The first step that we took as we approached our review of travel insurance vendors was to research the level of legitimate complaints. We recommend that you do likewise as you compare travel insurance plans. None of the vendors that we reviewed have alarming levels of valid complaints. It is surprising, however, how different the policies are from each other. Each vendor emphasizes a slightly different aspect of protection. Therefore, the goal of our review is to orient you to the policy that emphasizes the benefit that most interests you. The three main categories to understand are travel benefits, medical benefits, and help and support features.
Travel insurance providers are in business to make a profit. Gullible customers who purchase travel insurance without investing the time to understand every nuance of the policy are usually the source of the many complaints that one hears about the industry. “I bought insurance that was supposed to protect me if a hurricane destroyed the lodging at my destination and when it happened, the provider denied my claim.” Actually, if the complainer had spent the time to carefully read the policy, it would have been clear that the tropical storm that had already received a name (even though it was a week from landfall) when the customer purchased the insurance was no longer an “unforeseen event” by the time it devastated the destination lodging. Likewise, complaints about denied medical coverage usually stem from the subscriber’s lack of attention to the pre-existing condition clauses.
The first detail to understand is what happens if anything intervenes to prevent you from even beginning the trip that you insured. What is the trip cancellation policy? What exactly has to happen to allow you to abandon travel plans and receive compensation for the prepaid and nonrefundable expenses incurred? Is there an option to cancel the trip for any reason whatsoever?
Once underway, what benefits are provided if the trip is interrupted? What if the trip is delayed or you miss a connection? Who pays for the resulting expenses? If your carrier loses or delays your baggage, will the insurance policy compensate you if you wiAt the opposite extreme of the gullible customer is the pessimist who believes that the cards are stacked against the insurance subscriber so unfairly that travel insurance is for the gullible. The prudent approach runs through the middle of the two extremes. The underwriter intends to make a profit. The subscriber intends to calm travel anxieties by purchasing a policy that might provide a shield from the chaos that can unfold during a journey. What is the point of intersection between these competing agendas?nd up having to purchase something that was lost? Know the answers to these questions before you sign on the dotted line.