Going on a vacation is such an exciting prospect that we often forget about the most important thing associated with a safe and secure trip - purchasing travel insurance. Sure, nobody wants to think of facing unpleasant situations when all one wants is some fun on a trip to the US. But we all know just how necessary it is to purchase travel insurance for ourselves and for our loved ones.
At times, stories of unhappy customers who have been denied claims keep surfacing and add to the dread related to purchasing travel insurance. We tend to assume that all insurance companies are the same and all they want is to gobble up our hard-earned money.Claims may be denied because the incident was not covered by the policy or was specified as an exclusion; the insurer failed to provide supporting documentation; the plan was not effective when the incident took place; or the claim was submitted to the insurance company much later that it should have.
Most of the time, the customer is at fault for not choosing the right travel insurance policy. Once you decide that you want to buy travel insurance before heading to the US, you have to assess your needs and purchase a policy accordingly. Here's what can happen if you don't.
Choosing a Plan Under-Suited to Your Needs
This could possibly happen either because you didn't assess your needs at all or you did assess them but the premium for the right policy was just too high. Whatever your reasons, you could find yourself in serious trouble if you purchase travel insurance to cover you for just one or two aspects when you actually need full coverage.
Some people only buy a travel insurance policy that covers loss of baggage or cancellation of flight/tour instead of a travel medical insurance policy because they are generally in good health. If, unfortunately, they happen to break a leg, twist an arm, or contract a disease, they will have to bear all the medical expenses on their own.
It is well-known that medical costs in the US are very high. And in case of emergencies they can go well over $10,000! Emergency evacuation costs depend on the seriousness of the illness and distance of the nearest medical facility. If the illness is such that the patient needs a nurse and other necessary equipment during the air-lift, the costs can be even higher.
While some individuals may be aware of these things and purchase an insurance plan that covers medical and evacuation costs, they may be unaware of the limits defined by their insurance provider.
These limits may be applicable to the amount of money that the insured can claim or to the age of the insured person. Paying premiums for a travel medical insurance plan that doesn't fulfill your requirements and paying for medical treatments abroad at the same time will affect your finances considerably.
Also, if you have a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes or heart-related problems, the policy will need to cover you for them as well. Purchasing a policy that will cover every other thing except the pre-existing condition can either prove to be fatal or very costly.
Some people may plan an adventure-filled trip to the US and may be all geared up to experience the thrills of trekking, paragliding, surfing, etc. However, they may not be aware that the travel medical insurance they have purchased won't cover them for accidents related to extreme sports.
Even if you do buy a policy that covers you for accidents related to taking part in extreme sports, you need to look out for all the clauses and exceptions to the policy. You may not be able to claim your share if you went trekking too high or scuba diving too far than the height or distance specified by your insurance policy.
It is also important to choose a travel insurance policy keeping in mind the date the policy comes into effect and the tenure of the policy. Imagine purchasing a policy that comes into effect a month or two after your travel dates. Even if you purchased a policy that would cover you for lost baggage, you wouldn't be able to do anything about it as the policy would come into effect only after a month or so! You certainly can't blame the insurance providers in such a case.
Choosing a Plan Over-Suited to Your Needs
By paying for more than what you need, you are only losing your money to the insurance providers. Covering your aging grandparents for risks related to engaging in extreme sports is a waste of money because you know they aren't going to take part in such activities. Analyze for how long you or your family members intend to stay in the US. If you are only going to stay for a couple of months, purchase a policy that covers you for 6 months at the most instead of one that covers you for a whole year.
If you are going to be traveling to the US on a regular basis, a travel insurance policy that is applicable on multiple visits will be cost-effective than purchasing single-trip travel insurance every time.
Insurance companies offer a number of coverage options to customers. Before purchasing travel insurance, it is advisable to take into consideration the policies offered by different insurers. Compare policies based on the coverage it provides, the premium it charges, the time period it covers, and the amount you can claim. Choose wisely and always go through the documents in detail before you sign the dotted line. Indeed, this is a daunting task but once you make sure everything is perfect, you can relax and have maximum fun on your vacation.