Whether you’re hitting the Rockies for a skiing vacation, are heading on a business trip, or you’re travelling to enjoy some sun, sand and sea, preparing for the unexpected is sensible. From flight cancellations to medical expenses, travel insurance covers you for an array of worst-case vacation scenarios. Depending on your circumstances, there are a number of policies to choose from. As a general guide, a comparison of the primary cover that each agency provides are:
When you head for the airport and look up at the departures board, the last thing you want to see are the words “DELAYED” or “CANCELLED”. To help out, most major travel insurance agencies offer cover for such scenarios, paying out 100% of your vacation cost should it end up being cancelled. The exception to the rule here is Seven Corners, who will give you up to $50,000 towards the cost – but since most vacations don’t amount to this, it’s trivial. Likewise, should you be unable to travel as a result of an injury, accident or other valid reason, the majority of travel insurance agencies pay out up to 150% of the expenses incurred as a result.
In the event of a delay, CSA Travel Protection will pay out up to $2,000 in compensation – such as to cover the cost of your unplanned overnight accommodation outside the airport. This is slightly less with other agencies: Allianz Global Assistance pays out up to $1,600; USI Affinity and Seven Corners offer up to $1,500; Travel Safe, MH Ross, Travel Insured International and Travelex pay out up to $1000; AIG Travel Guard only pays out up to $750. It’s also important to consider that different travel insurance agencies have different minimum trip delays – meaning that you have to be delayed for a predetermined amount of hours before you can claim compensation. Travel Safe and Travelex both allow you to claim after being delayed for five hours, whilst CSA Travel Protection, MH Ross, Allianz Global Assistance and others allow you to claim after six hours. Be wary of USI Affinity, though: you have to wait up to twelve hours before they will enable you to claim compensation for delays – which could leave you in a tricky situation if it’s late in the evening and you need to pay for a hotel room!
If the worst happens and you or a travelling companion are involved in an accident, medical care is essential. The fees accrue quickly, and are often extortionate – so having travel insurance in this instance is of paramount importance. In the case of emergency surgery or medical attention, CSA Travel Protection will pay for medical expenses of up to $500K, and repatriation costs of up to £2M. In contrast, Travel Safe, USI Affinity and Seven Corners (amongst other leading agencies) offer up to $1M repatriation costs – and the amount you’re covered for medical expenses varies from agency to agency. Whilst many offer up to $100K or more, AIG Travel Guard only offers up to $25K for medical expenses, whilst Allianz Global Assistant offers up to $50K.
If you’re going to be involved in more “high-risk” activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking or winter sports, you need to make sure you’re covered for higher medical expenses and repatriation. If not, you may not need to be covered for so much – but bear in mind that an accident can happen even when you’re wandering through a lazy, sun-soaked village, so it always pays to be covered just in case!
As with any insurance, the price of travel insurance varies from agency to agency, and from trip to trip. For instance, with weather conditions being unpredictable at certain times of the year, travel insurance for a cruise reflects this: your cover factors in potential delays, cancellations, or premature docking should your cruise be affected by a storm, and the travel insurance quote varies accordingly. So whether you’re planning on relaxing in a resort on the Côte d’Azur, or are taking on an adventure in the Antarctic, it’s always best to visit travel insurance agencies direct to get an exact quote before booking.
As a guide, on average you should be paying around 6% of the cost of your trip to get a “good deal”. Too much more, and you’re being overcharged; too much less, and the cover may not be sufficient!
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