Will Travel Insurance Help You this Holiday Season?

May 07, 2013

If you’re one of the many millions planning to travel during the holiday season to see family or escape the cold weather and head south for a vacation, you might consider the benefits of buying travel insurance. Better Business Bureau has advice to help you decide if it’s right for you.

According to the US Travel Insurance Association, travel insurance is becoming increasingly more popular. In fact, last year alone consumers spent 1.3 billion on travel insurance covering more than 67 million people – a 20 percent increase since 2004.

If the extent of your travel is a three hour drive to be with friends or relatives, travel insurance won’t offer you much help. Travel insurance will do the most good when purchasing a vacation package or flying long distances and overseas when weather and other unforeseeable problems can ruin an entire trip.

Following are a few options to consider when shopping for travel insurance, as well as reliable BBB advice to help you decide what’s right for you:

Lost, Delayed, or Stolen Baggage Baggage loss insurance reimburses you for lost, stolen or damaged bags. You can even get coverage for costs incurred if your bags are delayed en route.

BBB Advice: Check the airline’s policy for lost and delayed baggage and your homeowner’s insurance policy to avoid any overlapping.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption (TCI) – TCI will cover you if your plans suddenly change and you have to cancel or end your trip early. But, it will only reimburse you for reasons on the insurer’s acceptable list such as hurricanes and other inclement weather, injury, sickness, or death.

BBB Advice: Make sure you read the fine print and know exactly what events are eligible for reimbursement.

Emergency Medical Insurance – If you become sick or injured while traveling, your personal medical insurance will likely pick up the cost of your medical bills. However, if you are traveling to a remote area, it may be a good idea to buy emergency medical evacuation coverage. If adequate treatment is not available at a local hospital, you would be transferred to the nearest adequate medical facility.

BBB Advice: Check your health insurance policy first, as it may be sufficient. Keep in mind that some travel policies will not cover pre-existing medical conditions. Be sure to clarify whether certain aspects of your policy apply only to you, or also those covered by your policy and traveling with you.

Supplier Default – Supplier Default insurance covers deposits or payments lost due to the financial default of a travel supplier.

BBB Advice: While many travel suppliers – such as cruise companies – offer insurance, coverage bought through the supplier won’t recoup any loss to you if the company actually goes out of business.

For more travel advice you can trust, check out www.us.bbb.org for BBB Reliability ReportsTM on airlines, hotels, rental car companies, and other travel-related businesses before you make a purchasing decision.