Posted on Monday, 27th December 2010 by

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You have just made a deposit on a special vacation to celebrate an anniversary, mark a special event or you are finally going on that dream vacation.  Planning your trip is your first step and there are things to consider, picking out the destination, selecting a hotel, will you need a rental car, the flight and resort selection or cruise line itinerary.

If you book a cruise, buy a package deal at a resort or book a group tour the agent handling your vacation plans will likely suggest purchasing travel insurance.  If you think only in terms of protecting your vacation investment then travel insurance may seem unnecessary.  However, travel insurance is much more than securing the funds you spent to go on your vacation, travel insurance can be a life saver.

The best reason to buy travel insurance is for peace of mind.  Now that we’re in that “senior” area, and unfortunately we’re not talking about our school days, we need to think about unexpected events that could impact our dream vacation plans.  As your vacation dates approach you or a parent could become ill and need care leaving you in a position of deciding what to do about your vacation.  I once found myself in severe pain in the middle of the night while away from home on business with only a small town hospital for treatment.  Fortunately it was not a serious problem but it is an event that I remember when I plan a vacation; you could have an unexpected health problem.  You need to determine your accessibility to medical services at your vacation destination.

If you are going to be on a cruise or visiting an exotic remote area you may require special transportation to a medical facility in an emergency. I want to be sure the insurance policy covers the cost of an unexpected illness or medical emergency, especially if it requires special transportation to a proper medical facility for treatment.  You could end up paying thousands of dollars without travel insurance.  The last thing you want to be worrying about is how to pay all the costs when you need to focus on your recovery or that of a loved one.   If your vacation plans include a cruise, cruise lines are normally only prepared for minor medical problems while at sea.  If you need significant medical care the cruise ship will arrange for your transport from the next port of call to the nearest medical facility in a medical emergency, but you will be responsible for the costs.  Travel insurance will cover those costs up to the limit of the policy you purchase.  Some policies include an option to pay some of your medical expenses as well, depending on your needs and the policy you decide to purchase.

A second concern I have when selecting a policy is covering the cost of a delay in arriving at my departure point due to bad weather, especially when my favorite time to get away is winter.  I want to get out of the cold and enjoy my warm vacation, not sit in an airport wondering just how long the delay will be and how will it affect my reservations etc.  If you are going on a cruise and miss the embarkation of your ship some policies will pay for your transportation to the next port so you won’t “miss the boat” for the entire cruise.  Travel insurance can pay for unexpected hotel needs, additional costs for change in flights as well as lost/damaged luggage up to the amount specified by the policy.  Check your policy before you leave so you’ll know what kinds of support services are available through your policy.  Some insurers provide support 24/7 with an 800 number you can call should you need help changing flights or getting a hotel if you are delayed by bad weather.

If you have a last minute family emergency that forces you to cancel your vacation plans, nearly every policy includes trip cancellation with a list of what the insurance company will reimburse you for, up to the actual cost of the vacation.

Resorts and cruise lines offer their own travel insurance, however they may not be the best choice since they are directly involved in your travel, i.e. have a vested interest in whether they reimburse you or not.  There are many companies that offer travel insurance and you can easily compare plans on the internet selecting the one that best meets the needs of your specific travel plans.  These policies typically cost less than the insurance offered by the cruise line, resort or tour company.

The peace of mind I get from buying travel insurance is worth every penny.  Travel insurance policies range in price from $10 to $20 a day per person depending on your age and preexisting  medical conditions and the destination of your travel plans.  Be sure to read your policy thoroughly and take a copy along.  When you complete the policy information, be sure you provide accurate information since any discrepancy could lead to a denial of a claim.

Safe and healthy travels!


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Nancy Holston

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The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances. Travel policies and packages are subject to change without notice. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact travel providers and hotels at the time of your bookings to confirm pricing, itinerary, and all costs. The comments and observations are limited to the author’s personal experience and your results may vary significantly. This article and replies to comments are not intended to substitute for professional travel services. Our reply is time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change.

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