No one in their right mind would take a vacation this summer without a little protection. And I’m not talking about sunscreen either.
“With the uncertainties of COVID for summer travel, a comprehensive travel insurance policy is essential,” says Rajeev Shrivastava, CEO of VisitorsCoverage.
Travel protection such as insurance or medical coverage was once optional for travelers. But after the pandemic, it’s pretty much mandatory. In some cases it is literally a requirement. Many European countries require health insurance coverage for your visit, and others do so every day.
Increased demand for traveler protection
“We are seeing an increase in enthusiasm for travel coupled with increased demand for travel insurance,” says Karisa Cernera, senior director of travel services at Redpoint Travel Protection. The Redpoint team stays on top of insurance requirements, which change from minute to minute. They are complicated.
“We recommend that customers check the official government websites of their travel destination for the most recent entry requirements,” she adds. “Many destinations now require travelers to purchase travel insurance that protects against loss and medical needs related to COVID-19.”
In fact, there is a list of things your travel protection must absolutely have this summer. If you’re booking vacations soon, you need to know what they are, experts say.
So how can you not protect your summer vacation? By not reading your insurance policy carefully. By ignoring the “open access” provisions that allow you to get a refund if you have any doubts about a policy. Ignoring COVID-19 and other medical bills and assuming travel insurance is all you need. And being ignorant of this do not covered.
By the way, I know a thing or two about protection. I run a non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers, and we get a lot of travel-related complaints. In more than half of these cases, having medical evacuation insurance or membership could have helped to avoid the problem.
Here’s what travelers want this summer
A new survey of summer travelers conducted by World Nomads suggests that most people worry about having to cancel their trip due to another outbreak of COVID-19:
- 43% of respondents consider trip cancellation the most important component of travel insurance
- 31% said emergency medical and dental coverage was essential.
- 27% wanted COVID-19 coverage.
“Data shows that the potential risks of COVID-19 still dictate the mood of the trip,” said World Nomads spokeswoman Lisa Cheng.
People pay attention. At Texas A&M University, officials pulled up just before requiring their study abroad program participants to purchase insurance.
“We don’t require students to purchase additional insurance,” says Holly Hudson, executive director of the study abroad program at Texas A&M University. “However, all students are strongly encouraged to purchase additional insurance that will cover their expenses in the event their flight or program is canceled or if they are recalled to the United States due to COVID-19. “
You never know what might happen this summer
Summer travel can be unpredictable in other ways, experts say. “The summer months also bring varying weather conditions, storm warnings and a hurricane season,” notes Jeremy Murchland, president of Seven Corners. “If you are traveling to a destination that may be particularly vulnerable to hurricanes, stay alert and research how your travel insurance plan can alleviate the stress of potential dangers with disaster coverage.”
Read the fine print of your insurance policy (then reread it)
That’s the opinion of John Thomas, associate professor of hospitality law at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University. “The key legal term for a travel insurance policy is force majeure or, in plain English, conditions beyond the control of the air carrier or cruise line, railway or hotel, “he explains.” Specific conditions should be listed and should include flight disruptions due to: natural disasters, insurgency, labor strikes, highway bridge or closures, pandemic outbreaks at origin or destination, and government restrictions on travel or business . “
The problem is, many travelers don’t check the fine print – so they don’t know what’s covered and what’s not. Professor Thomas says that good travel insurance should also provide reimbursement for travelers despite any offer of credit for future travel from the airline or cruise line, the railroad or the hotel.
Take a look for free before committing
Little known fact: Some policies allow you to try before you buy. “Look for travel insurance policies that offer a free consultation period and use that time to read your policy, to understand what it covers and what it does not,” says Daniel Durazo, spokesperson for ‘Allianz Travel. a period of 15 days before it becomes non-refundable.) What if you don’t like the policy? “You can buy a new product or cancel your policy for a full refund,” says Durazo.
Does your insurance cover COVID-19?
This should, says Christine Buggy, vice president of marketing at Travelex. “Even with the decline in COVID-19 cases, there is still a risk of contracting the virus before or during your trip. You’ll want to make sure your travel insurance covers COVID-19 like any other illness, ”she says.
But what does that mean? If you, a travel companion, family member or business partner become ill before or during your trip, you may be eligible for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Medical Emergency or medical evacuation.
“Some travel insurers consider COVID-19 to be a known event, which means you may not be eligible for coverage,” Buggy warns.
Protect your summer trip by covering medical costs
“Every travel insurance policy today should include accommodation for medical needs,” says Ravi Parikh, CEO of RoverPass, a camping reservation website. “It is important to prepare for the worst-case scenario: a positive COVID-19 test while traveling. Before purchasing a policy, you should read it carefully and / or contact the provider to make sure it is one of the provisions. “
RoverPass recently partnered with Generali Global Assistance to provide access to its network of healthcare providers to people who use its travel reservation service. Parikh says he believes companies in the travel industry must do their part to keep their customers safe while preventing the spread of COVID.
You might need more than travel insurance
Most travelers want to protect their travel investment if they have to cancel, says Laura Heidt, head of the insurance office at Brownell Travel. Instead of future supplier credit vouchers, insurance offers reimbursement. But you might need more, she notes.
“Additional coverage for medical transportation ensures that if you become ill or injured while traveling, you can be transferred to the hospital at home for treatment and recovery,” she says. “A medical transportation membership like Medjet may require you to be transferred to a home hospital.”
Here’s the thing: most people think of medical transportation to be exclusively for international travel. No, said Heidt. “It can be just as embarrassing for you and your family, for someone to be stuck in a hospital a few states away as it is to be stuck halfway around the world,” she adds.
What if you have to evacuate?
“While traditional travel insurance may provide coverage for incidents such as terrorism, pandemic or natural disaster, it may not include the costs of specialized travel assistance services used to help you escape the crisis. danger or evacuate if something goes wrong during your trip, ”says Stephen Dalton, CAP spokesperson for FocusPoint International.
Venting adhesion plans provide an additional layer of protection. If something goes wrong during your trip, they offer access to experienced, multilingual travel specialists. These professionals can coordinate emergency response and assistance services in the country, including evacuation.
Is everything covered? I want to say all
Travelers should make sure all of their expenses are covered, says Sherry Sutton, vice president of marketing at Travel Insured International. This includes transportation, accommodation and all tours. A major mistake of inexperienced travelers is not having everything covered.
“Purchase travel insurance with trip cancellation coverage and insure the full cost of the trip is non-refundable,” she says. “It is recommended that you carefully consider all covered cancellation reasons. Cancellation for a covered reason may reimburse up to 100% of the cost of your insured trip.”
By the way, if you think you need to cancel for a reason that is not covered, ask about a “cancel for any reason” policy. Although it is a bit more expensive (10% to 12% of the total cost of your trip), you can cancel for any reason and get a refund of between 50% and 75%.
Also, understand what do not covered
“While it is important to understand what is covered in your policy, it is equally important to understand what is do not covered, “says Joey Levy, travel advisor at Embark Beyond.” Most standard travel insurance policies do not cover the fear of a pandemic, which includes items such as border closures or travel restrictions. government. The only way to avoid this? A “cancellation for any reason” policy.
And now you know how to protect your summer vacation. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen.