If you’ve already traveled with Huckleberry Travel, you know that we continually advise our clients to put comprehensive travel insurance in place for all of their leisure travel. And when we have those conversations with our travelers, there are certain questions that come up pretty regularly.
Many airlines and tour operators provide “trip protection” coverage but that’s different from having a comprehensive travel insurance policy. These companies don’t use the word “insurance” because it’s often not offered by an actual insurance company that provides a full range of coverage. Huckleberry Travel is not an insurance broker, so we can’t actually sell you a policy. But we always generally recommend buying travel insurance, not tour protection coverage.
We have preferred relationships with a couple of different providers of travel insurance, which means that we can help you get a quote for coverage for your trip, we get preferred pricing for our clients, and if you need to file a claim, we’re familiar with those insurance providers so that we can help facilitate the claims process.
So, what sorts of things are covered by travel insurance? If the word “insurance” is used, that means the insurance is offered by a licensed insurance company approved by the “insurance commissioner” of your home state or another state official who supervises insurance carriers. So, policies often differ state-by-state, but broadly speaking, the policies that our clients purchase usually cover things like:
Trip Cancelation or Trip Interruption. If you, or a family member becomes ill or passes away, and you need to cancel your trip, an insurance policy may reimburse you for a portion of the cost of your vacation. They’ll also provide coverage if you have to cancel because of a work emergency, an extreme weather event, or a terrorist attack. Our preferred provider, AIG Travel Guard, actually has coverage that might allow you to define your “family” for purposes of coverage, so that if your best friend or someone who’s “just like a mother to me” becomes sick, you’ll be covered. Travel Guard policies will sometimes even protect you if you need to cancel because your pet becomes sick or dies.
Lost or Stolen Baggage or Personal Effects. We had a client who’s iPhone was stolen on his honeymoon. The cost of an insurance policy was much less than the cost of replacing his expensive smartphone.
Delayed Luggage. If your luggage doesn’t arrive in time, and you need to purchase necessary personal effects until it catches up with you.
Medical Coverage for Illness or Injury while Traveling. Most US travel insurance doesn’t provide coverage while you’re traveling. A comprehensive policy can cover you, in the event that you suddenly need care—anything from treatment for the stomach flu to a broken ankle or even an expensive emergency operation. The peace of mind in knowing that you’ll get the best possible care while traveling abroad is invaluable.
Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains. We have some travel and tour providers that actually require this coverage in order to travel with them. While you can certainly purchase it as stand alone coverage, why not put the full range of protection in place?
Accidental Death or Dismemberment. No one wants to think about this one, but…well…it’s usually in most of the policies that our clients suggest, as well.
You can also add coverage for car rental collision, or accidents that occur while you’re on the plane. You can upgrade policies to provide higher limits of coverage, and if you put the policy in place within a certain number of days, your coverage can also cover carrier default. (Meaning, if your airline, cruise line, or tour operator goes belly-up, and you’re left holding an empty bag—you’ve got coverage.)
The age of the traveler and the cost of the trip will determine the premium for the policy, but when you consider the security and peace of mind. If the travelers have young children or older parents, then travel insurance will probably be important.
Lots of folks feel like they’ve got coverage through the credit card they used to purchase their vacation. Certainly, there are lots of cards out there — usually with high annual fees — that provide some of the coverage that you might find in an insurance policy. But those policies are often quite limited in terms of what they cover. It’s important to make certain that whatever policy you select has sufficient coverage for your needs. While your travel advisor, like Huckleberry Travel, can’t tell you what coverage your credit card might provide, we can put you in touch with a representative from one of our preferred insurance companies, so that you can have all of your questions about coverage and claims answered clearly and fully.
We always recommend a comprehensive insurance policy to our clients. When you think about all of the “what ifs” a good insurance policy can truly help you stop worrying, so that you can enjoy your vacation.
If you’d like information about how to cover your trip, we’d be happy to put you in touch with a reputable insurer, like one of our preferred travel insurance providers. Even if we didn’t book your trip for you, we’re happy to help you learn more about how a travel insurance policy can protect you. Just drop us a line!