SOURCE: US Travel Insurance Association

US Travel Insurance Association

September 26, 2013 15:10 ET

Why Travel Insurance Matters

What to Know

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Sep 26, 2013) - Travel insurance is designed to help travelers when the unforeseen happens. According to the US Travel Insurance Association, the most popular travel insurance is trip cancellation. Often sold as a package, or comprehensive plan, it includes three types of coverage in a single policy:

  • Financial helps protect against nonrefundable travel expenses like airline tickets, cruises, and baggage loss, plus unexpected expenses.
  • Medical helps reimburse emergency room and hospital costs and provides medical evacuation.
  • Assistance helps connect policy-holders with needed services and resources in case of emergency.

Most travel insurance policies cost 4 - 8% of the total trip, which, in case of an emergency, more than pays for itself.

High Satisfaction Rate

Travel insurance companies report high satisfaction among clients who have been affected by illness, injury, or natural catastrophe while traveling. In a 2012 survey of people whose travels were impacted by natural catastrophes, for instance, 96% of those with travel insurance reported satisfaction. 

What to Know

No two travel insurance policies are alike. They are heavily regulated by each state, and vary by travel insurance provider and policy. Companies design their policies to comply with state regulations and to be as easy to read as possible. Just as with any insurance, travel insurance policies spell out which circumstances are covered and which are excluded. And, like all insurance, travel insurance policies vary, and may not cover all situations. 

Purchasing Travel Insurance

Consumers today have many choices, including comparison websites that offer travel insurance from various companies. Travel insurance is also available from travel agents, airline web sites, online travel agencies, insurance brokers, and travel suppliers such as tour operators, cruise lines, and hotels.

When purchasing travel insurance, the US Travel Insurance Association recommends that you:

  • Carefully review the policy to be sure you understand what is and what is not covered. Contact the company providing the insurance if you have questions. Most companies have consumer representatives who will answer questions.
  • Be aware that a less expensive policy may not offer as complete coverage as a policy that costs more.
  • Know that there is almost always a "free look" or refund period, during which time you can review the policy, and obtain a full refund if it does not meet your needs.

To learn more about travel insurance, and for a list of UStiA member companies, visit www.ustia.org.