Types of Travel Insurance: What Coverage Can You Choose?

When most people think of travel insurance, they immediately think about health coverage. This is definitely one of the largest and most important types of travel insurance, but it’s far from the only one. Travel insurance comes in a variety of different types, all designed to protect travelers from the unexpected expenses that can add up quickly.

Travel Health Insurance

Most people know this coverage is important to have whenever they travel outside of Canada. Canada’s provincial health plans offer little to no coverage outside the country. Medical costs in the United States and other nations can be incredible expensive. An accident or illness can cost you thousands very quickly.

Travel health insurance is designed to provide coverage for emergency medical needs such as hospitalization, emergency room fees, ambulance costs and prescription drugs while in the hospital. It can also have other benefits such as covering costs to transport you home for further care and covering travel costs for family members.

There is no trip too short to need travel health insurance; an accident or illness can happen at any time, and leave you with mounting bills you are responsible for paying.

Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption

Many portions of a major trip are paid for in advance, and aren’t refundable. This includes airfare, hotels, attraction tickets and more. A major vacation can have you putting out thousands before you ever leave. If you are forced to cancel a trip at the last minute due to an emergency or medical problem, you won’t get any of the money back.

The same goes for a situation in which you must cut a trip short and head home immediately. You will have to pay for the change to your flight and may lose the cost of hotels and other items already paid for.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is designed to pay for these costs in the event of a trip being cancelled or cut short, putting back money in your pocket you might otherwise never see again.

Travel Life Insurance

This provides an additional death benefit to the life insurance you already have in place, and can also pay additional costs such as returning the remains home for burial. In many cases this coverage can be drawn on faster than traditional life insurance, helping to cover the costs of a death abroad.

Travel life insurance is not meant as a full-time life insurance policy, and is only in force during your trip. It is often combined with a travel accident insurance policy that covers you for the costs associated with an accident that fall outside the realm of medical coverage.

Flight Delay and Cancellation and Lost Baggage

Most airlines are not obligated to provide you with any compensation or assistance if your flight is delayed or cancelled due to inclement weather. You could be stuck away from home and have to pay for hotel and meals, and could even miss something important that could cost you. This coverage provides for these situations and helps you pay for the unexpected expenses of a delayed or cancelled flight.

Also included with this coverage is a payment for lost baggage. This allows you to replace the items in your luggage if the airline loses it in transit. Many people travel with valuables in their suitcase, and carrying coverage for that luggage is a good idea since bags are lost in transit every day.

Packages and Policy Choices

Most travel insurance comes in packages that combine the most popular choices together to save you money and make purchasing a policy easy. These packages are the simplest way to get a comprehensive package that covers you for most of the common risks of travel.

For families, policies exist to cover all family members travelling together under one policy. This simplifies the process of getting each family member the coverage they need. It can also save you some money.

For those who travel frequently, a multi-trip policy is the best bet. It allows you to purchase one policy and be covered for every trip you take during the period outlined in the policy – usually a year. That means you don’t have to qualify for and buy a new policy every time you travel, saving you time and money.

Travel insurance comes in many forms, but for most people it makes sense to purchase a package policy rather than picking and choosing. You can, however, simply choose to buy the coverage you feel you need most. The important thing is to be aware of the potential risks and costs while travelling, and guard against them with the right policy.