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Insurance Terms

24 Hour AD&D

Before you leave, consider taking the precaution to protect your loved ones in the unlikely event of loss of life or serious injury.  An AD&D policy can bring you peace of mind.  Your plan options include Flight Only AD&D, Common Carrier AD&D, and 24-Hour AD&D.  Flight Only D&D pays the traveler’s beneficiaries when the death or serious injury occurs while boarding or during an airplane flight.  Common Carrier coverage pays beneficiaries if the event occurs on any form of public transport.  More complete coverage over the course of a trip is available with 24-Hour AD&D, which is offered by just a select number of companies.  Before making your choice, be sure to check on whether you already have an AD&D plan in place that would cover you during the trip.  You have a number of payout options — you can buy coverage in smaller or greater dollar amounts (up to one million).  If you plan to participate in hazardous sports or activities while traveling, or if you’re traveling into a war zone, you may need to buy special insurance for coverage related to those scenarios.

24 Hour Assistance Service

Many insurers provide 24 Hour Assistance Service to their policy holders.  This service typically becomes available when you actually start your trip.  This may include medical referral services, emergency cash transfer, legal referral, locating lost or stolen items, replacement of prescription medication, interpretation or translation, pet and vehicle return.  See your policy for additional details on your coverage.

Amateur Sports

If the reason, or any part of a reason for your travels is to participate in amateur sport(s), or if you are bringing a group of travelers together to participate in such amateur sport, you should consider purchasing additional coverage.  This is typically only for organized sports, such as collegiate or scholastic teams.  Additional protection will cover injuries sustained in the course of participating in such amateur sports, and will often also provide additional coverage for travel to and from the particular activity.

Baggage Delay

If your bags do not arrive at your destinationpromptly, baggage delay coverage allows you to buy the immediate essentials youwill need and get reimbursed for that.

Baggage Loss

Should your luggage get stolen, damaged, or lost during the course of your trip, you will appreciate having this type of coverage to reimburse you.  Be aware that if you plan to carry items valued at a thousand dollars or more, you should consider listing them as possessions on your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy.  Insurance carriers typically will ask for proof of ownership, so keep receipts for the belongings you travel with whenever you can.  Some travelers have found it useful to photograph the items in their luggage in order to remember what they packed and keep a record for insurance purposes.

Cancel for any reason

You will not find this type of coverage sold by itself — you will see it offered instead as part of some comprehensive travel insurance plans.  CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) Travel Insurance allows you to recoup the nonrefundable payments and/or deposits you have made, regardless of your reason to cancel.

Cancel for medical

The last thing you want to worry about just before your vacation is getting sick.  Unfortunately, it happens though.  To protect yourself from losing all of the trip expenses you have already paid for, a trip insurance policy that allows you to cancel for medical reasons will reimburse you for pre-paid, nonrefundable travel expenses.  Most policies will offer this protection in the event that you or your travel companion are sick, and some will also offer this protection in the event that illness strikes a family member (must usually be blood relative).   Please be mindful that a cold will typically not suffice as reason to cancel for reimbursement purposes.  You will typically have to present a physician’s note advising the cancellation on or before your scheduled departure date.  See your policy for additional details about requirements for coverage and the type of expenses that may be reimbursed. 

Cancel for work reasons

It’s bad enough to look forward to a trip for weeks — then suddenly have to cancel it for a work-related surprise!  You can at least recoup your prepaid travel expenses, however, under a “cancel for work reasons” plan, provided the circumstances fall within the guidelines of the policy you purchased.  Review your policy for qualifying circumstances.

