Going on a Trip? Here’s the 411 on Buying Travel Insurance

Travel insurance once seemed like something airlines offered to distract you while you’re trying to pick out the best plane seat and get boarded. That’s no longer the case amid growing concerns about potential travel interruptions. Travel insurance therefore is growing in popularity.

The number of Americans taking out travel insurance grew to 152 million in 2014. That’s a 17.5 percent increase from 2012. The overwhelmingly popular product was protection against trip interruption or cancellation, which accounted for 85 percent of travel insurance sold.

Some 75 percent of travelers buy a comprehensive plan that covers many of the problems that can arise during a trip. Comprehensive plans insure against medical needs, trip interruption, cancellation, evacuation, baggage loss or damage, etc.

Travelers may find that policies focusing on particular parts of travel cost the same or less than comprehensive plans and offer more potential compensation for those specific elements.  For instance, a traveler may be most interested in trip interruption coverage, medical coverage, or “Cancel for Any Reason” (CFAR) coverage. CFAR provides reimbursement for trip cancellation if a disaster occurs at your destination while many insurance policies won’t.

Before you buy any travel insurance policy, look through the trip cancellation section to find what the policy covers. Scan the exclusions part for what the policy doesn’t cover. Review the perils portion to understand what will trigger coverage. If you’re buying a medical insurance policy, check for requirements on disclosing previously existing health conditions. Disclosure may be necessary if you are to be covered adequately.

You should know that in the case you need to file a claim, the insurance company will require a lot of information. The insurer can be expected to ask for a credit card statement showing travel charges, a doctor’s statement for medical claims and a signed affidavit from you. Processing claims takes on average between three and four weeks.

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