Both you and your partner plan to spend two weeks in Europe touring England, France, Spain and Italy. Travel schedules are made at least six months in advance.
In order to answer what ifs, you must know what is covered when something happens that is not your fault and what happens if “you” must make a personal decision. Here are some examples:
What about flight delays or cancellations. If the airline is at fault, they are responsible. On the other hand, if “you” decide to cancel, you must buy special cancellation insurance. It usually costs between 5% and 7% of your ticket cost.
Look at your existing homeowners and medical policies. Note the coverage you have. The one key question is whether or not you are covered outside your home country. Check you credit card perks. You may already have some coverage.
You decide to buy travel insurance. Before you do, however, you must do more research. You've learned that there are two basic types of travel insurance. One covers you for the basics of loss or theft of personal property, medical expenses, trip cancellations and damage to rental properties.
The second type is for medical coverage. Here the specifics become more complex. You should be asking:
If I have a medical emergency, will I be taken to the nearest “Western” hospital? Will my doctor speak English? Can I get a translator? If need be, will I be flown back home? Will my medical expenses be covered? Are there limits on my coverage? Will the cost of medical procedures and drugs be covered? Will a hospital stay be covered?
First, find a reputable insurance company. Next, be sure you have a 24/7 hotline. If something happens you will need immediate assistance. You need the hotline for medical emergencies, for lost or stolen property, for getting cash, for getting prescriptions, for help with airline and hotel cancellations and a host of other situations. You want to know what restrictions are specified. How will you be reimbursed?
Let's take an example. Airlines each have their own cancellation policy. You must follow it. If you try to wing it on your own, you may void your policy. This is why your hotline is so important. You should call immediately and find out exactly what to do. Trip interruption when you must fly home immediately is different from a normal cancellation. This kind of policy is more expensive.
You can buy optional coverage for pre-existing conditions, sporting hazards found in scuba diving for example and traveling in high risk countries. Any alcohol or drug related incidents are not covered.