The Importance of Travel Protection & Why You Can No Longer Travel Without It
We’ve all heard travel stories from friends or strangers or read the countless anecdotes illustrating why travel insurance is so important – whether travelers did or didn’t have it. As a long-time travel advisor, seafarer, and avid world traveler, allow me to share a few stories I’ve watched unfold with losses or claims arising from my own clients’ travels.
A group of active, healthy middle-agers head to Iceland for a birthday celebration. Iceland raises no safety alarms politically or socially. All the travelers are in good health. And the trip is only 5 days short. What could possibly go wrong? An abnormal moss…in the eyes…while hiking near a waterfall…leading to an eye infection…requiring immediate medical attention not covered by a U.S. health insurance plan – that’s what. Fortunately for this savvy traveler (and victim of an unseeable organic enemy), travel insurance was purchased prior to the trip and her medical claim was paid in full.
A multi-generational family embarks on a Caribbean cruise. Again, danger is not a major concern in any of the ports of call. There is “no way” the family is cancelling, and everyone is in great health. During the cruise’s call into Cozumel, one of the children plants his foot flat onto a sea urchin while snorkeling – yelping in pain & sending countless spines through his foot. A trip to the medical center onboard costs substantially more than a visit to their urgent care center back home, but this was all reimbursed due to the family purchasing their travel insurance policy before the cruise.
A young woman is running on the treadmill in the cruise ship gym when she has a life-threatening seizure – with no prior history. The medical attention she needs requires medical evacuation by helicopter. This risky heli-evac operation at sea can cost upwards of $50,000 to even $250,000. The guest did not have travel insurance.
Another must rearrange her trip overseas a week before her travels due to a death in the family. By purchasing the insurance, the changes were taken care of and claims expeditiously reimbursed. Luggage is lost, delayed by an airline for days, or even dropped in the water between a ship and its dock while loading – but the insurance helps with the loss, damage, and interim necessities. Even a travel accident en route to the airport prevents travelers from making their flight and thus missing their cruise altogether. But having purchased the travel insurance prior to their trip, they were able to get reimbursed for their loss of travel 100% because of this “covered reason.”
None of us expect anything to interrupt or cause an issue during our travels, but the truth is, things do happen, and we can travel with peace of mind knowing we have help just in case.
Just as many stories & testimonials exist highlighting the need for travel protection are as many objections & misconceptions about needing to add insurance to your travel investment.
OBJECTION #1 – It’s too expensive.
As much as travel insurance premiums can cost*, travelers will pay much more in lost, non-refundable trip costs should they need to cancel their trip. If a medical emergency or need for evacuation arises during travel, the policy has just paid for itself. And if you don’t end up using your purchased policy at all before or during your trip, well you just evaded Murphy’s Law.
*Travel protection premium (cost of plan) is typically based on age of traveler & total trip cost of non-refundable travel segments
OBJECTION #2 – I’m not going to cancel & don’t see any reason why I’d need to interrupt my trip.
Like me, you’re committed to a trip. You plan, you save, you have everything in order to have the most wonderful trip you’ve carefully designed. But also like me, no one is immune to world pandemics…or having a loved one fall ill or pass away or need you for a family emergency…or stave off accidents, sudden injuries, illness or diagnoses…or simply have a sporadic change in some other life circumstance. If there’s any adage that perfectly sums it up, it’s “plan for the best, prepare for the worst.”
OBJECTION #3 – I’m healthy. I won’t need the medical coverage.
Maybe you are strong and healthy and do not foresee any medical circumstances that would require you to utilize the emergency medical or dental coverage or medical evacuation. This may be the case, so just ensure you avoid all waterfalls, sidewalk curbs, pavement, the ocean, the beach, other people, and virtually any activity (especially physical) that may cause injury or incident. And if you’re sure your health insurance covers you abroad, check and re-check – this is almost never the case.
OBJECTION #4 – I’m not going to check any bags so I don’t need the coverage.
Sincerely, kudos to you for being a part of the I’ve-mastered-the-art-of-carry-on-only travel club. Impressive! But coverage for lost, delayed or stolen baggage (the last one especially applies to all versions of baggage companions) is only one of the many benefits of travel protection. This really isn’t a solid objection, but one I hear all the time nonetheless.
OBJECTION #5 – Travel Insurance is a racket; an unnecessary expense for the experienced, healthy traveler.
