When most of us travel, we focus on relaxation and the excitement of getting away from it all. No one wants to think about having an accident, catching COVID, or getting stuck somewhere because of a missed connection. Unfortunately, those things do happen, and you need to be prepared. The insurance cost is minimal compared to the expenses you could incur if you need to quarantine for ten days before returning to the U.S. SafetravelRX, an app designed to keep you safe while traveling, provides four reasons why insurance may be worth the investment.
1. You already have health insurance, so you think that will cover you when you travel but did you check with your provider? Nearly half of Americans did not know whether their domestic health insurance plans would cover an emergency doctor or hospital visit while traveling abroad, according to a survey conducted by InsureMyTrip. Many do not. And for older travelers that may assume Medicare covers them while traveling abroad, that’s not the case. As Trish Gastineau, owner of Simply Customized Travel, states, “My clientele tends to be a bit older, so one of the first things that I let them know is that if they have Medicare, they will not have medical coverage outside of the U.S.” A leading travel insurance provider says it receives more than 4,000 calls a year from customers who are experiencing a medical emergency during a trip.
2. Trip delays and cancellations are becoming increasingly common, and staff shortages are contributing to this. In fact, over this past Memorial Day weekend, over 7,000 flights were canceled worldwide. So, let's assume you’re in Paris or London or an equally expensive city and your next option for getting back to the States is not until tomorrow due to a cancellation. Now you have the expense of a hotel room, meals, etc., which can add up quickly, especially as you didn't budget for them in your original trip. If your travel gets delayed due to weather, airlines are not required to cover any additional expenses.
3. It’s estimated that about 25 million bags get lost or misplaced every year. In addition to the inconvenience, it can also be an added expense. While airlines are legally required to compensate you, that does not mean you will get the total value back of your possessions. For example, let's say you have valuable jewelry worth tens of thousands of dollars; the airlines are only liable for up to $3,800 for lost, damaged, or delayed bags on U.S. flights. However, international flights are subject to the Montreal Convention, which established international airline liabilities and set airlines' baggage liability at only about $1,780. Airlines are free to compensate passengers with more money, but they aren’t legally obligated.
4. With COVID cases rising again, you never know if you will have to cancel your trip because you're ill or be quarantined while traveling. If you catch COVID abroad, the U.S. and most other countries will recommend that you quarantine for ten days before returning. It can even be longer for some travelers if they continue to test positive after that period. That means adding lodging and meal expenses for at least ten additional days. However, not all insurance plans provide adequate quarantine coverage, and in some cases, they don't offer it at all, so make sure that your policy covers it.
So, while travel insurance does mean adding expenses to your trip, it could be worth the investment should something unexpected happen. For example, according to Travelex, the average American spends about $2,400 on vacation, but many pay far more. Typically, a travel insurance policy costs 5% to 10% of the total cost of the trip. However, before you purchase, do your homework. You may already have some coverage if you have a credit card like American Express Platinum or Chase Sapphire. Know what they do and don't cover, and do your due diligence with any other plan you may have to purchase, as not all programs are created equal. Just as safetravelRX ensures your safety by providing access to global emergency responders, vetted doctors, and hospitals and securely storing all your important documents, travel insurance is an additional way to take worry off your itinerary.
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