Common Carrier AD&D

Before you leave, consider taking the precaution to protect your loved ones in the unlikely event of loss of life or serious injury.  An AD&D policy can bring you peace of mind.  Your plan options include Flight Only AD&D, Common Carrier AD&D, and 24-Hour AD&D.  Flight Only D&D pays the traveler’s beneficiaries when the death or serious injury occurs while boarding or during an airplane flight.  Common Carrier coverage pays beneficiaries if the event occurs on any form of public transport.  More complete coverage over the course of a trip is available with 24-Hour AD&D, which is offered by just a select number of companies.  Before making your choice, be sure to check on whether you already have an AD&D plan in place that would cover you during the trip.  You have a number of payout options — you can buy coverage in smaller or greater dollar amounts (up to one million).  If you plan to participate in hazardous sports or activities while traveling, or if you’re traveling into a war zone, you may need to buy special insurance for coverage related to those scenarios.

Emergency Medical

Before you travel it’s easy to envision your trip from the picture-perfect scenes of your travel brochures. Hopefully you get to experience all the enjoyment they promise! If something goes amiss, though, such as an unexpected illness or accident, think how relieved you’ll be to recall that you and your travel companions bought insurance to cover the expenses of transporting the victim to the appropriate treatment center, hospital, or even back home.  Unexpected evacuation costs can run up to colossal sums, unaffordable to many people.  Do not rely on crowd funding to get yourself or your college-age child back to the USA — just buy the right insurance.  Be sure to consider “hospital of choice.”

Hospital of Choice – Medical Evacuation

We’ve already talked about covering yourself for an emergency medical evacuation, where your insurance provider and the physician on your case would decide which facility was best to transport you to if you fell ill or experienced an accident.  Insurers have already determined “hospitals of excellence” that they rely on all over the world.  “Hospital of Choice,” however, is a special option that permits you to indicate where you’d prefer to be taken if you needed medical care while traveling.  If you travel repeatedly to the same country or countries, you may already know the reputation of the facility.   Consider a Multi-Trip Evacuation Plan, which not only offers a discount on the insurance, but also is set up such that you make the decision once for multiple trips.

You can buy Hospital of Choice coverage as part of a special Emergency Medical Evacuation policy, or you may find it included in your comprehensive plan. 

Employment Layoff

You may be eligible for Travel Delay or Cancellation coverage if you have been laid off by your employer.  In order to be eligible, the termination must have been involuntary, and must have occurred a certain time after your coverage takes effect (for example, you may not be eligible if you are laid off the day following the effective date of the policy).  Please see your specific policy for additional information, as some providers may also require that you had been employed by the same organization for a year, and/or may deem you ineligible for coverage if you are an independent contractor or self-employed.

Financial Default

Have you heard the story of a New Hampshire couple that lost the deposit they made on their wedding reception when the function hall they chose went out of business?  Similar risks exist in the travel industry, and that is why Financial Default Coverage is important.  If, through no fault of your own, your trip is threatened by the fact that your chosen airline, cruise line, or similar travel supplier ceases operations, you will be glad this coverage is included in your plan.  The coverage is designed to allow you to continue the trip.   Of course, if another carrier carries on with your trip, you may not need to file for assistance.  

Flight Only AD&D

Before you leave, consider taking the precaution to protect your loved ones in the unlikely event of loss of life or serious injury.  An AD&D policy can bring you peace of mind.  Your plan options include Flight Only AD&D, Common Carrier AD&D, and 24-Hour AD&D.  Flight Only D&D pays the traveler’s beneficiaries when the death or serious injury occurs while boarding or during an airplane flight.  Common Carrier coverage pays beneficiaries if the event occurs on any form of public transport.  More complete coverage over the course of a trip is available with 24-Hour AD&D, which is offered by just a select number of companies.  Before making your choice, be sure to check on whether you already have an AD&D plan in place that would cover you during the trip.  You have a number of payout options — you can buy coverage in smaller or greater dollar amounts (up to one million).  If you plan to participate in hazardous sports or activities while traveling, or if you’re traveling into a war zone, you may need to buy special insurance for coverage related to those scenarios.

Hazardous Sports

If you are planning an adventurous vacation that may involve hazardous sports, you may want to consider buying additional protection.  While most travel insurance policies will provide some coverage for medical treatment or medical emergencies during your trip, most of them will not provide coverage for injury sustained in the course of hazardous sports or activities.  If you plan on engaging in hazardous sports that are excluded from your comprehensive policy (these often include skydiving, skiing, white water rafting), you will need to purchase an additional rider to your policy in advance of your trip. 

