Not everyone has it. Not everyone will need it. Caught without it – you could be in for a terrible time. I’m talking about travel insurance. My quest for the best coverage and coincidental headache brought to you by travel insurance. Insurance is a nuisance, however, like gambling you are weighing and measuring your own risks. Growing up with an insurance agent Mom eased the process. I could ask “what is a deductible?” or “do I have to purchase liability?”. As a girl dedicated to passing on knowledge, I present tips and considerations for Travel Insurance.
Some key words:
Deductible: An amount of money the insured must pay for the insurance company to settle a claim. A higher deductible will grant a cheaper policy but, prepare to for over a chunk of change should a claim be submitted. I personally elect for a $500 deductible.
Liability: Coverage that protects the insured should they injure another person. Further research only reveals one company that offers decent liability (keep reading till the end for a comparison). This benefit covers an instance where you maim, kill or damage another person or their property. Look for a company that is inclusive of legal fees.
Note: Be sure you know which activities are covered and other conditions. Expenses add up, particularly in extreme cases. There are policies that offer liability up to a quarter million – my personal insurance agent suggests this one.
Accidental Death: A topic no one wants to think about. Nearly all travel insurance policies cover Accidental Death & Dismemberment. Accidental meaning unforeseeable, unplanned or sudden. The limit for death contributes to any debt, bills and burial intended to settle your person. The chances of needing this coverage are slim, but second to liability, don’t be caught without it.
Loss of Limb: Limits for loss of limb covers medical bills associated with just that – dismemberment. Note: Watch what the company defines as limb. Some policies define the loss of an arm as severance above the wrist and a leg above the ankle. If a finger or a hand is prey to a hungry giraffe – you may not be covered.
Repatriation: Preparation and transportation of your remains or ashes back to your residence. Nevertheless, not fun to talk about, but, it happens. Please, please, please find decent coverage for repatriation. Repatriation is not cheap.
Common Carrier: A commercial aircraft, watercraft, bus or train with published routes and fare paying customers. Why this is important: some travel insurance does not cover Common Carrier Accidents. Most commercial operations have their own liability insurance. Should there be a need to call in a claim follow up with the operator’s customer service.
Company Ratings: Company ratings aren’t flashed around their site so, do some research. Ratings measure the ease and ability to provide pay outs. Any company should be an A or higher. The top companies will have an AAA rating.
Trip Delay/Interruption/Cancellation: Each company has their own set of rules regarding a trip that has come to a halt.
- A delay is an unforeseen lag in service so, if your plane is delayed by severe weather you will more than likely be covered. If the delay is due to a missed flight, you may not have coverage.
- Interruption reimburses the unused costs and transportation to travel home should an unforeseeable event occur.
- Cancellation completely covers the non-refundable payments and deposits in an unforeseeable event that ends your trip.
Note: The keyword here is unforeseeable.
I won’t bore you to death with any more insurance terms. I’m going to list my top companies, compare, and contrast. Disclaimer: my opinion is based exclusively on coverages not on experience. I’ve not used travel insurance before now and I have not needed to submit a claim.
Tokio Marine HCC – Atlas Premium Series:
The policies are simple to tailor to your needs and offers policies maxing at two million. The company is AA- rated which is fantastic. Benefits included in the policy include liability which few others offer. HCC also offers medical, trip interruption or delay, lost luggage and even pet return.
Is best known for its rental car insurance, but, offers health insurance as well. Allianz would be my second choice. They seem to have a wide range of benefits and have a known reputation. You can even bundle auto insurance and medical. The biggest issue with Allianz is that it does not offer liability and policy is pricey for what is being offered. You do not have the option to choose your deductibles.
Allianz doesn’t offer liability for autos. Their scope of coverage is based on CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) which covers damages to the car, but not to the driver, passengers, the opposing cars or their drivers/passengers.
Perfect for a one trip wander. I wouldn’t recommend this for travelers leaving for extensive amounts of time. The longer you stay, the higher your risk. Nomads covers electronics, missed flights (for unforeseen reasons), and baggage protection. They offer basic trip protection, death and dismemberment, repatriation but no liability. I also question their ratings. I know that they are associated with Nationwide which is AAA rated, but, they are separate. So says the agent who I called to check if I could add to the policy. Customer satisfaction was less than desirable. When accidents ensue, SURE people are unhappy with pay outs but, two out of five stars seems suspect.
Results are in! I choose Tokio Marine HCC as I will be gone for an extended time. Moreover, I will be gone for a year, the risk of something happening whether it be theft, injury or sickness is significantly higher than someone vacationing in the UK for a week. All travelers should carry travel insurance. There are insurance companies aplenty but, remember to do your research. You can’t predict the future, but you can protect yourself.
What are your experiences with travel insurance?
Your Cobweb Clearer, Kate