Welcome to the tenth and final post in my series “Top Travel Mistakes.”
I previously collected information on the biggest mistakes people make when traveling and composed a list of the top 10 (plus a few bonus tips!) This series explores and expands on that list and provides more detail about how to avoid making these common errors when you travel.
# 10 Not Getting Travel Insurance
I saved this topic for last, not because I believe it’s less important than the others, but rather, exactly the opposite. This is the most important, and usually the most ignored aspect of travel. I find this to be an especially important topic after everything we saw in 2020 and dealing with a global pandemic. Cancelling, postponing, rescheduling, new restrictions, more requirements, shut downs, quarantines, and then rescheduling again… it felt like it was never going to end. And, while it’s not entirely over yet, things are starting to ease up in the travel industry.
Why Do I Need It?
You may be thinking to yourself, “I’m young and healthy, what do I need travel insurance for?” But, that’s like saying ‘My vehicle is new, what do I need car insurance for?’ Even though you may feel that you’re unstoppable, the Universe often has other plans for us. An unexpected travel mishap could be VERY costly out of pocket, and even though we don’t want to plan for it, we have to plan for it.
Things happen that we can not control- We get sick, we get hurt, things get lost, natural disasters occur, or, God forbid, family emergencies come up. For as many different things that could go wrong, there are equally as many reasons to invest in travel insurance.
How Much Does It Cost?
Purchasing travel insurance usually costs a small percentage of the trip’s price, and when you’re already spending thousands of dollars, even this little bit more can seem like a lot, but, I ensure you that it is worth the investment. Travel can be very expensive, and is already an investment itself.
What Does It Cover?
The types of events travel insurance may cover are illness, quarantine, cancellations & delays, missed connections, injuries, medical help, evacuation, lost items, stolen items, and many events more.
There are different types and different levels of travelers insurance to look into. Some may simply cover flights, while others cover flights and hotels, and still more that cover flights, hotels, excursions, and medical emergencies and more. The very best plans cover you from Door to Door. This means from the second you leave your house upon starting your journey, until you arrive safely back home thereafter. This could even include anything that might happen to you on your way to the airport!
How Much Should I Get?
This is a questions better answered by the professionals. While I am a travel planner, and may have some general ideas about what you should get covered, I don’t know all of the ins, outs, and inbetweens. The good news is that I can connect you with someone who does. I have companies that I like and have partnered with, as my clients have had good experiences with them in the past.
My general advice is always to get what you need and can budget for. If you are able to get full coverage, that’s the way to go. The insurance agent I connect you with will know exactly what you will want coverage for given your specific type of travel.
Do I Need More?
Once you start looking around, you may notice that certain aspects of your trip will offer you their own insurance. I have seen this with flights, resorts, and ever excursions. And you may ask yourself, which is better? Do I opt for that offered directly by the supplier, or get a blanket coverage plan from an insurance company?
While this is totally up to you, I will always recommend getting a full-coverage plan from an actual Travel Insurance provider. Why? Because you never know what may go wrong and when. You may have flight insurance to cover you in case your flight is delayed or cancelled, but that is where the benefits stop. If that delayed flight causes you to miss boarding your cruise, you will be out thousands of dollars.
And while you could opt to get your own insurance from each individual vendor you use, it will be much easier to have everything under the same plan. Individual vendor insurance are also not likely to cover you for things such as emergency evacuations, medical bills, or lost legal documents such as passports and IDs.
When Should I Purchase Travel Insurance?
The best time to purchase your trip insurance is as soon as you make your first deposit. It is very likely that the travel planner or agent that you’re working will will strongly suggest that you opt in for insurance before they even book your trip. At this point, you should let them know that you’re interested, and they can get you connected to a licensed insurance agent right away.
There are several benefits to purchasing travel insurance early, and by early I mean within two weeks of making your original vacation deposit. For instance, pre-existing medical conditions will only be covered if you purchase a plan within the first 14 days. After that you will either not be able to get coverage, or will be paying a MUCH higher premium for this. Another perk is that several things will be covered at no additional cost to you, such as additional accidental death and dismemberment coverage.
Purchasing early also means you won’t put it off and forget to do it. However, if this does happen, rest assured that you can still be insured. You are able to purchase some plans right up until the day you travel, giving you no excuse to not get it.
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