8 Mistakes People Make When Buying Travel Insurance

by | Aug 31, 2022 | Travel

Travel doesn’t always work out the way you expect. In the age of COVID-19, we know that all too well.As the pandemic continues to disrupt and cancel vacations, many people are taking steps to try and minimize the challenges of altered travel plans. Data suggests that the pandemic prompted more Americans to purchase travel insurance ― or at least to consider it.AdvertisementBut with so many novice travel insurance purchases out there, missteps inevitably occur. We asked experts to share the common mistakes people make when buying travel insurance ― as well as their advice for maximizing coverage and minimizing costs.Waiting too long to buy it“Travel insurance is designed to cover unforeseen, unexpected occurrences,” said Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer of the travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth. “So it’s important to buy a policy before an event happens that could impact your trip.”For example, she said, you might be concerned about hurricanes if you booked a Caribbean cruise in early September. “It would be important to purchase the plan prior to the weather event ― notably, prior to a storm being named,” Moncrief explained.The sooner you buy your travel insurance, the more protection you’ll have.“It’s best practice to purchase travel insurance right after your initial trip deposit ― like when you book your flights or hotel stay,” said Jeff Rolander, director of claims at the travel insurance startup Faye. “In general, to have access to your policy’s entire array of benefits, you must purchase travel protection within 14 days of your initial trip deposit.”AdvertisementNot checking your credit card benefits“The biggest mistake is buying insurance that you don’t need or overbuying coverage,” said money and budgeting expert Andrea Woroch. She noted, for instance, that many people don’t realize rental car insurance is often included in your car insurance policy or credit card.Check your credit card information to see if there are any travel insurance benefits. If you book your trip with that card, then you’ll qualify for those benefits and won’t need to purchase a separate travel insurance policy. “It’s important to understand what type of coverage a credit card offers, which can include delayed baggage, lost/damaged baggage, trip delay, cancellation or interruption, medical treatment or evacuation, travel accident and/or rental card insurance,” Woroch said. If you take frequent trips but have a credit card that doesn’t offer travel insurance, consider looking into a new card to help you cut down on insurance costs. Woroch suggested comparing travel credit cards on sites like CardRates.com.She pointed to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which includes trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip (in addition to trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance, rental car insurance and travel accident insurance). Woroch noted that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card offers similar benefits.Advertisement“You may even have travel insurance through various memberships without realizing,” she said. “For example, the AAA Premier Membership plan offers robust travel coverage including up to $1,500 in trip interruption or delay and lost baggage coverage for up to $500.” Kittiphan Teerawattanakul / EyeEm via Getty ImagesLook into the benefits offered by your credit card before purchasing travel insurance.Purchasing the wrong policy for your needsNot every travel insurance policy is appropriate for every situation.“When buying travel insurance, it’s important for travelers to have a good sense of the specific concerns they have about their trip and the type of coverage they are looking for,” Moncrief said. “Especially post-pandemic, we’re seeing a new group of travel insurance consumers who aren’t as familiar with the product.”Indeed, purchasing travel i …

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