When a 47-year-old woman was thrown from her horse in Costa Rica, breaking her leg, her husband found himself scrambling to cobble together a $12,000 up-front payment before the local hospital would even see his injured wife.
“Within 30 minutes, we had all the credit card charges reversed, and the wife had seen a doctor to receive pain medication,” shares Brad Gray with insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance. “Within an hour she was in surgery to repair her leg.”
Though travel insurance protects both vacationers and their trip investments, the US Travel Protection and Insurance Services estimates that only 25-30 percent of travelers purchase it. Comprehensive travel insurance, which includes pre-departure (cancellation) and post-departure (trip interruption and/or delay), is the most popular choice because of its wide variety of benefits.
Among many advantages, travel insurance can:
- Speed up medical claims, as it can serve as your primary health policy
- Protect you if a travel supplier goes bankrupt
- Cover baggage losses
Despite the benefits, some are reluctant to buy travel insurance. “Some people think they’re covered by their medical insurance or Medicare when they go overseas, and they’re not,” explains Judy Lorenzani, a Virtuoso travel advisor in Boca Raton, Florida. “Some people think American Express provides them with an air ambulance when they travel. Yes, they’ll arrange it for you, and that’s a great help, but they don’t pay for it. With insurance, you’re covered.”
“If they have aging parents, they might not be taking care of them, but if a parent were to die, they’re not going to go on that trip,” she illustrates. “I have parents getting away who have small children. If a child were to become ill, they’re not going to go on the trip.”
Garcia-Slater helps clients plan their “trip of a lifetime”, and encourages them to protect their investment with travel insurance. She wants them to return with memories instead of regrets, as one client of Lorenzani’s did.
“The lady fell in Cozumel, Mexico and broke her collarbone,” Lorenzani recounts. “An air ambulance back was arranged for her because she was single and alone. Because she did not have insurance, it cost her $20,000.”
The next time you book a trip, ask your Virtuoso travel advisor about buying insurance from one of the network’s two providers: Travelex Insurance Services and Allianz Global Assistance.