Note from the blogger:
Aaaand we’re back! After a long hiatus I have finally graduated and am able to devote my time to getting this blog up and running again and keeping it running. A lot will hopefully be happening in the next little bit including a spread into more social media and more tips and destinations to poke at your wanderlust. This week we will be looking at an important subject to consider while traveling, because knocking on wood will only get you so far.
It’s a popular saying; Better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it. Travel insurance is something to consider when planning a vacation and just like regular insurance, it’s important to know your options.
There are 3 basic types of Travel Insurance:
- Cancellation For Any Reason Insurance: insurance that insures you get all or most of your money back on a trip that you cancel prior to travel.
- Cancellation for Medical Reasons Insurance: insurance that insures you get all or most of your money back on a trip that you cancel for documentable medical reasons
- Medical Only Insurance: insurance for medical costs that may arise while traveling in the event of an accident. This would not entail compensation on the cost of the trip.
Cancellation Insurance: Why have it?
Most tours and cruises require a deposit before the cruise/tour is to be paid in full and about half of them are not refundable. Several cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are still refundable until final payment but the trend in the industry is less and less fully refundable deposits. This deposit will not be returned to you, or not returned in full, if you cancel within a certain time period, usually up until final payment when the regular cancellation schedules kick in. Cancellation insurance is to help get all or more of that deposit back that you normally would not be allowed. This insurance may not be a priority early on, but once you are within the ‘penalty’ window of paying for your vacation, our agents strongly suggest looking at insurance.
Cancellation For Any Reason Insurance or CFAR
This type of insurance assures you get all of your money back on a trip that you cancel prior to sailing except the insurance cost. It literally is “Cancel for any reason”. Ocean cruises do not offer this type of insurance and this is only an option if you are looking to book a land tour or river cruise. The cost of cancellation insurance is based on the cost of the trip itself, usually 7-9% of the trip’s cost in comparison, and is NOT based on age. It is a really nice option if available as you don’t have forms and such if you have to cancel. However, this one usually has to be purchased at the time of booking.
Cancellation for Medical Reasons Insurance
This insurance assures you get all or part of your money back on a trip that you have to cancel specifically for medical reasons. In order to invoke the insurance, you will need to have a doctor sign off on the fact that you or someone listed in your party is too sick or injured to travel. Most of these policies also include immediate family members that get sick or pass away. Any type of trip can be covered by medical cancellation insurance, including ocean cruises. Unlike CFAR, cancellation-for-any-reason insurance, cancellation for medical is based on age as well as trip cost. It is usually less cost then CFAR but can get pricey if you are over 70 years of age.
Medical Only Insurance
This is insurance to cover medical costs that may arise while traveling if someone gets sick or injured. Both types of cancellation insurances listed above also include medical insurance component, but you can purchase medical insurance by itself if you so choose. Medical insurance without cancellation insurance is the cheapest type of travel insurance by a surprisingly high margin. Despite this, it will cover all medical costs that you may have while on vacation, including emergency evacuation which can be well over $75,000 to get you home! Make sure that you look at the small print on these to make sure on the emergency medical evacuation. An important note about emergency evacuation, 99% of these companies that coordinate these evacuations WILL require that you show that you are able to pay for this and it is very pricey. If you have the medical only coverage, the company will coordinate all of this and get you the help that you need. Medical only insurance is a no brainer and you should have it as most of the insurance companies in the US do not cover you outside of the country and it is literally $20-$30 pre person for a trip.
Some cruises do sell their own insurance but it usually isn’t as comprehensive and not much cheaper than going with a 3rd party insurance agency. CSA Travel Protection is a well respected travel insurance provider and some credit card companies do offer cancellation insurance (with no medical coverage though). Again, no matter who you go with, read the fine print or call for details. Insurance companies are in business to make money so know what you are buying and if you are not sure ask for it in writing.
If you would like to search for yourself, www.insuremytrip.com allows you to compare different travel insurance based on your specific needs and the trip perimeters.
No matter what the case, we at Onsite Travel do recommend you look into travel insurance because life happens, even on vacation, and it’s good to be prepared.
When it comes to most things, you get what you pay for and a vacation is definitely an example of that. In fact, that is what we at Onsite Travel are all about! Therefore this post will not be about “crazy cheap rates” and other ways to buy downmarket, but instead getting the best bang for your buck.
Of course, saving money on vacation will always depend on where you’re traveling but here are a few general tips when traveling abroad:
- Finding the right card
- As mentioned in the previous article, Pre-Vacation Planning: Getting Your Affairs in Order, some credit card companies charge fees for foreign transactions, usually ranging between 2-5%, depending on the company. See which company has the lowest fees (or, better yet, none at all) for using their card in the country you are traveling to.
- Get local currency ahead of time
- Transferring money over to local currency at airports and hotels often has a larger transaction fee than if you were to do the transfer back home. Make a list of all the countries you plan to visit as well as an estimated spending budget for each place to transfer to local currency to save on transactions. Remember, even if you plan to use a card for most of your transactions, having cash on you can always come in handy.
Image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rodeime/13991031669
In reference to Thanksgiving there is no Adventure of the Month as here in the U.S. November is very much a time to be with family. We spend the day eating and bonding with relations both as a celebration of thankfulness and preparation for elbowing our way through Black Friday sales. Winter is coming….