How to Compare Travelers Insurance
Whether you are taking a once in a lifetime trip, or you travel on a weekly basis, the most important item you need to pack is travel insurance.
Various types of travel insurance cover everything from emergency medical services to delays and cancellations.
Things You’ll Need
- Travel itineraries
9 Steps to Compare Travelers Insurance
1. Refer to existing health, homeowners and life insurance policies and insurance benefits that you might hold by carrying certain credit cards
You might find that you are already covered for specific losses, and do not need additional travel insurance protection. Your current health and life policies may already include coverage for emergency services abroad, ambulatory services and coverage.
Contact your insurance representative to determine what coverages are in place, if you are uncertain of the limits and exclusions on each policy.
2. Gather all documents pertaining to the travel event that you wish to insure
Include itineraries, passport information for all parties, receipts from all trip-related expenses purchased so far, and immunization records.
3. Contact your travel agent to find out if they can provide information on the best travel insurance carriers
However, keep in mind that travel agencies may earn referral monies for any policies sold through them, so this may not be the best or most cost-effective travel insurance for your particular needs.
You can also contact local insurance agencies about travel insurance coverage. Explain your travel situation, and all insurance policies that you currently have in place, and allow the agency to do research for you. Agents have access to better deals than you might find.
4. Begin comparing coverages by determining how soon you need to purchase travel insurance in order to receive maximum benefits from the policy
Check each company’s requirements about purchase deadlines.
Most travel policies must be purchased within 7-21 days from the date of your first payment towards your travel, in order to receive benefits such as waiving of Pre-existing Medical Condition Exclusion, Terrorism cover in any city listed on your itinerary, and Financial Default of Tour Operator, Airline or Cruise Line protection.
5. Research the trip cancellation policies
Does a particular company offer cancellation or interruption of your trip due to the death of a family member not traveling with you?
Find companies that offer “Cancellation For Any Reason” protection. Each company has its own requirements that must be met in order to qualify for this type of coverage.
6. Compare companies based upon how they define “Terrorist Incident”
If your trip needs to be canceled or delayed due to such an occurrence, you need to know how your carrier defines “Terrorist Incident” in order to ascertain that you will be properly insured.
7. Research travel baggage and baggage delay coverages
Most policies require a waiting period before they will provide coverage, find companies with the shortest waiting period.
Check to see exactly what will be provided under lost or delayed baggage protections, and whether you can get immediate relief at your destination site or if you will be reimbursed at a later date.
8. Compare each company’s Travel Assistance services
Do they offer assistance in locating medical facilities, legal assistance, and getting emergency funds to you? Can they help you recover important travel documentation or tickets? Will they assist in the event that you fall seriously ill or die while on your trip?
Having assistance for the little things you might not think about is especially invaluable when you are traveling abroad. Consider those companies that offer the most assistance in all aspects of your travel.
9. Compare the A.M. Best ratings for each carrier you are considering
This rating determines the financial stability of an insurance company and gives letter grades from A++ to D, with A++ equaling a superior rating and D indicating a very poor rating. Generally, to get the most reliable protection, you want to choose a company with no lower than a B rating.
Tips and Warnings
- Each company offers a wide variety of coverages, as well as exclusions and limitations. Don’t assume that all things are covered automatically, and ask as many questions as you need to in order to fully understand what you are purchasing! Program claims and travel assistance numbers into your PDA or cell phone before leaving on your trip.
- Always report claims immediately. Waiting until you return home may mean losing out on a portion or even all of the coverage.
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