Hurricane & Weather

In the event of a travel delay, you may be eligible for reimbursement where the delay is due to a number of events, including a natural disaster or adverse weather.  To receive reimbursement, the travel delay must generally have been longer than a certain number of hours (for example, longer than 6 hours), and reimbursement may only be sought for reasonable additional expenses incurred by you.  For additional information if the weather related delay caused you to miss your cruise or tour, also see Missed Connection Coverage.

Identity Theft

If your ID card or credit cards were stolen or lost at home, daily life could become quite difficult until you could straighten it all out.  But if you were traveling when the theft or loss occurred, even boarding an aircraft or checking into a hotel would be a challenge.  This makes a good case for considering Identity Theft Protection While Traveling as part of your travel insurance decision.  While your travel insurer would not reimburse you for financial losses involved (your creditors, of course, should remove any false charges), this coverage provides you with a go-to service that helps you with paperwork and alerting appropriate creditors and law enforcement authorities.  The service also delivers the guidance you need to resolve the complexities of your unique situation.  Don’t be surprised if, before you leave, your travel insurer advises preventive measures.

Look back period

At some point you may need to file a medical insurance claim related to a trip.  When this occurs, your provider is likely to investigate your medical history to learn if you had a pre-existing condition.  The “pre-existing conditions period” or look-back period is a phrase used when assigning the date from which the company is able to search your health records.  Plans and providers differ, and periods of time from two to six months are common.  A recent experience of the same condition may not be to your benefit where insurance is concerned, so be sure you understand the terms of any agreement that you sign.

Medical Deductible

Similar to your health insurance policy, your travel insurance may have a Medical Deductible.  Most travel insurance plans will offer a zero deductible benefit.  However, some options can vary per person, per occurrence, injury or a combination of the two. 

Medical Evacuation

The subject of a medical evacuation is not to be taken lightly.  When a traveler needs care and must be moved to a suitable medical facility, sometimes in a nearby country, that is called an emergency evacuation.  (Generally speaking, the closest facility that offers care appropriate to the case will be chosen.)  When an individual returns home for medical care, it is also called more specifically a medical repatriation. 

If you, as a patient, decide to leave the country you’re visiting for emergency treatment, be sure to seek help from your insurance provider to be sure your plans will not be excluded from coverage.  Someone will be assigned to your case and make all the arrangements for you. 

If, during an illness or after an accident, you decide to go home for treatment, your insurer needs to be convinced that doing so is medically necessary.  Your attending physician will be asked to certify that the level of care that that facility provides is insufficient to successfully treat your condition. 

When choosing a plan, if you are sure you’ll want to return home for medical care, look for a policy that offers “hospital of choice” benefits.  (See below.)  Bear in mind that usually a patient would not be brought home at first, but would be given emergency and stabilization care from a trusted medical facility till it was safe to return home.

Hospital of Choice – Medical Evacuation

We’ve already talked about covering yourself for an emergency medical evacuation, where your insurance provider and the physician on your case would decide which facility was best to transport you to if you fell ill or experienced an accident.  Insurers have already determined “hospitals of excellence” that they rely on all over the world.  “Hospital of Choice,” however, is a special option that permits you to indicate where you’d prefer to be taken if you needed medical care while traveling.  If you travel repeatedly to the same country or countries, you may already know the reputation of the facility.   Consider a Multi-Trip Evacuation Plan, which not only offers a discount on the insurance, but also is set up such that you make the decision once for multiple trips.

You can buy Hospital of Choice coverage as part of a special Emergency Medical Evacuation policy, or you may find it included in your comprehensive plan. 

