Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seems Like Everyone Is Offering You Travel Insurance?

These days it seems that many companies are offering us travel insurance. How do you know who to go with so many offers coming from so many different directions? You must always read the terms of your policy and know what you are covered for.

Buying Direct. Many companies advertise cheap travel insurance, but you need to make sure that you are getting value for money – cheap is not always good. You have a better chance of getting more value for your money if you are buying direct from an insurance company which is also an underwriter.

Credit Card. Many credit card companies also offer free travel insurance coverage. Don't assume you automatically have it when you travel. Most of them will require you to book the flights and other arrangements through your credit card. Expect a few more hurdles to jump through. Nothing is automatic and instant. Make sure you understand what it means and actually how much coverage you are getting. You will need to have a platinum or gold card at least. You might need to pay some extra fees to make sure you are completely covered.

Travel Agents. If you are talking face to face with a travel agent, at least you can ask a number of questions, but remember at the end of the day they are not the insurance company. They are not the underwriters. It is the underwriters who actually make the decision and the insurance company is the company that you will be dealing with. You might be able to complain to your travel agent and get something in return if you are not covered on what you expected. That will have nothing to do with your travel insurance.

Online. Many of the biggest and best insurance companies are the companies that are insuring you are online. There is no need for your travel agent to make the arrangements for you. When that is the case, they are just making commission, and probably just what they are doing -- getting online for you.

Your Bank. Many banks offer travel insurance and other packages with your account. You also need to remember that many of them are just brokers and this is just another arm of their business. When it comes to time for claiming, they are not the company making the decision. Just because they are your bank, and you have a lot of savings with them does not mean you are any better covered. Make sure you are actually getting a better deal – it could be just another way for them to be getting your money without any real benefit to you.

Special activities and special situations will require some real extra coverage, and will not be covered by the cheaper insurance policies. Reading the policy is absolutely crucial, and this is non-negotiable. Depending on where you are travelling you might want different levels of coverage. Understanding about where you are going, and what impact that will have on your level of coverage wanted, is so important. Reading a policy might take you a little time. You should not try to read it in one sitting or when you are in a travel agent's office. It is annoying to have to spend so much time reading such a boring document. Try to approach it as a challenge. Look through the document, mark out areas of concern, and prepare the most challenging questions for whoever is selling the policy to you. See if they can even answer themselves. This approach might make reading that policy a little more interesting.