What kind of insurance do travelers need and which one is better to skip

Many Americans book flights or hotels online. Choose a flight; find a hotel room but get to the end of the transaction and you won’t be able to check out until you sign up for or opt out of travel insurance.

In the travel industry, travel insurance remains one of the most misunderstood and some may even be misleading issues.

Millions of Americans did it back in 2019 and 2020 with the best of intentions, only to discover during the pandemic that the insurance they bought was essentially useless. Somewhere in the company policy – never shown on the web page when travelers had to make a choice – there was a paragraph that said companies did not cover pandemics.

These are millions and millions of dollars wasted by travelers, not only because of the cost of policies, but also because of the inability to return their money for canceled flights or trips.

The two largest types of insurance are trip cancellation and disruption insurance, as well as medical evacuation and repatriation insurance. The first is what travelers tend to be most familiar with. In theory, it should cover trips that are canceled or interrupted — for example, if a flight is delayed causing the traveler to miss a connection or cruise, or if you lose a few days at a hotel. Or, if severe weather occurs, such as a hurricane, it will affect the destination.

Usually this policy costs from 6 to 10% of the cost of the trip. But the devil is in the details, the fine print of every policy that most travelers never bother to read – and that’s nearly impossible to do when buying travel online.

Policies usually have a number of exclusions and exclusions, such as denial of coverage for travelers over 75 or those with pre-existing medical conditions. These rules may exclude travel to certain destinations, such as North Korea or Syria. And they may not apply in certain weather-related situations—for example, you can’t buy a policy after a hurricane has been officially named.

And, of course, during the pandemic, there was a “pandemic clause.”

In contrast, medical evacuation and repatriation insurance is, in theory, essential insurance that every traveler should have in case they become ill or injured while traveling. Most health insurance policies don’t cover you outside of the US, so this type of travel insurance is especially important if you’re traveling overseas.

The best policies pay to have you medically stabilized in that location first; then the insurance company will consult with your doctor, who knows your medical history best. Based on this consultation, the insurance will take you home – the evacuation and repatriation for which it is named – to the medical facility and doctor of your choice.

Most medical evacuation and repatriation policies are sold annually, and many have family plans. I’ve been using my policy for over 20 years and luckily…

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