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Choose The Travel Insurance That is Right For You

Aug 17, 2007
It is something that we all need if we are planning to take a trip overseas. Travel insurance will cover most costs in the event of a delayed or canceled trip, death or illness and lost baggage.

The situations that are commonly covered by travel insurance are emergency medical assistance, death, a canceled trip and damaged baggage. You can generally take out travel insurance for any or all of these options, although it may not always be necessary. Make sure you understand exactly what your policy does and does not cover.

If you are traveling overseas, always check your existing medical insurance to see whether it covers you away from home - you may not need to take out extra travel insurance. And you may not need to take out as much travel insurance if you have a major credit card - most credit cards include some kind of basic travel or trip cancellation insurance.

So if you do need travel insurance, where do you get it from? Most cruise lines, travel agents, airlines and tour companies will provide adequate and comprehensive travel insurance. If you are taking a cruise, it may be easier to let the cruise line handle it - they may also be able to offer you a lower rate as they can buy group rate coverage.

Some insurance won't cover pre-existing medical conditions or participation in dangerous activities such as skiing or mountaineering. Decide whether you need this type of insurance before you travel - most insurance companies won't allow you to add so-called dangerous sports coverage to your policy once you are actually there.

The cost of travel insurance can be a lot higher if you are traveling to certain countries that are considered to be risky or unsafe. These "travel advisories" are maintained on a list by the US Department of State. American citizens are still forbidden to travel to Cuba and obtaining travel insurance to go there is almost impossible.

Some insurance policies will cover acts of terrorism while other policies won't - always check the small print or contact your insurance company if the policy isn't clear. Check whether your policy covers you in the event of natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes - especially if you are traveling to certain parts of the world.

If you are traveling to a country where riots, civil disturbances, strikes or other outbreaks are likely to affect your travel plans, look for travel insurance that specifically covers those possibilities - many policies exclude them.

And airlines reserves the right to cancel your flight and offer you a full refund in the event of civil war, hostilities, riots or other things determined to be "acts of God". As far as lost luggage is concerned, airlines insure your luggage against loss or damage to some degree - you can take out extra insurance if you want to.

If you are traveling as part of a group - often defined in the travel industry as 10 people or more - it is almost certainly easier and cheaper to take out group travel insurance. As long as your group is traveling together, it should qualify.

And so-called "family plans" are often less expensive when it comes to travel insurance for families traveling together - family may include extended family such as cousins, grandparents and various in-laws.

Like most insurance products - travel insurance can be confusing. It's certainly worth taking out the right insurance - at the right price - so you can actually enjoy that long awaited trip.
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