Travel Insurance For Today's Travelers

Saturday, March 26, 2016 - by West Oehmig
So you’ve decided to to sign on to a fabulous two-week tour of Italy, visiting magically historical places like Amalfi, Positano, Naples, Rome, Florence, Siena, Perugia, Cinque Terre, Venice, and Milano. 

You have chosen a well respected tour operator, well known for providing excellent service and extra value for you trip investment, introduced to you by a highly experienced and knowledgeable travel consultant who has taken the time to find out exactly what it is you wish to accomplish on this trip, your budget, and other vital information.
Your consultant refers you to one of his travel agent experts with specialized knowledge of Italy and whose contacts there promise an outstanding experience.  
 
Let’s say this trip will cost in the neighborhood of $6,000 per person, or a total of $12,000.  You read carefully the cancellation policies of the tour operator and find them acceptable.  Now it is time to place a deposit with the expert agent to secure your reservation which you handle with a major credit/debit card.Now is the time to begin considering trip insurance to protect your investment and provide coverages for trip interruption, lost/delayed luggage, and most importantly Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical expense, Medical evacuation/Repatriation and other topics of less importance.  Most policies provide for coverage of preexisting conditions if the insurance is purchased within 10 days of making the initial deposit, so it is wise to do so if a medical situation lurks in your past.  You must be fit to travel at the time of purchase with no doctor advising against a trip.

What to do next?

Contact your insurance agent and read your policy to see if you have coverages for foreign travel.  Chances are that you do not have such coverage.  Your insurance agent may be expert protecting your home, possessions, and liability, but not so up on travel insurance.  Time to check with your travel consultant if he or she has a background in insurance and can speak knowledgeably about your options. By the way, having worked in insurance before my travel career, I’m one of these consultants.  I recommend purchasing a policy from and independent travel insurance company versus buying can option from the tour company or cruise line directly, as these protections protect the company more so than the traveler in many cases.  The most expensive part of travel insurance is in cancellation coverage.  One policy I know of allows a traveler to cancel at any time prior to departure for any reason, but the insurance company will reimburse only 75% of the funds paid.  What is absolutely critical is the purchase of emergency medical, medical evacuation, and repatriation.  The rates for these coverages are amazingly low for the protections they offer.  

I might point out that I have personal experience in travel insurance and how precious such policies can be. In December, while cruising the Caribbean with a small group, I fell on the deck and broke my right four ribs.  Fortunately, our next port of call was St. Barts, a French island with some of the best medical facilities in the Caribbean.  X-rays showed my condition clearly, so I was hospitalized immediately.  After two days in their care, I was flown to St. Martin by prop plane (no jets can land on St. Barts short runway) to meet my insurance paid jet that whisked me to a hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, where I spent the next 2 weeks in treatment before the insurance company jet brought me back to Chattanooga and Erlanger.  While my U.S.hospital costs were largely paid by Medicare, anyone without this coverage would have been billed around $250,000. For all services rendered.  Our joint policy cost around $300 without trip cancellation!  

Anyone planning to travel out of the USA must seriously consider purchasing travel insurance from a reputable company.  Otherwise you are simply self insuring your trip.  With all the various threats in the world today, not to mention rogue waves at sea, be smart.
 
Go with great travel companies and make sure you and your family are well insured.  Please call me if I can help you secure proper coverage, 423 825-2003.


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