Missed Connection

When you are planning a cruise, think of what might happen if your flight gets delayed and you can’t make it to the ship on time!  That won’t be quite so big of an issue if you have “Missed Connection” insurance.  Provided the circumstances fall within the scope of that coverage (bad weather, accident, etc.), you can seek reimbursement for the costs you incur to catch up to your cruise.  Study your plan thoroughly so you understand what is covered and what is not.  Then be sure to arrange for plenty of time between your plane’s scheduled arrival and the cruise ship’s departure hour.  If poor weather is likely during the season you’ll travel, you may want to keep in mind the possibility of arriving at the city of your ship’s departure a day or two in advance.

Money Back Guarantee

Choosing a travel insurance policy, like choosing any other type of insurance, takes an assessment of your own needs, research, and reading the fine print on the one that you choose.  Fortunately, even after you have signed your policy, you can take advantage of the “free look” period of 10 days or more.  Be sure to use that time to read and understand your policy — what it covers, what it does not cover.  Should you realize that its terms are not right for you, you can ask for changes during this review period — or even cancel the policy with a money-back guarantee, subject to a small processing charge.  (Note:  Adding or subtracting travel companions to your policy is one change that cannot be made during the review period.) 

Remember, you are responsible for comprehending what you have signed, so even if you have no intention of changing your mind, you should take advantage of this opportunity to study the contract.  Of course your costs may need adjustment if you change the destination prior to the trip.

Non-Medical Evacuation

An evacuation deemed mandatory at your destination due to adverse weather or a natural disaster is generally treated as a covered event for cancellation and/or interruption benefits.  Generally, you will have to have less than a certain portion of your total trip length remaining at the time the evacuation ends, in order to be eligible for this coverage.  See your policy for additional details.

Pre-Ex Waiver

Managing pre-existing medical conditions when traveling can be tricky.  If you are choosing travel insurance, and either you or someone you are buying insurance for has a pre-existing health condition, do your research.  Decide how likely it is that the condition will flare up during your trip.  Under normal circumstances, a condition that was in evidence prior to your policy’s effective date is not going to be covered.  If this is could prove problematic for you or your family, check into adding a “pre-existing conditions waiver” — or find a comprehensive plan that includes one.   (See below.)  Where pre-existing conditions are concerned, insurance providers vary widely in how they operate.  There are plans that will cover a pre-existing condition if you buy the policy within a set number of days following your first trip deposit, and there are other plans that will not cover this at all.  The key point here is to decide what level of coverage — or lack of coverage — you feel comfortable with, and shop for a plan that offers what you need.

Pre-Existing Conditions Waiver 

When an insurer agrees to cover you for some medical issue that could arise unexpectedly, it is presumed that you do not have that condition already.  Current medical conditions are generally excluded from coverage, but it is possible in many cases to purchase a waiver if certain stipulations are met.  These vary depending on the provider.  If you have an ongoing health concern, be sure to check the details thoroughly before making your choice.

Pre-Ex Waiver on Trip

Managing pre-existing medical conditions when traveling can be tricky.  If you are choosing travel insurance, and either you or someone you are buying insurance for has a pre-existing health condition, do your research.  Decide how likely it is that the condition will flare up during your trip.  Under normal circumstances, a condition that was in evidence prior to your policy’s effective date is not going to be covered.  If this is could prove problematic for you or your family, check into adding a “pre-existing conditions waiver” — or find a comprehensive plan that includes one.   (See below.)  Where pre-existing conditions are concerned, insurance providers vary widely in how they operate.  There are plans that will cover a pre-existing condition if you buy the policy within a set number of days following your first trip deposit, and there are other plans that will not cover this at all.  The key point here is to decide what level of coverage — or lack of coverage — you feel comfortable with, and shop for a plan that offers what you need.

Pre-Existing Conditions Waiver 

When an insurer agrees to cover you for some medical issue that could arise unexpectedly, it is presumed that you do not have that condition already.  Current medical conditions are generally excluded from coverage, but it is possible in many cases to purchase a waiver if certain stipulations are met.  These vary depending on the provider.  If you have an ongoing health concern, be sure to check the details thoroughly before making your choice.

