Many a bride and groom have planned for hours, trying to insure the honeymoon of their dreams. Yet one often overlooked item, travel insurance, is an element that should be on every newlywed's checklist.
We surfed the web, called insurance companies, spoke to travel agents, and put together the guide below. Keep in mind, this information is designed to inform rather than instruct, and to provide you with a better understanding of the travel insurance landscape. Taking the time to determine what your travel insurance needs are can significantly reduce your financial risk, and give you peace of mind as you focus on other wedding-related issues -- like the flavor of the cake.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is a stand-alone coverage that can be purchased in a bundled group, or in a custom designed package. Ideally, it specifically fills the gaps of your existing insurance coverage.
Should You Buy Travel Insurance?
Every couple's insurance needs differ, so start with a detailed review of the existing insurance policies you carry. You might be covered adequately enough already. Check your coverage in the following categories:
- Car Insurance: One of the biggest rental car rip-offs is enticing you to purchase insurance at the counter. Most car insurance policies insure you if you drive a rental vehicle anywhere in the U.S. But, be sure to purchase additional coverage if you plan to drive in a foreign country.
- Health Insurance: Most policies cover medical and dental emergencies that occur while traveling domestically, but you could be left alone if an emergency happens overseas. Buy special health insurance if necessary. Some travel insurance policies exclude pre-existing conditions in the fine print, so be sure to ask your agent.
- Homeowner's/Renter's Insurance: Most policies cover loss or theft of baggage and valuables while traveling. Accidents are also usually covered. Domestic travel might not require additional coverage, but traveling abroad might call for significant additions to your coverage.
The following is a list of common travel insurance options you may want to consider. Most can be purchased separately.
- Trip Cancellation: The most commonly purchased form of travel insurance, trip cancellation insurance protects you in case you are unable to depart on your trip as planned. This policy protects against circumstances such as unpredictable accidents and sudden illness, and is available as a separate coverage. In addition, this coverage will cover default or bankruptcy of your airline, cruise line, or tour operator.
- Trip Interruption/Delay: This coverage will reimburse you for any financial loss you sustain due to an interruption in your trip. This policy is important to have if you've planned multiple connections or destinations, increasing the chances of being delayed somewhere along the way.
- Car Collision: This coverage is usually required if you are in a foreign country. Vital in places like Mexico, where tourists can be thrown in jail and made to pay damages, even if not at fault for an accident.
- Delay/Loss/Theft of Baggage: This policy usually provides a very low reimbursable amount of cash. However, some coverage is better than none, especially if you don't have homeowner's/renter's insurance.
- Destination Disasters: This coverage will reimburse you in case a natural disaster, such as a quarantine, flood, or earthquake, renders your destination unsafe.
- Ground Transportation: This insurance covers you to and from the airport. It will often reimburse you for costs incurred due to delays caused by ground transportation or an accident. Often included with trip interruption insurance.
- Medical/Dental Coverage: This additional coverage is crucial when traveling overseas. Aim for a plan that protects you against any out-of-pocket expenses.
- Emergency Medical Evacuation: This policy covers transportation costs associated with emergency medical situations.
The Fine Print
After you determine your specific needs, be sure to ask your insurance agent questions based on your research.
Never purchase a plan without first reading the fine print carefully. Red flags, such as non-coverage of pre-existing medical conditions, can be hidden.
Buy options separately. Discounted, bundled offerings usually include policies you don't need, so why buy them at all?
If you purchase a trip cancellation policy, be sure it is not a trip cancellation waiver. Waivers are less expensive, but often cover you only if your trip is cancelled a certain number of days ahead of time.
How Much Will It Cost?
Costs are determined by a number of variables including the overall value of the trip, your valuables, age, and length of stay.
For basic travel cancellation, emergency medical, and lost baggage coverage, you should expect to pay a premium roughly equivalent to 5% of your total travel package costs.
Surf the net and shop around to find coverage and prices that best meet your needs. American Express has a very affordable $79 Medical Package that provides a translator, covers out-of-pocket expenses, one person's transportation to your bedside, and up to $50,000 in coverage.
If you can't afford to lose the deposit and cost of your trip, insure it. Why take the financial and medical risk, especially when traveling abroad, when there are affordable insurance plans available? Put your mind at ease and feel confident about one of the happiest trips of your lifetime -- your honeymoon.