Before you do the price research, however, you will need to 1.) have a clear understanding your existing health, auto and homeowner’s contracts and the coverage they provide for losses occurred while traveling;  2.)have a clear understanding of the types of travel insurance that can be purchased; and 3.) check to see what free benefits are offered by your credit card company (the card you will use to purchase your tickets, lodging, etc…).

Types of Travel Insurance Available

1.  Package Plans:  These plans offer the most benefits for your premium dollar. Most packages will offer coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption or delay, baggage, medical, dental, emergency evacuation, 24-hour traveler assistance, and accidental death insurance.

2.  Medical Insurance:  Most people do not realize that their regular health insurance plans provide either partial or no (zero) coverage while you are traveling in another country.  Getting medical attention abroad could be extremely expensive and you will likely be asked to pay in advance. Make sure you understand the deductibles, co-pay, coverage period and pre-existing condition provisions before you purchase.

2.  Medical Evacuation Plans:  If you become seriously ill or injured while traveling, you may need medical transport via plane or helicopter – either to the closest appropriate facility or perhaps even back to the United States.  The cost of medical transport can be in the tens of thousands and payment is required in advance, so this is definitely a risk to cover if you will be on a cruise ship or travelling in areas without state-of-the-art medical facilities.  Most plans will also cover your ‘remains’ should you have the misfortune of passing away abroad (called ‘repatriation’).  The plan provider generally handles all arrangements for you.

3.  Accident Insurance:  Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) plans pay benefits if you should have a serious injury that results in loss of life or limb.   Make sure to read the information below, as many credit cards offer this coverage as a free benefit.

Some Little Known Credit Card Benefits

Check your credit card website for benefits that are provided free when you use your card to pay for the entire cost of your tickets, lodging or rental car.  One well-known card offers the following benefits without charge:

1.  Baggage Delay Insurance:  covers the cost of replacement items while you wait.

2.  Car rental collision damage waiver:  if you are sure your card provides this, you may be able to waive this coverage and save some money at the rental counter.

3.  Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance:  covers things stolen from your room.

4.  Lost or Damaged Luggage Coverage:  because heaven knows the airlines will pay you only pennies on the dollar.

5.  Travel AD&D (Accidental Death & Dismemberment) Insurance:  coverage for the loss of life or limb while a passenger on a common carrier.

6.  Trip Cancellation Insurance


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