Travel Insurance

Before You Purchase Cheap Travel Insurance, Consider This

Before You Purchase Cheap Travel Insurance, Consider This

Picture this: You’ve spent months planning the perfect Caribbean getaway. You’ve plotted your itinerary and booked your flights, hotels and excursions along every stop. When it comes to packing, you’ve made thorough lists and checked off every item. Two weeks before your departure you realize that for all your meticulous planning, there’s one thing you forgot: Travel insurance. 

So, you hop online, search for ‘cheap travel insurance’ and select the first inexpensive travel insurance plan that pops up, thinking that it will be enough coverage. For the first few days, your trip in the Bahamas is magical – the sun, the food, the no-stress vibe.

But then, one day you’re walking along the Port Lucaya Marketplace breezily, taking in the sights and smells, and boom! You trip and fall. Your arm breaks, requiring transport to the nearest hospital, a round of X-rays, a consultation, a cast, and a prescription for painkillers. As the bills pile up, you contact your insurance company and learn that most, if not all, of the incurred expenses will be your responsibility.

You learn the hard way that opting for cheap insurance for travel is no substitute for more comprehensive coverage

How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?

There are two types of travel insurance – travel medical insurance and trip insurance. Travel medical insurance is available to American citizens and residents traveling abroad, as well as foreigners traveling internationally. This coverage allows you to get urgent medical care in your destination country without breaking the bank. Trip insurance, on the other hand, is only available to U.S. residents and can be used domestically or internationally.

While trip insurance will offer policyholders limited medical coverage, its main function is to ensure financial protection for costs related to flight cancellations, missed connections, delays, or baggage issues. How much a policy costs depends on what type of travel insurance you buy.

Unsurprisingly, travel medical insurance is more expensive, costing between $200 – $300 per person on average. The average cost of trip insurance falls between $100 to $200 for each traveler. 

What Does Basic Travel Insurance Cover?

So, what do you get with very basic travel insurance? Though plans vary wildly and we recommend that you read the policy documents carefully before making a purchase, we can offer some guidance on this. 

Travel Medical Insurance Coverage Details

For travel medical insurance the answer is fairly straightforward. Typically, if you opt for inexpensive travel insurance, you’ll still have coverage to the same benefits as more expensive plans. However, if you opt for a higher premium, you’ll get a higher policy maximum. This means that the more you pay for travel medical insurance the more the insurer will cover.

For example, emergency medical evacuation involves removing an injured person from an isolated area and transporting them to the nearest medical facility. This procedure alone can cost tens of thousands of dollars. When you have travel medical insurance with a less expensive policy, the insurer may cover up to $25,000, whereas, an insurer of a more expensive policy may cover $100,000. 

Trip Insurance Coverage Details

With trip insurance, it’s a little more complicated. In general, regardless of price, basic trip insurance policies offer coverage for expenses related to flight disruptions like delays, cancellations, missed connections and baggage issues. Your standard trip insurance policy will also allow you to cancel your travel plans and receive reimbursement for a limited number of covered reasons like inclement weather, sickness or death of a loved one.

The difference between buying the cheapest trip insurance plan and spending a little more comes down to the amount of coverage. As the premium cost rises so does the coverage amount. 

The Benefits of Spending a Little Extra on Travel Insurance

Before you buy cheap travel insurance, you’ll want to consider the advantages that come from paying a bit more for your premium. While you can always keep your policy premium on the cheaper side, there are a number of reasons you might want to spend a little bit more.

Even the best cheap travel insurance plan you find won’t usually offer the following perks.

Travel Medical Insurance Benefits

Paying a higher premium for travel medical insurance in the form of a comprehensive plan as opposed to a limited benefit plan can be a literal life-saver. You’ll get more comprehensive coverage that may include the following: 

  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions including visitors to the U.S.
  • Higher policy maximums
  • Some trip-related coverage (for costs related to cancellations, delays, missed connections and baggage loss) 
  • Guaranteed access to PPO Networks
  • Co-insurance system (rather than pre-defined per incident dollar amounts)
Learn more about the differences between limited and comprehensive travel medical insurance plans.

Trip Insurance Benefits

Depending on your needs and wants, paying more for a trip insurance plan that includes the types of benefits you desire can be beneficial. These perks could include: 

  • Greater per incident coverage
  • Cancel For Any Reason (optional coverage that allows you to cancel your trip for any reason and still recoup certain prepaid expenses)
  • Interruption For Any Reason (coverage that allows you to cut your trip short for any reason and still recoup certain unused prepaid expenses)
  • Adventure sports riders (coverage for higher-risk activities, like whitewater rafting and scuba diving, that aren’t typically covered by basic trip insurance) 

Should I Buy Inexpensive Travel Insurance?

Is purchasing a cheaper travel insurance policy with less coverage truly affordable? The answer depends on a few factors, such as the traveler’s health, age, and intended activities. 

When it comes to travel medical insurance, if you’re young, in good health, don’t have any pre-existing conditions, and aren’t planning on engaging in adventure sports or any other high-risk activities, you may be able to get by with a limited coverage option. 

A basic trip insurance policy might serve you well if your trip plans are fairly simple and firmly in place, your trip is on the shorter side and you’re traveling light.

But one thing to remember is that it’s always better to have the proper coverage and not need it then it is to need the coverage and not have it. Even if you don’t end up using your coverage, it can still give you the peace of mind you need to relax and enjoy your trip.

Now, picture this: Before your Caribbean getaway, you research your travel insurance options, take your time deciding, and, after reading the policy documentation, you decide to spend a little extra to get the coverage you need. Your trip doesn’t go quite as planned and you end up losing your luggage or needing medical attention. Luckily, by investing in the right policy, you’re able to get all the help you need and you’re back on the beach in no time. 

Ready to Find the Best Travel Insurance for Your Needs? 

Whether you’re ready to buy travel insurance, or just have a couple questions, VisitorsCoverage’s award-winning team of licensed travel insurance experts is happy to help.