TRAVEL INSURANCE – DO TRAVELERS REALLY NEED IT?
WELLESLEY, MASS. (May 25, 2001) – Imagine lying on a beach, enjoying the sun and surf when suddenly there’s a loud crack and you slip into blackness. A coconut has just fallen from a tree overhead and knocked you unconscious. Sound a little farfetched?
The truth of the matter is that accidents, emergencies and unforeseen circumstances can happen anywhere, at anytime and to anyone, although most travelers prefer not to think about it. Once considered an optional add-on, increasing numbers of travelers are viewing travel insurance as a necessity when making major travel purchases.
"Travel insurance makes sense when considering the financial commitment involved in the purchase of an expensive trip," says Jack E. Mannix, CTC, president of the Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA). "However, when considering these policies, there are many coverage options that can be very confusing. Certified Travel Counselors (CTCs) can help travelers decipher the fine print to select a travel insurance package suited to their needs."
Travel Insurance: What It Covers
Travel insurance can protect travelers’ health and well-being, and can save considerable expense should anything go wrong before, during or after their trip. Travel insurance can include trip cancellation/interruption protection, emergency medical and dental benefits, medical transportation, travel accident insurance, stolen baggage and baggage delay coverage, travel delay coverage, accident medical expenses, in-hospital indemnity legal referral, travel assistance and a hotline for emergency assistance.
In general, travel insurance can:
· Protect travelers’ investment if they have to cancel
· Provide 24-hour emergency medical referral and assistance during travel
· Reimburse unexpected travel expenses travelers may incur due to an emergency
· Protect travelers during a medical emergency
· Provide medical assistance to travelers abroad
The Difference Between Travel Insurance And Travel Protection
Though they might have very similar names, there is one major distinction between travel insurance and travel protection. Travel insurance is offered only through third-party companies that are licensed or approved by the state in which the product is being sold. Travel protection, however, is offered directly through a travel supplier such as a cruise line or tour operator. Travel suppliers that sell travel protection insurance are not required to be licensed by state agencies, and therefore, consumers’ investments are not protected if the travel supplier declares bankruptcy or defaults.
What Types of Coverage Do I Really Need?
It is important to look at each component or a travel insurance package carefully since some comprehensive policies offer more coverage than travelers actually need. Here are the facts on the some of the most common types of travel insurance:
· Trip cancellation/interruption coverage – Necessary if the traveler has purchased an expensive trip that has no cancellation clause.
· Emergency medical coverage – Necessary if the traveler’s insurance will not cover where they are traveling. Also important if the medical care in the area where they are traveling is sub-par. Medical insurance should cover expenses from the moment the traveler leaves home until the moment they return, not just for the duration of the stay at the destination.
· Baggage lost – Not necessary if the traveler’s homeowner’s policy covers stolen bags. Additionally, most airlines will reimburse passengers for luggage lost in flight, usually to a maximum of $2,500 per person.
· Rental car coverage – Not necessary if the traveler’s auto insurance covers domestic rentals, and possibly overseas rentals.
· Accidental death – Necessary if the traveler has no other life insurance or wants extra protection to supplement their current policy. It will pay over and above the policy a traveler may already have.
· Medical evacuation – Necessary if traveling on a shoestring budget, independently, to developing countries, or if the traveler’s medical insurance will not cover emergency evacuation – and most don’t. Evacuation insurance should cover not just a trip to the nearest hospital, but all the way home.
ICTA encourages travelers to work directly with a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) to design a travel insurance package tailored specifically to their needs. ICTA also encourages travelers to contact their insurance company to verify what their current policies may or may not cover, particularly medical coverage overseas. To locate a CTC in your area or region, visit www.icta.com and click on "Find A Travel Professional."
Since its inception in 1964, ICTA’s mission has been to increase professionalism within the travel industry and to create a national standard of excellence for travel professionals through its educational programs. ICTA is recognized as one of the travel industry’s foremost authorities on consumer travel, industry trends and customer service.
This article courtesy of http://www.travelheadquarter.com.
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