Travel insurance reimburses an individual for the costs related to unexpected events which may arise during their trip. Travel insurance is designed to cover the individuals who chose to purchase the coverage for certain financial implications which may arise during their trip.

Travel insurance coverage may include costs incurred prior to the trip, such as a non-refundable event ticket or a hotel stay and during the trip, which may include medical expenses and travel interruptions. If purchased, the five main categories travel insurance would cover includes:

  • Trip cancellation;
  • Travel medical;
  • Major medical;
  • Emergency medical evacuation; and
  • Accidental death or flight accident.

Trip insurance is a type of insurance which is similar to travel insurance. Coverage for trip insurance usually provides for:

  • Trip delays;
  • Trip interruptions;
  • Trip cancellations; and
  • Other related issues.

There are numerous unanticipated issues which may arise while an individual is on a trip. For these reasons, trip insurance may provide some financial protections in the event that a trip must be canceled due to:

  • Sickness;
  • Injury; or
  • Death.

One additional benefit of trip insurance is that it also acts as a form of emergency financial assistance for the duration of the trip. There are many variations of trip insurance plans which may be available that provide coverage for:

  • Vacation and trip cancellation;
  • Travel interruption, delays, and cancellations;
  • Missed connections;
  • Emergences including:
    • medical emergencies;
    • dental emergencies; and
    • other health related expenses;
  • Expenses resulting from lost or delayed luggage; or
  • Accidental death or dismemberment.

It is important to be aware that the trip insurance does not cover events which are known to the individual on the date that they purchase the insurance. If something that was expected actually causes a claim, that claim will not be covered by the trip insurance.

Trip insurance plans provide individuals with a Description of Coverage. If a specific peril or incident is not listed in the Description of Coverage or if a specific incident or peril is specifically excluded from the Description of Coverage, it will not be covered.

For example, if an individual purchases specific pre-existing medical condition coverage, in order for that coverage to be in effect, the pre-existing medical condition must “take a turn for the worse” while on the trip.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

In most cases, an individual’s existing homeowner’s insurance or health insurance policies will cover an individual’s medical costs or lost property, both at home and while on vacation. In addition, an individual’s life insurance should also cover them and their family while they are traveling.

Airlines are required to reimburse an individual if they lose their luggage. An individual may want to purchase additional trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance to cover any losses which are not covered by their existing homeowner’s insurance or health insurance plans.

Reasons why travel insurance may be worth purchasing include, but are not limited to:

  • Protect the cost of the trip if the individual has a travel delay or needs to cancel the trip;
  • Offset added expenses resulting from a travel delay or luggage that is:
    • lost;
    • delayed; or
    • damaged luggage and/or
  • Protect from costly medical bills in case an individual is injured or becomes sick while traveling abroad.

What is Trip Cancellation Insurance?

Trip cancellation insurance covers an individual for the period of time prior to departing on their trip but not during their trip. If an individual is forced to cancel their trip because of an unforeseen event which affects them, a close family member, or their traveling companion, trip cancellation insurance will reimburse them for any pre-paid, non-refundable expenses that they cannot use, such as airline tickets or hotel rooms.

Trip cancellation insurance will cover cancellation or interruption of a trip for the following reasons:

  • Sudden business conflicts;
  • Change of mind in going on trip;
  • Delay in getting your visa or passport;
  • Illness or injury; and
  • Weather-related issues.

What is Trip Interruption Insurance?

Trip interruption insurance covers an individual during their travels and will reimburse them for any costs they incur in the event that an injury or illness forces them to interrupt their trip. Trip interruption insurance will cover an individual’s costs for returning home early and will often cover medical evacuation costs.

If an individual is merely delayed during their trip, this form of insurance may cover the expenses caused by that delay as well as any additional costs which are incurred to return the individual to their original itinerary.

What is Typically Excluded from Trip Insurance Coverage?

As previously noted, an individual’s trip insurance provider should provide them with a Description of Coverage, which will outline what is and what is not covered by that specific insurance plan.

There are, however, some common circumstances that are excluded from coverage, including:

  • Cancellation due to war;
  • Cancellation due to terrorism, except when a location is only recently experiencing terrorist attacks;
  • Cancellation for inclement weather weather, unless the weather is deemed extremely threatening; or
  • Cancellation resulting from the outbreak of a disease.

Trip cancellation insurance is a separate form of insurance that covers an individual for the period of time before their departure but not during their travels. Therefore, if an individual is forced to cancel their trip because of unforeseen circumstances, the trip cancellation insurance will reimburse them for any costs which were prepaid and are non-refundable.

This may extend to situations which affect:

  • The individual;
  • The individual’s close family member; or
  • The individual’s traveling companion.
  • The expense must be unusable, for example, hotel rooms or airline tickets.

Is Trip Insurance Necessary?

No, it is not necessary to purchase trip insurance prior to traveling. As noted above, it is likely that an individual’s existing homeowner’s insurance or health insurance policies will cover their medical costs or lost property, both at home and while traveling.

In addition, an individual’s life insurance policy should cover the individual and their family members while traveling. It may, however, be a good idea to purchase additional trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance in order for an individual to cover any losses which are not covered by an individual’s existing insurance plan.

Trip insurance may also be worth the cost because it will protect the cost of the trip if an individual finds themself needed to cancel their trip or if there is a travel delay. For example, it may offset an additional expense, such as those incurred due to travel delays or due to delayed, lost, or damaged luggage if the airline fails to provide fully for these circumstances.

In addition, trip insurance may protect an individual from costly medical bills which they may incur from being injured or sick while traveling. Traveling, especially abroad, is often costly even when no issues arise.

Trip insurance, in its various forms, can be a worthwhile additional expense in order for an individual to avoid more costly situations. An emergency medical evacuation or an accidental death or flight accident are some of the more extreme examples of what trip insurance may cover if it is purchased.

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Travel Insurance Issue?

The language used in travel insurance policies may be complex and ambiguous. For example, you may have a different interpretation than your insurance company as to what is an unforeseen event or who qualifies as a close family member.

If you have any issues, questions, or concerns related to travel or trip insurance, an insurance attorney can assist you. Your attorney can review the policy prior to purchasing it and explain the benefits and reimbursements that may be provided.

If you have already purchased a policy, your attorney can explain the benefits of the policy and whether it may be possible for you to cancel the purchase, if you wish to do so.