After saving for a while, you’ve just paid $3,000 for your long-awaited trip to Iceland. Whew! You know you should probably buy travel insurance, too, but your finger hesitates over the “buy now” button.
“Is travel insurance really worth it?” you wonder. “I could spend that money on a nice dinner in Reykjavik instead… Why should I buy travel insurance? What does it even do for me?”
We’re so glad you asked.
We receive more than 4,000 calls each year from Allianz Global Assistance customers who are experiencing a medical crisis during their trip. The most common emergencies we see:
• Fractures from falls, often to the hip, ankle, tibia, and fibia
• Cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and strokes
• Trauma, often from car accidents and scooter/moped crashes
• Pulmonary/respiratory problems
Without travel insurance, you’re on your own in an emergency. When you have travel insurance, all you have to do is call our 24-hour assistance hotline. We’ll leap into action to make sure you get the best available care, wherever you may be.
Most hospitals overseas will not accept your domestic health insurance card. They want your credit card instead because they expect payment up front before you receive care. If you’re not prepared to pay all your medical bills out of pocket, you need travel insurance.
When you’re protected by a travel insurance plan with emergency medical benefits, our team can work to guarantee payment to doctors and hospitals so you can be treated as quickly as possible following a covered injury or illness. Our Assistance team will continue to monitor your treatment, provide guidance and reassurance, and, if necessary, determine how to safely transport you home.
What happens if you get seriously hurt while traveling overseas and require medical evacuation by helicopter or ambulance? Without travel insurance, you may have to pay an enormous sum. These are estimates for emergency medical evacuation in some popular destinations:
• Mexico: $15,000-$20,000
• South America: $100,000
• Germany, France or other developed European nations: $50,000-$100,000
• Russia: $90,000-$150,000 (weather conditions can dramatically increase costs)
• Asia, Australia, and the Middle East: $220,000
These estimates represent just the cost of transporting you to the hospital — not treating you. If you’re in a remote area of a developing nation, or if your injuries are particularly severe, these costs could double or triple.
Travel insurance with emergency medical transportation benefits can pay for you to be transported to the nearest appropriate facility if a covered illness or injury occurs during your trip and our medical assistance team determines that the local medical facilities are unable to provide appropriate treatment. So if you’re just looking at dollars and cents, this is the most compelling reason why travel insurance is worth the cost.
A travel insurance plan with trip cancellation benefits can reimburse you for prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs when you must cancel for a covered reason. These covered reasons vary according to the plan you buy, but generally include things like:
• The insured traveler, traveling companion or a family member suffers a serious covered illness or injury.
• The insured traveler, traveling companion or a family member dies.
• Your airline, cruise line or other carrier ceases services for at least 24 consecutive hours due to a strike, natural disaster, bad weather or FAA-mandated shutdown.
• Your destination is rendered uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.
You get the picture. If you have to cancel your trip for a covered reason, trip insurance can save your vacation investment — but if you don’t have insurance, you could lose it all. So if you’re wondering, “Should I buy trip cancellation insurance?” the answer is always yes.
Cruise lines have especially tough cancellation policies. Even if you have a compelling reason, like a death in the family or a sudden illness, they can be reluctant to give refunds. While every cruise line has its own rules (and you should read them before you book), most refund $0 if you cancel less than 14 days before sailing. Cancel before then, and you’ll probably still lose money. Penalties range from the amount of your initial deposit up to 75 percent of what you paid.1 So if you’ve been wondering, “Why should I buy travel insurance for a cruise?”, this is reason number one.
Nothing will ruin the beginning — or the end — of your vacation more effectively than flight problems. Despite airlines’ best efforts to improve, only about 80 percent of domestic flights arrived on time in 2017. Nearly 162,000 flights were delayed, and around 15,000 flights were cancelled.2
The next time you’re stuck in the airport because your flight is delayed (again), you’ll be much happier if you have insurance. Travel insurance with trip delay benefits can reimburse you for reasonable expenses — up to the limit specified in the policy — for meals, accommodation and transportation expenses incurred because of a covered travel delay of 6 or more consecutive hours. It can also reimburse the unused part of your prepaid, nonrefundable expenses — like the tour you missed because you didn’t get to your destination on time.
Whether you’re planning a solo adventure or a grand, multi-generational getaway, the whole point is to relax and enjoy the journey. Travel insurance can ease your anxiety because you know you have protection in case of common travel mishaps. Not only that, but you know you’re never alone. No matter how far from home you go, help is a free hotline call away.
Have questions about the best travel insurance to buy, or if travel insurance is necessary for your particular trip? Call us! Fellowship expert reps can help.