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Is Annual Travel Insurance Right for You?(Part 1)

Traveleidoscope:  Is Annual Travel Insurance Right for You? (Part 1)

Buying travel insurance can be a real pain, but necessary. But what about an annual travel insurance policy? Do you even need that? The debate about travel insurance is big and single trip vs. annual insurance adds yet another twist to the debate. For the last several years, I’ve carried annual trip insurance, and while it’s not cheap, it provides insurance for my trips, whether I’m flying or driving. And, since I recently had to renew my policy, I thought it would make a great post. After I began my research, I quickly realized it needed to be a two-part post. I also recognized that many of the issues I had to think about for annual insurance also apply to single trip insurance. So, here’s part one of things you need to think about if you’re considering whether annual travel insurance is right for you!

1. What’s annual insurance?

Annual insurance covers your trips for an entire year. For me, my coverage begins from the date I purchase the policy, not a calendar year.

As opposed to..

Single trip coverage which is for an individual trip.

2. What’s covered?

It depends. I learned the hard way that my annual coverage didn’t cover air fare if my trip was interrupted due to a hurricane….unless the airport closes continuously for 24 hours! Yup. A while back, I was delayed at the Miami International Airport due to a hurricane. Although my flight eventually left after a delay of several hours, a quick read of m policy (that I carry with me) revealed the conditions of my coverage, or lack thereof. To help decipher what's what, here are some basic terms, and/or considerations when you're looking at plans (keep in mind that insurance companies' terms may differ):

Trip Delay: When your trip is interrupted for a relatively “short” period of time, which is, uh, more than six hours. I know....

Trip Interruption: When you need to cut your trip short to go home. It usually needs to be for a covered reasoned, like the serious illness of a traveler or that of his or her family member, or a natural disaster at home.

Trip Cancellation: When you have to cancel your trip before you even get started. Besides knowing what you can cancel for, you’ll need to think about how much time you have to notify the insurance company.

Baggage: Are delayed, lost or stolen bags included in my policy?

Change Fees: If I have to pay a change fee, is that covered?

Medical Coverage: I have an existing medical condition. Is that covered? What about emergency medical care or transportation while I'm traveling? Will my policy cover what my health insurance doesn't? Does my own health insurance even cover me (check with your insurance company)?

Rental Car Coverage: What if my rental car is damaged or stolen (ah, the dreaded collision damage waiver dilemma)? Will my credit card or auto insurance provide sufficient coverage?

Frequent Traveler/Loyalty Program Coverage: What if I used frequent flyer miles for a trip that I’ve now got to change or cancel?

Are change fees associated with having to redeposit my points covered? It's covered in my policy, but that appears to be a relatively new inclusion.

3. Exclusions:

What coverage is specifically excluded? For example, sometimes, coverage doesn’t apply to certain countries. Other exclusions may be for things like violation of your rental car agreement or intentional damage to the equipment you're traveling with…

4. Won’t my credit card cover me? What about other insurance (like auto)?

That depends on your credit card, or other insurance, policy. You’ll need to check to find out exactly what’s covered.

Well, that's it for this week! Come back next week for more of, "Is Annual Travel Insurance Right for You?"

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Psst! Guess what? I've been accepted int the North American Travel Journalists Association! AND, I even get to display their fancy logo, like the one below! How cool is that?

Traveleidoscope:  NATJA Member


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