Typical vacation travel -- pleasure trips that aren’t intended to be long-term, and don’t serve a particular purpose for business, education, or volunteerism – can usually be insured rather easily with a travel insurance comprehensive policy. Comprehensive policies are designed to cover a wide range of travel-specific concerns for the average person and will generally offer benefits for trip cancellation, delay, or interruption; emergency medical services; medical evacuation; and baggage loss or delay.
The primary purpose of a travel insurance comprehensive policy is to protect the investment you’ve made in your trip in the event that something unforeseen happens to severely alter or altogether ruin your plans. What you’ll actually be insuring is the pre-paid, non-refundable cost of your trip; everything you’ve paid for in advance, that won’t be reimbursed by the person or company to whom you’ve paid it if you can’t follow through with your plans, should be included in the total trip cost you give to the insurance company when purchasing a policy. A good rule of thumb in deciding how much your trip is worth is to think: “If I woke up on the morning of my trip and couldn’t go for some reason, how much money would I have lost?” Travel insurance comprehensive policies are intended to help you recover those losses, as well as provide additional coverage in case you become ill or injured while traveling or find that your property has been lost, stolen, or damaged.
Every travel insurance plan is different, so it’s important to make sure you thoroughly read and understand the terms of any policy you are interested in purchasing. Things to look for are limits on coverage (such as a limit on how much money you can be reimbursed if your luggage is lost); exclusions (a list of situations and/or items that cannot be covered under your travel insurance policy – very important information to know); and covered reasons for cancelling or interrupting your trip. In general, most comprehensive policies would allow you to cancel your plans if you or a traveling family member became too ill to go on the trip, or if your home or primary destination was significantly damaged by a fire or natural disaster. However, it’s crucial to understand exactly what those “covered reasons” are, and to seek additional coverage if you don’t think the plan you’re researching offers enough flexibility for you. A good option that many vacation travelers choose is a Cancel For Any Reason plan, which allows travelers to change their plans up until 48 hours prior to their departure for reasons that are not listed in the coverage offered by their policy. However, Cancel for Any Reason policies also have limitations and requirements for purchase, so they’re not always suitable for every vacationer.
Because travel insurance is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, vacation travelers must do their homework before deciding on a travel insurance plan that best fits their needs. Depending on where you’re going and what your plans include, you may need to consider additional Travel Medical or Evacuation coverage; specialized benefits such as Missed Connection coverage and Sports or Hazardous Activities riders; or coverage options for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions. Comprehensive policies may or may not be able to offer all of these benefits to you, so be sure to ask a licensed travel insurance expert how to best get coverage for all of your major concerns before purchasing.