Primary Medical

Is Travel Medical insurance right for everyone?  Stop and think.  If you are a United States citizen, does your health care plan cover you on trips outside the USA?  Probably not.  If you are not a US citizen, and you are visiting the United States, especially for an extended length of time, you probably need travel medical coverage.  Others who should consider purchasing such a plan would include people doing a world tour, expatriates, and corporate travelers who spend a lot of time out of the country.  

Renewable Policy

Some of our travel medical insurance policies can be renewed. To continue coverage without an interruption you must renew it before the term date. If you apply after the term date you will have a break in coverage and will be responsible for claims during this period. If your policy has terminated you may still reapply, but the policy conditions, and deductible and any co-insurance will start all over again.

Check your policy for additional information if you are looking for a renewable policy. 



 

Rental Car

If you plan to rent a car at your travel destination, ask your travel insurance provider for additional information about the kinds of coverage they can offer you.  Purchasing automobile insurance last-minute at the rental counter gives you little time to examine those critical policy details.  (You could be unpleasantly surprised if you need to file a claim through the leasing company’s insurance plan and discover you’re on the hook for “loss of use” — that’s a penalty you’d pay for the duration of time the car spends out of commission and cannot be leased to another customer.)

Buying coverage of your own through your travel insurance provider can provide coverage for any gaps.  Do be aware that some automobile leasing companies may not accept collision coverage from another provider.  Read all applicable policies in advance so that you make the best decision.

Terrorism

If you seek coverage related to terrorist attacks, be sure to find out how “terrorism” is defined under your proposed plan.  Some plans define civil unrest as separate from acts of terror, even though neither may be considered “acts of war.”  A good comprehensive plan will typically cover terrorism (if it is so judged by the Department of State of the United States of America) that occurs within the agreed-upon time period from when you would arrive.  For you to be covered, the threat that either interrupts or causes you to cancel your trip must occur within a predetermined timeframe of your scheduled arrival and in the very city you planned to visit.  Check your individual plan for details.

Travel Delay

Whether the cause is weather-related, mechanical, or human, unanticipated travel delays are common — so common, in fact, that insuring yourself against travel delays makes a lot of sense. Read your policy carefully so you know its stipulations on travel delays before you leave home.  With a serious delay you may be covered for meals, hotels, and taxi services related to the unusual situation in which you find yourself. In some cases you may want to cancel the trip altogether — and you may be able to do so if the delay is a full day and night.  You can also buy Missed Connection assistance to catch you up to your tour bus or cruise. If travel delays occur while you’re on your way home, some plans may cover your additional expenses in child or pet care.  Make sure your coverage is suited to your situation.

Trip Cancellation

In any comprehensive travel insurance policy, your trip cancellation coverage comes with a list of acceptable excuses known as “covered reasons” — any of which you may use, but need to prove in order to use them for reimbursement. The list includes the standard reasons anyone might have for canceling a trip, such as attending a family member’s funeral, coping with an unexpected blizzard, or experiencing a sudden illness.  Read your plan carefully to size up what your provider will cover.

If you need to be totally free to change your plans without much penalty, consider a CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) optional benefit.  You’ll need to meet their requirements (such as canceling no later than 48 hours prior to your planned departure), and you may only be able to recover an amount between 50% and 70% of your costs. That is certainly a significant savings — well worth it if you have to cancel.  The main benefit here is that if you suddenly feel nervous about making the trip, you are not locked in.  Again, be totally clear about all the requirements and stipulations involved so you can make the right insurance purchase.

Trip Interruption

While this type of protection will not cover you in every situation that could cut your trip short, you will find that the coverage is still worth having.  Check to see if it is part of your comprehensive travel insurance package.  If it is, make yourself familiar with the acceptable “covered reasons” where it’s possible to interrupt your trip and be reimbursed for your already-paid, nonrefundable expenses —versus reasons that fall into the “exclusions” category.  For example, it might be OK to rush home for a family member’s illness, but to cut short a trip due to the illness of even a close friend would not be.  Normally your provider would not cover trip interruption for your own pre-existing illness, but it is possible to buy an additional waiver to cover that.

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