International travel can be complicated. Keeping track of flights, luggage, ground transportation, lodging as well as any tickets to attractions can be a juggling act. If one thing goes wrong, your whole trip can suffer. That's where travelers insurance comes in.
Cancellations and Delays
Cancellations happen all the time. Those that are not your fault are usually covered. A simple delay of one connecting flight can mean that your whole itinerary is thrown off. The same should be true for any other form of transportation (i.e., trains, busses or ferries), but you'll want to double-check your insurance policy to make sure it covers everything that you will be using during your trip.
You may miss that first night at the resort, or have your reservation canceled. You may need to reroute your flights. Just because weather or mechanical issues grounded your plane doesn't mean that you should have a new stack of unexpected expenses.
A basic travel insurance plan covers the costs of any complications that arise due to cancellations or delays that are not directly your fault.
Medical expenses (and access to medical care) are on top of many people's minds when traveling, especially internationally. Knowing that you can receive treatment if you become injured or ill can help put your mind at ease. Take the time to know the local medical systems for where you are traveling. Countries with socialized medicine offer medical assistance for travelers (such as Switzerland and Singapore) may not require medical insurance.
Medical insurance has several levels of coverage available, from basic to more comprehensive. And while most individual insurance policies do not cover medical expenses abroad, many will cover emergency expenses. Check your policy's benefit statement to find out.
Loss and Theft
Depending on where you're going, pickpocketing can be a huge issue. Think of all the things you could lose or have stolen. Your wallet, your passport or even (or especially) your luggage are all available. You could be left without clothes, credit cards, or even identification.
If you do have important items stolen, file a report with the local police as soon as you can. If your passport or other i.d. is taken, you may need to find the nearest U.S. embassy as well. The embassy can help replace the things you've lost, but you'll want to call for an appointment because most do not accept walk-ins.
Travel insurance helps replace those things that are replaceable and possibly help speed up the process for you. When applying for coverage, accurately list the items and their value. If you have to travel with cash (instead of credit cards or travelers checks), take only as much as needed.
While travel insurance helps replace these, it cannot erase all the procedures you may have to endure if you lose your identification.
You don't even want to think about it, but it does happen. If someone dies while traveling abroad, it can be difficult to get them back to their home.
The repatriation of a traveler who has died is typical feature that no-one wants to use. However, having the insurance company handle these complicated procedures can take a huge burden off the loved ones involved.
The Safest Thing You Pack
With all of the variables and risks involved in international travel, having a good travel insurance policy can be one of the best things you bring with you. It can keep a few little snags from becoming trip-ruining experience. It's worth a few extra dollars to make sure that the trip of a lifetime brings a lifetime of good memories.
Source: imoney.com, Wikipedia.com, thetravelmagazine.net