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Insurance for International Travel

International travelers can take steps to reduce the risk of financial loss due to a cancelled trip or other problems that may occur. Travel insurance is one way to manage the risks of international travel, but a consumer must understand the many differences among policies before purchasing coverage.

A consumer should carefully consider the insurance types available to determine what coverage is best for his specific needs.

Insurance for International Travel


Coverage Types

The primary types of travel insurance that consumers should understand are travel cancellation, trip interruption and medical insurance. Trip cancellation insurance pays for trips cancelled due to such things as natural disasters and unforeseen health problems.

Trip interruption insurance provides coverage if the consumer is unable to complete the trip once started. For example, if a person is going on a 10-day tour of Italy but becomes ill after five days, the insurance may cover the cost of the lost part of the trip as well as the added expenses to return home early.

Medical insurance covers emergency medical costs as well as medical evacuation, crucial if the consumer visits countries without modern healthcare facilities.


Existing Insurance

Before buying travel insurance for an international trip, a consumer should determine what coverage she currently has. For example, the consumer should contact her health insurance provider to determine what the policy will cover for emergency treatment or medical transportation overseas.

Many credit card companies provide accidental death insurance for trips taken with tickets purchased using the company’s credit card. If a consumer will use a rental car internationally, she should also contact her auto insurance provider to determine if her existing policy will provide auto coverage.


Other Considerations

A consumer should determine what costs he may have to pay for canceling a trip. If a traveler can reschedule flights and rooms without a significant penalty, he may not need insurance for these costs.

Generally, it is best to buy travel insurance when booking a trip or soon thereafter to get the maximum benefit possible. For example, some policies will only cover losses due to an airline going out of business if the consumer buys the policy within a certain amount of days after booking the flight.


Where to Buy

Numerous sources sell travel insurance. Travel agents generally offer travel insurance policies to customers using their services. Though the choices may be limited and the costs higher, buying through a travel agent is usually safe, and the agent can help to process any claims that a customer may have.

Some Internet websites, such as InsureMyTrip.com and Squaremouth.com, offer consumers the opportunity to compare policies from different companies. These sites can help a consumer to save money, but the consumer must carefully read the policies and check out the insurance company to make certain the company is reputable. Insurance agents that handle a consumer’s auto, home or life insurance may also sell travel insurance policies.


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