Travel season is kicking into high gear. If you have any significant trips planned, especially international trips, have you also considered travel insurance? If you don’t think it is important or necessary, you might want to think again, especially if you are in the “retirement age” category.
“The most important thing to have covered is health insurance,” says Charlie Leocha, president and co-founder of Travelers United, a consumer advocacy group based in the D.C. area. “I use GeoBlue and purchase an annual plan. It costs about $260 or so.” Leocha has been guest speaker at Delmarva Travel Club meetings and his website is chock full of helpful information.
Annette Stellhorn, founder, and president of Accent on Travel in Rehoboth, has some thoughts on the topic. Accent on Travel is a big supporter of community events in the Rehoboth/Lewes corridor. The company has won numerous awards and has an extensive network.
“My best advice is to cover all nonrefundable portions for cancellations due to medical, and medical care while traveling abroad”, she says. Her company offers non-age-related pricing with an app to find doctors and hospitals while traveling and to file claims for immediate refund, bilingual assistance for traveling abroad, and other coverage including emergency evac to your own home hospital.
That’s just for starters though. Whether you opt to work with a travel agent or go it alone, there is a plethora of insurance policies on the market that cover a wide range of travel related scenarios including lost or damaged luggage, trip cancellations either by the vendor of you and cruise specific policies.
Some websites are aggregate sites that compare prices and help travelers determine what is needed. For example, FORBES recently compiled a list of 53 insurance companies that offer a wide range of benefits to make it easier to compare costs and benefits. U.S. News and World Report has its own list. The Points Guy is a website that covers all sorts of issues related to travel including insurance comparisons but also ratings for credit cards usage, special deals, how to maximize use of points and more. Other options include sites called Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip. The latter lays out graphically the types pf coverage available so it is very easy to navigate.
Regarding of the resource, typically travelers are required to put in their departure and return date, the destination and age. You also will need to provide the cost of your trip. With that information in place, travelers are provided a list of options.
The most flexible insurance is Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR). Typically, it must be purchased within a specific time of the trip purchase, and it is generally an add on to regular travel insurance. The web site Nerdwallet offers a list of what it considered the best CFAR policies. It factors in several criteria including types of coverage, amount of coverage, total cost, usability, and customizability. The site also compared an assortment of policies other than CFAR including credit card analysis.
Insurance selection is just one of several components to figuring out the details of a trip. Another is knowing what type of credit card covers primary or secondary coverage for a rental car in case of an accident as well as benefits of using the card for purchases. The website Upgraded Points attempts to de-mystify this web.
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist
Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland.