when do you need travel insurance?

Denver Airport Under Snow — photograph by Ashley Niblock in Wikipedia Commons

Q: When do you need travel insurance?
A: You never know in advance.

And that's precisely the point! Travel insurance provides valuable protection in the event of the unexpected. Here are a few scenarios that my clients have recently dealt with.
  1. A child came down with an ear infection and the family was unable to fly.
  2. A flight was cancelled because of bad weather, and the couple lost the first day of their vacation.
  3. A family missed a connecting flight because their first flight was delayed.
  4. A woman fell down the subway stairs in Barcelona and required surgery.
Trip cancellation for medical reasons is the first reason to purchase travel insurance. If your infant comes down with an ear infection the day before the flight, his pediatrician will advise you not to fly. What happens if you're within the cancel deadline? But if you have trip cancellation insurance, you can breathe easy. You'll get your non-refundable deposits back if you have to cancel for qualifying medical reasons.

Cancellation protection also applies if there is a death or serious illness in your immediate family, requiring you to stay home or return home early.

Trip interruption or delays are also covered. If a scheduled common carrier cancels a flight, or if a delayed flight prevents you from making your connection, travel insurance can protect you from cancellation penalties that aren't your fault. If you are hit with added the expense of spending a night elsewhere, travel trip delay or interruption insurance can also help.

When my client fell down the stairs and broke her leg, her medical expenses were covered (minus a $50 deductible). She didn't have to hassle with her health insurance company back home for reimbursement. Travelex paid it all - and was even available to help with special arrangements!

If you become seriously ill in a remote destination and require hospitalization, trip insurance also provides for medical evacuation as part of the standard package. And if you want to be evacuated to your hospital of choice, anywhere in the world, there's even a policy (MedJet Assist) that provides for this.

Q: When is the best time to purchase travel insurance?
A: Before you get sick, injured, or face weather delays.
Q: And how can I possibly know when that will happen?
A: That's precisely the point.

The best time to purchase travel insurance is as soon as you put down a non-refundable deposit, or purchase air travel. You'll be covered for anything that occurs after the policy becomes effective. Read the fine print in the policy because you should always rely on that wording, not on what an insurance salesperson or travel consultant says.

Brownell Travel works almost exclusively with Travelex travel insurance. We have found them to provide comprehensive policies at all price points and have years of positive experience working with them.

Travelex travel insurance (search here on Google)
copyright (c) 2012 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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