What is Travel Insurance?

Traveller sitting on her luggage and holding a straw hat
Traveler sitting on her luggage and holding a straw hat

With ‘international travel’ moving from a luxury to what middle class does for a holiday, lifestyle has come a long way. So has the need to be safe when you are travelling. Travel insurance can help cover medical expenses or financial losses you might incur while travelling. It’s often pitched as the best protection for those travelling domestically or overseas. This article will explain what kind of coverage you need before you sign on the dotted line and start paying for protection against the unforeseen and unpredictable.
Before you even begin looking into travel insurance, you need to have an understanding of what type of coverage you need and whether it is even necessary to begin with. Following are the types of travel insurances.

• Trip Cancellation Insurance
As its name implies, trip cancellation insurance (sometimes known as trip interruption insurance or trip delay insurance) covers you in the event that you or your travelling companions need to cancel, interrupt or delay your trip. The cancellation of the trip could be due to delay in processing of your visa or passport, sudden business conflict, illness or injury, or even health issues. This insurance covers your expense in these cases.

• Travel Medical and Major Medical Insurance
Both of these types of insurance provide medical protection if the policyholder becomes ill or is injured while travelling. The difference between these two types of insurance is the duration of coverage: Travel medical insurance provides only short-term medical coverage; the duration can be anywhere from five days to up to one year, depending on the policy. Major medical insurance is for travelers who are planning to take longer trips of six months to one year or longer.
These types of insurance can help you cover medical expenses and locate doctors, hospitals, healthcare facilities and foreign-language services if you become ill or injured while travelling overseas. Whether you purchase medical insurance separately or you already have it, find out if you will need prior approval from your insurance company for any type of medical care.

• Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance
This type of insurance provides coverage for medically necessary evacuation and transportation to medical facilities. This becomes extremely useful should you become stranded in a remote rural area without easy access to needed facilities.

• Specialized Coverage
There are also more specialized forms of travel insurance. For example, some focus on the needs of business travelers, extreme athletes or expatriates. So, if you are planning to participate in high-risk or extreme sports while away, selecting an insurance that is made specifically to cover you in case of a sports-related injury might be more cost-effective and needs-specific than selecting an insurance policy that provides more general coverage.

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