Ins and Outs of Trip Insurance

Trip insurance is strongly recommended. Period. It's for your protection.

1. Some or all of the monies you pre-pay for a trip are at risk of not being refunded if you have to cancel your trip because of illness, injury, or death of you, your traveling companion, or a family member.

2. If you become ill on your trip or a family member at home becomes extremely ill or dies, it could be very costly if you have to interrupt your trip to return home early.

3. It is also very costly if you need special accomodation because of an illness or injury while traveling. For example, if you end up in a body cast, you may need to occupy two seats when you fly home or even be put into the larger seats in first or business class. You would not want to have to pay that extra cost yourself but you would have to in an emergency if you don't have the right travel insurance coverage.

4. If you need emergency medical assistance on your trip, you will have to deal with the expense and bother without any help if you don't have trip insurance. Remember: Medicare doesn't cover medical expenses when you travel outside the US.

5. If you miss your flight for no fault of your own—as when you are involved in an accident on the way to the airport or the connecting flight you need is cancelled or late—your whole trip can be ruined if it means you won't be able to get to the cruise ship before it sails or to the tour before it starts. It could be expensive to do what it takes to "catch up" with your trip.

6. If your luggage stays behind and you've gone to Paris, you will have to deal with the airline to help you get a change of clothes so you can start enjoying your trip. And the airlines really limit how much help they are willing to be in such a case.

You can get insurance at any time up to the date of travel. But sooner is better because you don't have protection until you buy the insurance. Also, the best level of protection occurs when you buy early enough to have a "pre-existing condition waiver" as part of the policy. A delay in buying trip insurance just reduces the value of the insurance to you.

Travel insurance companies protect you against loss due to unforeseen and unforeseeable situations. Obviously, if you buy a trip knowing that you probably will need to cancel, the insurance company won't want to insure you because you are a bad risk for them. But if the situation is just one of possibly needing to cancel, then they will insure the trip provided you buy their insurance soon after you make your first payment on the trip; that's the way they recognize that you and they are willing to share the risk. It's their incentive to get you to buy their insurance.

Pre-exising conditions. The travel insurance company will allow cancellation due to illness that is part of a "pre-existing condition" as long as the insurance is bought within a given number of days of the initial deposit on the trip. For example, an insurer may require the insurance be purchased within 15 days of the initial trip deposit. This is called a "pre-existing condition waiver." E.g., if you been treated for a heart problem in the past, that is a pre-existing condition. If you have a heart attack and need to cancel your trip because if it, ordinarily the pre-existing condition would disqualify you from getting a refund of the money paid on the trip. However, by getting the insurance early enough to qualify for the pre-existing condition waiver, you would be entitled to the refund.

Do you need insurance if you are not spending much money on your trip?

Let's say you are using your frequent flyer miles to get to your destination and you are staying with friends when you get there. Or that your lodging reservations have lenient cancellation policies. You still should get trip insurance. That's because you still need the medical assistance provisions and the help with lost luggage. And, since the cost of the insurance is based on the amount of trip cost at risk (hardly anything in this case), you can get those medical and luggage benefits at very reduced cost. Why would you not want trip insurance?

How do you get trip insurance?

1. Call (800) 759-3238 or email Carole at Europe Traveler and ask for a trip insurance quote. She will be able to help you pick an insurance policy that gives you the coverage you need at a price you are willing to pay.

2. What Carole will need to know about each traveler to be covered is:

• The departure and return date for the trip. The return date should be the date the travelers finally reach home.

• The name of the cruise line or tour company, if any.

• The main travel destination.

• Each traveler's name as is shown on a photo ID (when a passport is not necessary) or passport.

• Each traveler's date of birth.

• The cost of the trip for each traveler. Include only those costs that are at risk; for example, if there is no penalty if you don't pick up the rental car that's booked for you, don't include it as a cost that is at risk.

• The date when the initial payment of at-risk money was made for the trip.

• Your phone number and address.

• The best time to call you with a quote.


Special note for divers and others indulging in "hazardous" activities

Most trip insurance policies do not cover you for injuries sustained while engaging in scuba diving, bungee jumping, sky diving, or similar risky activities. If you plan on doing anything that could be construed as unusually hazardous, contact Carole for more information. She will help you identify and buy a policy that will work for your trip.

Divers: have you considered joining the Divers Alert Network? DAN members are eligible for dive accident, group term life, and equipment insurance. As a diver myself, I would not be without my DAN membership. The cost is minimal and the benefits immeasurable, such as 24/7 emergency hotline assistance in the event of a dive accident. Contact Carole for a referral or more information about DAN.

Nondivers: insurance from Divers Alert Network may be a good choice for you, too, because DAN's insurance provides such good medical coverage while you are traveling. Plus, you buy a policy annually, so all the trips you take during the year will be covered. Remember, however, that the DAN insurance is not trip cancellation insurance. For that you will need to buy a policy from another travel insurance company for each trip you take.

Travel Experience PPO Box 99 - Clements, CA 95227-0099 - (800) 759-3238 - (209) 759-3733 - Email

Registered California Seller of Travel #2036932-40

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