Asthe travel industry starts to return to “normal” after a difficult few years, the costs of vacations are up and disruptions seem to have escalated. Most of the world is still understaffed and problems such as weather delays, construction issues and mechanical difficulties can interfere with travel plans.
The flight cancellations caused by weather issues over this past holiday season forced many travelers to delay travel for up to a week as they missed prepaid vacations, cruises and tours. The airlines do not reimburse customers for non-airline travel costs. They may cover the cost of a few meals or an airport hotel but that is only in unusual cases.
Vacation packages can range from a few thousand to tens of thousand dollars, and all of that can be lost if you can’t make it to your destination. When hotels and cruise lines say “non-refundable,” they mean exactly that and do not budge.
There are different types of coverage to consider when looking at travel insurance policies, but these are the most important:
Trip cancellation or interruption
This is usually the most important component of coverage, and prices are based on the total trip cost, length of stay and age of guests. Most travel arrangements carry hefty fees or are completely non-refundable in the case of cancellation. Trip cancellation coverage can reimburse for non-refundable fees if you cancel for specific covered reasons. Some policies allow you to cancel for any reason and receive a refund or a credit for future travel.
Trip interruption coverage applies when you are forced to return home before your scheduled return date due to certain circumstances. If you change plans for covered reasons, you may get reimbursed for the unused portion of your trip and the additional costs incurred to travel home.
When traveling out of the U.S., most health insurance policies do not provide any coverage. It is imperative to make sure that you are covered for any medical issues that may arise during your vacation. The amount of coverage can range from $10,000 to $100,000 per person depending on the policy you choose.
Many hospitals abroad require prepayment of the estimated costs before they will admit you if you cannot provide proof of coverage. Emergency evacuation coverage can also be included, with coverages varying from $150,000 to $1,000,000. This is important to have when traveling by cruise ship as a medical emergency at sea could require evacuation via helicopter to the nearest hospital. It can also be needed to transport you from a remote location to a high-quality hospital, or from overseas back to your home.
Travel insurance policies may also include coverage for baggage loss or delay, concierge travel services and other features. It is usually better to purchase a comprehensive policy that covers your entire trip as opposed to multiple policies that cover only flights or only a cruise.
A professional travel agent has access to different policies and can help you choose the best option for your needs. A quality insurance company has trained staff available 24 hours a day that can assist you in an emergency. They can help you rebook flights and hotels, contact an English speaking doctor or attorney, find a qualified hospital and arrange for emergency evacuation flights.
Having the right travel insurance can ease your mind and let you relax and enjoy your well-deserved vacation.
Meet Vacation MOM Vacation MOM is brought to you in partnership with Eugene Airport
Donnita Bassinger has been a travel agent for three decades, and she enjoys sending families on vacations around the world. She is mom to three boys and lives in Eugene with her husband. Tropical vacations are her specialty and she would love to help you plan a great vacation.
Contact Donnita at 541-913-5272 or on facebook @VacationMOM