The Travel Professor
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Travel/Trip Cancellation Insurance

I received an email asking to explain travel/trip cancellation insurance. I term this product as “peace of mind” insurance. This coverage is not inexpensive and your premium is based on your age, duration of travel and value of travel items purchased. Costs and coverages vary by insurance suppliers so I suggest shopping rates and comparing policies.

Trip or travel insurance is optional insurance coverage that is intended to cover the medical expenses, financial loss from trip cancellation fees (if your reason for cancelling is covered) and other losses incurred while traveling domestically or internationally.

Temporary travel insurance can usually be purchased any time after you have booked and/or deposited/paid for a trip. Its term of coverage generally starts from the date of your insurance purchase date until the scheduled travel completion date. These products can be purchased directly from your travel agent, travel suppliers such as the cruise line or tour operator and through travel insurance companies. However, travel insurance purchased from travel suppliers tend to be less inclusive than insurance offered by insurance companies plus this self insured policy does not cover you in the case of supplier default.

Travel insurance offers coverage for a variety of travelers. Student travel, business travel, leisure travel, adventure travel, cruise travel, and international travel are all various options that can be insured.

The most common risks that are covered by travel insurance are:
• Medical expenses
• Emergency evacuation/repatriation
• Overseas funeral expenses
• Accidental death, injury or disablement benefit
• Cancellation
• Curtailment
• Delayed departure
• Loss, theft or damage to personal possessions and money (including travel documents)
• Delayed baggage (and emergency replacement of essential items)
• Legal assistance
• Personal liability and rental car damage excess
• Supplier default

Additional coverage maybe required to cover pre-existing medical conditions, sports with an added element of risk like skiing, scuba or sky diving and/or travels to high risk countries.
There are also many special inclusions that your policy may not cover. The major areas here are pre-existing medical conditions, war or terrorism - but some plans may cover this risk and/or injury or illness caused by alcohol or drug use.

Coverage generally includes the traveler, a family unit traveling together and immediate family members. Unless your traveling companion has purchased insurance he/she is not covered by your policy.

I mentioned that many pre existing conditions and other conditions may not be covered but if your purchase your travel/trip cancellation coverage when you make your initial payment many companies are now waiving pre existing conditions.

To buy or not to buy is a very important personal decision. I prefer to present the facts and options to you the traveler then let you decide. Talk with family and friends that have traveled obtain their opinions then make your decision to either purchase or decline coverage.

Happy travels!