5 Ways to Get Cheap Travel Insurance
After devoting so much time and effort to planning that big getaway, shouldn’t you also take steps to protect your investment? Even the most well-laid plans can go awry, and travel insurance is designed to address such problems. Of course, it only works if you buy it — and buying it can be tremendously confusing.
Although the odds of having to actually “use” a travel insurance policy are generally rare, this type of coverage can save you lots of money and grief. Like many people, however, you may look at travel insurance as an expensive addition to an already expensive trip. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.
Thanks to the Internet, finding cheap travel insurance is easier than ever. As long as you’re willing to do some comparison shopping, you should be able to find travel insurance coverage that suits your needs and budget.
Buy What You Need
Travel insurance products are often bundled into packages. On the one hand, this is convenient because such packages typically cover all the bases. On the other hand, it’s problematic because you’re usually roped into buying coverage that goes well beyond what you really need.
Buying an a la carte policy can be much cheaper, but that’s only true if you are familiar with the offerings and know what you really need. Familiarize yourself with the most common travel insurance products to identify the coverage that you can’t go without. It will be easier for you to then find a policy that ticks all the right boxes without forcing you to pay for unnecessary extras.
Examples of the most common and popular types of travel insurance products include:
- trip cancellation, interruption, and delay coverage
- theft protection, which includes coverage for loss of luggage and personal belongings
- emergency medical assistance, evacuation, and repatriation
- rental car insurance
- accidental death and dismemberment coverage
- 24-hour assistance
- “cancel for any reason” coverage
Check to See if You’re Already Insured
Before shopping around for travel insurance, find out if you already have coverage from an existing insurance policy or another source. When you buy travel insurance a la carte, you will then be able to omit the coverage that you already have from elsewhere and save some money.
Some examples of other sources of insurance coverage for travel include:
- Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance: Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy most likely already covers the loss or damage of your personal belongings even when you are away from home. Get the details to confirm whether it will suit your needs.
- Car Insurance: Your auto insurance policy may already provide coverage for rental cars, which may allow you to avoid the expense of insuring one while away on vacation.
- Health Insurance: Some health insurance policies only apply in limited geographic areas. Others extend coverage even out of the country. The only way to know for sure is by contacting your health insurance provider for more information. Note that Medicare does not extend outside of the country.
- Credit Cards: When you use certain credit cards to book hotels, rental cars, tours, and other travel arrangements, those purchases are often automatically protected by a form of insurance.
Read the Fine Print
Avoid paying for coverage that you don’t need or accidentally buying inadequate coverage by always reading the fine print of any travel insurance policy. In particular, such policies often impose very strict — and often low — limits on various categories of coverage. For personal belongings, for example, it may be wise to perform an inventory to confirm that a policy truly covers the full value of those items.
Look closely at details regarding your out-of-pocket costs for any covered claim. All too often, travelers get sticker shock after realizing that while their claim is being covered, they are still responsible for a staggering percentage of the total.
As with any type of insurance policy, confirm exactly where the coverage will be in effect. Go over any restrictions or limitations in your policy with a fine-tooth comb. If you have questions about any aspect of travel insurance coverage, call and ask before buying it.
Buy Directly Online
One of the best ways to save money on travel insurance is by avoiding travel agents and other intermediaries and purchasing the coverage directly yourself. Travel agencies typically receive commissions of up to 50 percent to steer people toward certain products, and it’s all too easy to end up with coverage that is overpriced and underwhelming.
Thankfully, there’s no need to visit a travel agent to buy travel insurance. The biggest names in the industry all have online presences, and most of them sell directly to consumers over the Internet. This makes it easy to research each company’s offerings and to compare and contrast different policies and products. Just take care to confirm that you are visiting a legitimate site and that the company has a solid reputation in the industry.
As nice as it would be, there’s no way to instantly track down the cheapest and best travel insurance policy. What works for one person may miss the mark for the next, so it’s crucial to do your own research. That’s not too difficult to do as long as you collect quotes from several sources. Ideally, you should get quotes from three to five different companies, and they should be for similar products. You will quickly see that pricing can vary pretty dramatically. Choose the policy that offers the best combination of value and coverage.
Unless you can afford to eat the cost of that upcoming vacation, travel insurance is a must have. Although it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when looking for affordable coverage, the secret lies in being patient, in knowing what you already have and truly need and in comparing and contrasting a decent number of quotes from reputable providers.