Trip insurance is similar to travel insurance, which is a form of insurance that reimburses you for costs related to any unexpected events that occurred during your trip. Coverage may include costs incurred before your trip, such as nonrefundable event tickets or hotel stays, as well as during your trip, including travel interruptions and medical expenses.
Trip insurance typically provides insurance for trip delays or interruptions, trip cancellations, and other related issues. There are so many things that may not be anticipated while on a trip. For this reason, trip insurance can provide some financial protection in the event that a trip must be cancelled due to sickness, injury, or death. An additional benefit to trip insurance is that it acts as a form of emergency financial assistance for the duration of the trip.
Many variations of trip insurance plans are available. Typical coverage may provide for:
- Vacation and trip cancellation;
- Travel interruption, delays, and cancellations;
- Missed connections;
- Medical emergencies, dental emergencies, and other health related expenses;
- Expenses due to lost or delayed luggage; or
- Accidental death or dismemberment.
It is important to note that trip insurance will not cover events that are known to you on the date in which you purchase the insurance. If what was expected actually does cause a claim, that claim will not be covered by the trip insurance. Trip insurance plans will provide you with a “Description of Coverage.”
If a specific incident or peril is not listed in the Description of Coverage, or if a specific incident or peril is specifically excluded from the Description, it will not be covered. An example of this would be purchasing specific pre-existing medical condition coverage. In order for the coverage to be effectual, the pre-existing medical condition must “take a turn for the worse” while on the trip.
What is Typically Excluded from Trip Insurance Coverage?
As previously mentioned, your trip insurance provider should also provide you with a Description of Coverage, which will detail what is and is not covered by your specific insurance plan. However, some common circumstances excluded from coverage are:
- Cancellation due to war;
- Cancellation for terrorism, with the exception of the destination only recently experiencing terrorist attacks;
- Cancellation for bad weather, unless the weather has been deemed extremely threatening; or
- Cancellation due to the outbreak of a disease.
Trip cancellation insurance is a separate insurance which covers you for the period of time before your departure, but not during your travels. Therefore, if you are forced to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances, trip cancellation insurance will reimburse you for any costs that were prepaid and non-refundable.
These may extend to situations affecting yourself, your close family member, or your traveling companion. Such expenses must now be unusable, such as airline tickets or hotel rooms.
Is Trip Insurance Necessary?
Simply put, no, it is not necessary to obtain trip insurance before traveling. It is most likely that your existing homeowner’s insurance or health insurance policies will cover your medical costs or lost property, both at home and while traveling. Additionally, any life insurance policy you have should cover you and your family members while you are traveling. Further, airlines must reimburse you if they lose your bags.
It might be a wise idea to purchase additional trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance, in order to cover any losses that are not covered by your existing insurance plans. Trip insurance could be worth obtaining because it will protect the cost of the trip if you find yourself needing to cancel the trip, or if there is a travel delay.
For instance, it could offset additional expenses, such as those incurred by a travel delay, or lost, delayed, or damaged luggage when the airline fails to provide fully for such circumstances. Additionally, trip insurance could protect from costly medical bills that you may find yourself left with in case you are injured or become sick while traveling abroad.
Travel, especially abroad, is often costly as it is. Trip insurance in its various forms may be a worthwhile additional expense in order to avoid more costly situations. Emergency medical evacuation and accidental death/flight accidents are some more extreme examples of what trip insurance may cover if purchased.
Do I Need an Attorney for Assistance with Trip Insurance Matters?
You can obtain trip insurance without first consulting an attorney. If an insurance company is the one backing your trip insurance plan, then it is regulated by a state insurance department. It may also be regulated by federal insurance regulations.
In the case of a dispute, the first step would be to contact the insurance company directly and resolve the issue. If that does not happen, the next step would be to get in touch with a representative of your state’s insurance department.
However, if the insurance company is refusing to pay out if a qualified event occurs, you could have a bad faith claim against the insurance company. A knowledgeable and qualified business attorney will help you understand your policy, determine whether you have a legally valid claim, and inform you of exactly what benefits and reimbursements you are entitled to. They will also represent you in court if necessary.