If there’s one misconception that resonates through travelers who decline coverage more than any other, it’s this one. In fact, in my years as a travel advisor, the more experienced, frequent travelers won’t travel without insurance. And more & more travelers who consider themselves healthy are no longer declining the coverage just because they take care of themselves or have been graced with good genes & vitality. The savvy traveler has learned the importance of travel protection – either through personal experience or vicariously through others. And because many travelers continue to access their travel insurance benefits, file claims and get reimbursed on those claims, an insurance company may not have the luxury to charge cents on the dollar for an insurance premium.
There are many benefits to purchasing independent travel insurance – from covering any kind of trip & many different aspects of that trip including flights, hotel stays, cruises, & prepaid non-refundable tours & excursions to the coverage being far more comprehensive than the standard protection included with your credit card. But here are the main TOP TEN reasons travelers choose travel insurance, specifically from Allianz Travel, our preferred insurance provider:
- Life is unpredictable. Hasn’t that been the understatement since 2020. To avoid going off on tangents of total global disruptions & chaos these past couple years, let’s focus on the simple fact that trips sometimes need to be canceled. With travel insurance, you don’t necessarily have to pay for a trip you are unable to take. Instead, enjoy more confidence knowing that you stay a step ahead of unpredictable situations before and during your trip. To make an informed decision to choose the plan that’s right for you, visit our travel insurance page which offers plan comparisons & covered reasons for trip cancellation or interruption.
- Don’t let sickness stop you. From coughs in the crowds (which has become a stigma unto itself) to exotic eats that don’t agree with your stomach, sick just happens. Injuries, mouth mishaps, & other foreign foes can wreak havoc on your otherwise healthy body. It’s less scary or problematic to be sick or injured with travel insurance helping you through these troubles while traveling, especially in a foreign land.
- Your health insurance has its limits. When you travel outside the U.S., you may be leaving your health insurance at home. Many U.S. plans (including Medicare and Medicaid) don’t cover international travel. It’s so important, that the U.S. Dept of State even includes this precautionary measure on the inside of your passport. Why risk it when a medical evacuation can cost $50,000+?
- Forgot your medication? Lost or forgotten medication can set off an alarm when you’re far from home. Let travel insurance help you locate a pharmacy to purchase a new Rx. It’s always nerve-wracking when something goes wrong. But when you’re in a foreign country, you don’t want to face any kind of crisis alone.
- Lost luggage can leave you in a lurch. Allianz provides benefits that can help you replace needed items if your bags are delayed, damaged, or stolen while you’re away. With reimbursement for your trip essentials, you can still suit up for wherever your journey takes you.
- The plan crumbles. If a travel supplier ceases operations, you may not get a refund for the money you fronted for a cruise, flight, or tour. Travel insurance is in place so you’re less likely to pay for an experience you’ll never have.
- You don’t want the credit (voucher). Airlines aren’t required to refund a ticket in the event of an emergency. In fact, your carrier can choose to offer a credit voucher toward future travel instead of cash in pocket. With travel insurance, you have more control over your Plan B.
- Speaking of change of plans… Flight delays can add up. Beyond being annoying, prolonged delays can cause you to accrue expenses while you wait, or worse, miss a connection or even your tour or cruise. With travel insurance, a covered travel delay can mean cash for rebooking fees, meals, and accommodations and help you get to your next meeting point.
- Your credit card may not cover you. Some travelers opt-out of travel insurance, thinking credit card coverage would suffice in a crunch. Truth is, even if you have this free coverage benefit, it won’t be as extensive as a separate travel insurance plan.
- Tap into smart travel tools. Allianz provides travelers with a simple-to-use tool that pairs perfectly with wanderlust. Download the TravelSmart™ app for free to view your policy on the go, file a claim, track your flight in real-time, and get one-touch emergency assistance. You can also connect with the Allianz Global Assistance team 24 hours a day, almost anywhere in the world by calling toll-free or collect.
As the demand for travel skyrockets in a continuously uncertain world, we encourage travel but doing so with peace of mind.
ABOUT REBEKAH & REDWOOD TRAVEL PARTNERS
Rebekah is Redwood Travel Partners’ Director of Travel Services and Senior Travel Advisor. She has worked in the travel industry for over two decades as a Travel Advisor and Cruise Planners franchise owner, Cruise Director, and performer at sea and has traveled to over 95 countries on all 7 continents.
Redwood Travel Partners is an independently owned and operated Cruise Planners franchise formed as the official travel partner for charter cruises while offering a full range of travel services.