Travel insurance is often overlooked. Most of us consider it an unnecessary expense. But when you understand the big benefits you get for a relatively low cost, you might never skip buying a policy again.
A travel policy covers you for a variety of situations that range from an inconvenience, such as losing your luggage, to bumping-up against a hurricane, or having a life-threatening medical emergency that requires an airlift to the nearest hospital.
Don’t forget that most health insurance plans, including Medicare, offer little to no coverage when you’re outside of the U.S. So, check your plan, or speak to an insurance representative to make sure you understand what costs you’d be responsible for outside of the country.
To go deeper into the world of travel insurance, I interviewed Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com. He helps explain what travel insurance is and why it’s a smart purchase. Stan shares many surprising, money-saving tips that every savvy traveler should know.
Here are some of the topics we cover:
- The variety of protections you can choose with travel insurance
- How a plan fills the gaps in your medical coverage while traveling
- What a typical travel policy costs
- Who is a good candidate for travel insurance
- How to insure your next adventure trip
- Whether you should get an annual or single travel plan
- How to save money when shopping for a travel insurance policy
Use these tips from TravelInsurance.com to enjoy your travels:
Tip #1: Buy Flights and Travel Insurance Early
Research shows that it’s best to book airfares between 21 and 175 days in advance. Travelers are always looking for the best deal, but most discount airfares usually require a 21-day advance purchase.
Even if you’re feeling lucky, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to score a last-minute deal. You’ll end up having to pay a lot more, and that increases the cost of other things, like travel insurance.
Tip #2: Comparison Shop
Travel insurance comparison sites offer consumers a way to search, compare, and purchase from the most recognizable insurance providers in the industry. They also give you a better chance to find the right plan at the right price. For example, TravelInsurance.com allows you to save by taking advantage of price differences between carriers that have comparable benefits and coverage limits.
Tip #3: Consider an Annual Travel Insurance Plan
There are three key things to ask yourself when determining if an annual policy is right for you:
- How many trips do you have planned for the year?
- What amount of coverage will you need for these trips?
- What type of activities do you have planned during the journey?
The cost of a single-trip insurance package, in most cases, is less than one-half the cost of an annual package. That makes single-trip insurance the logical choice for those limited in vacation time.
If you plan to take more than two major trips during the year then annual travel insurance is likely your best option. Both annual and single trip policies cover the same occurrences such as medical emergency, dental, trip cancellation, and lost or damaged baggage.
Tip #4.: Consider Group Travel Insurance
Group travel insurance can help save money for a group of 10 or more travelers on the same trip itinerary. The benefits and coverage in a group travel insurance plan are very similar to individual plans, with a few important differences.
First, the cost of group travel insurance is not dependent on the traveler’s age. So, an 80-year-old will pay the same price as a 20-year-old. This can be very cost-effective for groups of seniors.
Second, group travel insurance is designed for easy enrollment and administration by a group leader. But each traveler receives his or her own insurance policy number and plan documents.