange and pay for the transfer of my mortal remains home if I die while traveling. As I travel independently an average of four months each year, this was a welcome feature because many funeral homes would charge about $500 for such a plan.
For more information, go to: www.medjetassist.com or call 1-800-527-7478.
Peace of Mind
Financially providing for responsible travel pays off with peace of mind. In addition, you should also be sure to fill out the “Personal Data and Emergency Contact” page in your passport and carry a travel emergency card of instructions on your person at all times.
Travel Emergency I.D. Card
This card should include:
• Your name, address, and telephone number
• Blood type
• Contact information for health insurance and primary care doctor
• Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
• Travel and Medical Evacuation insurance