In April, we shared some of our top safety tips for travelers, gleaned from several decades collectively spent globetrotting.
This month we continue looking at how you can travel safely with an interview with Cameron Strong, president of our long-time trusted travel insurance partner, CJET Global Insurance.
We asked Cam to help us separate fact from fiction regarding the need for travel insurance, what kind of coverage you can get, how it would help in recent travel emergencies such as natural disasters and political disputes, and more. Read on for highlights from our discussion.
What do you tell people when they ask – do I really need travel insurance? What are the top 3 reasons to get it?
Absolutely, I always purchase travel insurance each time I travel internationally. Travel insurance very inexpensive (usually runs 5-7% of trip value) so it is simply not worth the risk of not be fully protected from the unknown incidents that happen when one travels.
The top 3 reasons for travel insurance are:
1. Protection from the high cost of emergency medical evacuation all the way back home. Most travelers don’t realize this is not included in their domestic medical insurance policy.
2. Trip cancellation & interruption protection for amounts the traveler has prepaid which are non-refundable
3. Emergency Assistance Services (which is available 24×7 via a collect call anywhere in the world) is available to assist the traveler when they need help with a medical or legal situation.
What are the most common claims you see? How often are these claims covered?
The most common claims are trip cancellation or interruption followed by lost baggage or personal effects.
Trip cancellation & interruption claims are almost always paid as long as they are included as a “Covered Reason” for trip cancellation and interruption (listed in the contract/policy/certificate) (and should pre-existing medical conditions apply, the traveler purchased their policy prior to their final payment date to qualify for a waiver for the pre-existing medical insurance exclusion).
With the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, a lot of people have been asking us about natural disaster coverage. If one of our travelers is in, say, Peru and an earthquake occurs, what does your insurance cover?
Should an earthquake occur, trip cancellation or trip interruption benefits are available (up to the trip value) based upon inclement weather where the traveler’s common carrier is stopped services for at least 24 hours.
How would travel insurance have helped someone stranded at a European airport due to the Iceland volcano interruptions? Or how about those who were recently in Bangkok during the protests?
If a traveler was stranded in a European airport due to the Iceland volcano here are a couple of possible scenarios:
-If the traveler was stranded at a European airport (connecting flight) upon their returning home from their trip, their “Travel Delay” benefit of $150 per day (up to $1,000) would be available.
-If the traveler was stranded at a European airport (connecting flight) upon their initial travel to their destination, their “Travel Delay” benefit of $150 per day (up to $1,000) would be available, and their “Trip Interruption” benefit would also be available.
Under the Trip Interruption benefit, they would be eligible to be reimbursed for amounts they had prepaid which were non-refundable up to 150% of their “Trip Value” which they stated when they enrolled.
Travel delay benefits are also extended for those experiencing a “civil disorder”.
What are some of the things your travel insurance policies cover that people may not realize, beyond the usual emergency evacuation and that sort of thing?
Overlooked benefits include Rental Car Damage; Travel Delay greater than 6 hours; Missed Connection of a cruise or tour departure as a result of a cancellation or delay of an airline flight of 3 hours or more due to inclement weather; Baggage Delay more then 24 hours; Emergency Assistance; Supplemental Medical Coverage
If I have a health insurance policy at home through my employer, will this typically cover me overseas as well for medical costs?
Every medical insurance policy is different, so the traveler needs to read through their domestic medical insurance policy and also contact their insurance carrier with any questions they may have on coverage while traveling internationally. Some definitions of coverage for an “emergency” can be quite restrictive (such as to be eligible for benefits the condition must “threaten life or limb”). Such restrictive definition language in a domestic medical insurance policy leaves the traveler unprotected except for the medical benefits provided in their travel insurance policy.
Many individuals over age 64 do not realize that Medicare does not follow them outside of the USA, and their Medicare supplement may only offer limited benefits or nothing at all for care outside the USA.
One very costly service not offered by any domestic medical insurance is emergency medical evacuation “all the way back to the traveler’s home”.
When preparing for a trip, at what time should a traveler plan to purchase a travel insurance policy?
In order to be fully protected, I always advise the traveler to purchase their medical insurance policy on the same day as they make their initial deposit for their trip. One significant consideration for when a traveler purchases their travel insurance policy is the consideration surrounding a “pre-existing medical condition” for the traveler, travel companion or a family member back home. Most travel insurance policies have exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions. Many travel insurance will however waive this exclusion based upon when the traveler purchases their policy (usually on the date of the initial deposit of within 7, 10, or 14 days following the initial deposit). The carrier we use for vacation travel extends this waiver all the way to purchasing travel insurance at the “final payment date” to a travel supplier (for the amount that is prepaid and non-refundable).
Any other thoughts/advice concerning travel insurance for Crooked Trails travelers?
The majority of our business comes from referrals from our existing clients, please call us with your questions and advise. We enjoy talking directly with our clients to fully understand their needs and educating them on the nuances of travel insurance so they can make a wise decision and be fully protected with a policy that meets their unique needs.
We have extensive background experience in insurance and specialize in travel insurance and international medical insurance and are thus able to offer our clients “expert” advice.
One additional consideration is we can offer “group travel insurance” as a discount of 10-15% when there are 10 or more travelers who are traveling together as a group.
As a traveler yourself, what are the top 3 countries you’re dreaming of going to next?
There are so many places we have not experienced that we would like to visit, such as New Zealand, Antarctica, China, Indonesia, Africa, Russia & Eastern Europe just to name a few. So many places and so little time!
Cameron Strong, President of CJET Global Travel Insurance and fellow adventurer, can be reached at:
(206) 283-8737 and cam at cjetglobal dot net
Erupting volcano photo by coolinsights via Creative Commons
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