When you’re planning your relaxing vacation, you probably don’t want to consider what would happen if something goes wrong. So when your travel agent, or the cruise line, suggests you consider travel insurance, you probably just wave it away. After all, you’re healthy, your family is fine, nothing to worry about.
Even if you don’t think something could go awry, travel insurance is a good idea. Things do happen in life. Snowstorms delay flights, suitcases go missing, kids break legs. So, for the price of a couple of bottles of wine with dinner, you can buy peace of mind and know that your relaxing cruise will stay stress-free, no matter what.
What Kind Do You Need?
Most people have homeowners or renters insurance, and it will cover you if you lose something on your vacation like your watch or your laptop. But relying on your homeowners insurance isn’t the best idea. It can end up raising your premiums, and costing you more in the end than a separate policy might have. And it doesn’t cover medical issues or trip cancellation.
The best choice is a travel insurance policy. But what kind? Every insurer offers different levels of coverage with different sets of guidelines defining who and what it covers.
The first thing you need to know is there are two kinds of travel insurance – primary and secondary. With a primary insurance policy, you are paid for the event or the loss outright. A secondary policy only kicks in after your homeowners or renters or medical insurance has already paid out.
A primary insurance policy is more expensive, but it can be less complicated. You won’t have to wait until your initial policy has paid out, and it will save you months of sending receipts back and forth.
Medical insurance can be another tricky issue if you have a “pre-existing condition”. You can still buy travel insurance that covers medical expenses, but there may be restrictions on how many “lookback days” the insurance company requires, which means how long have you been symptom-free in order for the company to cover you. Some policies require 180 days with no symptoms; some go as low as 60 days. If you have health concerns, check what your existing health insurance will cover, and then talk to a travel agent about getting the best policy to suit your needs.
The other kind of policy you should consider is trip cancellation. If something happens that requires you to miss your vacation, you can get your trip cost reimbursed, depending on the reason.
There are many places where you can buy a travel insurance policy. A travel agent is a good choice, particularly one whose specialty is cruising. You can sit down with them and outline your particular situation, and they can recommend a good policy for you. There are also several good websites like Travel Guard, which allow you to enter your information, and get a number of instant insurance quotes.
You can also buy trip insurance directly from the cruise lines. Most have their insurance packages on their websites for you to look at. It can be convenient to buy your insurance straight from your cruise line, but some travel agents say their policies are overpriced.
No matter what kind of policy you choose, some things are just not covered. If a flash flood prevents you from boarding your cruise, you will be covered. If it rains your entire vacation, you will not be.
Whatever kind of travel policy you decide to go with, know what it covers and what it doesn’t. A few moments of your time thinking about travel insurance before you leave can save you months of hassle when you get home.