Travel Insurance -- Is it really necessary?

*Updated: September 20, 2020, as the travel industry is still being affected by the Coronavirus.

One of the questions that I get often asked about is travel insurance. Is it worth it? YES.
I always tell my clients that you don't need it until you do!
Many folks are unaware that travel insurance also comes with 24-hour travel assistance - this alone is a great perk! If travel assistance isn't reason enough to consider purchasing a policy, check out this list of reasons to add travel insurance to your next vacation:
  • Trip Cancellation: if someone gets sick and can’t travel, a parent dies, you’re required to work, or your house floods, you’ll be able to recover your out-of-pocket expenses for these covered reasons and more. 
  • Your flight is canceled: this is considered trip interruption. If your flight is canceled, you’ll have the money to refund the expenses of a new return ticket or to stay in a comfortable hotel. 
  • You miss your flight connection: it happens more than you would think, even in the summer months. If you miss the only flight of the day headed to Jamaica, you will be spending the night in the airport or a hotel. Travel insurance will cover your expenses for this, along with your meals in the airport, and other expenses. 
  • Your baggage is delayed or lost: your insurance company will help you recover your bags. You’ll also be reimbursed for the essential items you need to start enjoying your trip; you even get reimbursed for a new suitcase! 
  • You get sick or injured while on vacation: the medical coverage that comes with your policy offers assistance services in your own language to locate a suitable medical facility and arrange transportation there, plus it covers your medical bills. 
  • You need medical evacuation: if a member of your travel party falls ill while in the middle of the ocean or in a remote location, you can arrange safe transportation to a medical facility. Medical evacuations typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, and with travel insurance, you are covered. 
  • A hurricane destroys your vacation destination: you've been waiting for months to head to St. Lucia, but a hurricane has blown through and damaged the resort you were planning to visit. With travel insurance, you'll be able to recover your pre-paid costs. And Outside the Lines Travel can help you find a new resort or destination for your trip :) 
  • Your passport is lost or stolen: you will have assistance recovering and/or expediting the process of replacing your passport. 
  • You need emergency assistance while traveling: if your rental car breaks down and you are in a foreign country where you do not speak the language, the travel assistance hotline has you covered. Your policy will also pay for alternate transportation to get you where you need to be! 
  • A terrorist event occurs: if your vacation destination is in chaos due to a terrorist attack, you can cancel your trip without losing all of the money you've spent. 
One important thing to note: if you have a pre-existing medical condition, OR if you believe you need to add a 'Cancel for Any Reason' (CFAR) upgrade* to your policy, it is important to purchase a policy at the time of your initial deposit. There are also great benefits to purchasing a policy within 14-21 days of your initial deposit, such as coverage for work-related reasons, which is helpful to many travelers.

Otherwise, you can add most policies up until the day before you travel. However, if you are looking to add a policy to cover certain things - (a specific storm or fear of travel due to a pandemic), you can't! Once something becomes a 'known-event', such as a named winter storm or hurricane, a pandemic, or if the traveler is experiencing 'concern or fear about travel', a travel insurance policy won't cover that. The one exception is if the traveler has purchased a Cancel for Any Reason upgrade. During the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, many insurance companies have removed their 'Cancel for Any Reason' policies/waivers as a purchase option while they tweak them in light of the Coronavirus situation. However, these upgraded CFAR policies will be back, but may look a bit different when they reappear.

Regardless whether or not you purchased a CFAR upgrade, having a travel insurance policy in place with post-departure benefits and medical coverage when out of the country will give you peace of mind about your vacation investment, and is worth the added expense, because the reality is that unexpected events occur. And if they do, here is a BIG tip you may not know - if you reschedule your trip, you can move your insurance policy to your new travel dates, or just leave the policy open-ended for one to two years until you have chosen new dates.

Please feel free to ask us which type of policy is best for your travel situation. Though most travel advisors are not licensed insurance agents, we work with these polices on a daily basis, and we work with several trusted insurance companies that offer excellent consulting about all of their travel insurance policies. Also, this is an appropriate time for a friendly reminder to always read the fine print, and save all of your receipts when traveling.
*Note: in the wake of the Coronavirus, most insurance companies have stopped offering CFAR policies. Ask your travel professional for more information about this as you plan your trip.


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