When you plan your trip, it’s tempting to save your pennies by buying cheap travel insurance. After all, that’s more money you can spend on your vacation, right?
While it’s prudent to compare travel insurance policies, buying the cheapest one may not be in your best interest. Why not? Here are a few reasons to think before you buy.
Inexpensive travel insurance has lower benefit limits. For example, when I compared travel insurance companies using an aggregation website, a plan that costs just $47 had only $25,000 in emergency medical coverage, while a plan that cost just $20 more had up to $50,000 in coverage. Baggage limits for the cheaper plan were kept at $500, while the more expensive plan covered up to $1,000 in lost or stolen luggage.
In a real life scenario, we had one traveler who paid $55 for her RoamRight Essential plan (our most inexpensive plan). And in many cases, that may have been the most appropriate choice. However, when she filed a claim for $1,536 in lost luggage, her coverage had a benefit limit of $750. So she lost $786. If she had purchased our premium plan (RoamRight Elite) for $99, her entire claim would have been covered.
Many travel insurance benefits have time requirements tied to them. Insurance coverage relating to weather events are often tied to how long airlines cease services. For the cheapest travel insurance plan I found in my research, your flight had to be delayed for at least 48 hours before you were covered. Most other plans, while they may cost a bit more, require a delay of 24 hours.
Trip delays also have time-associated benefits. Travel delay benefits for cheap plans only kick in if you’ve been delayed for 12 hours or more. More quality plans have benefits after 6 hours.
Coverage for travel insurance varies. If you are comparing multiple companies and choose to go with the most inexpensive option, make sure you understand your coverage. When I was comparing options, the cheapest plan did not provide coverage for terrorism or financial default of a travel supplier. It also did not cover non-medical evacuation, such as political or security evacuation, or offer a waiver for pre-existing conditions.
Other less expensive plans may not give you the same upgrade options. For example, at RoamRight, Cancel For Any Reason coverage is only available with our mid- and upper-tier products.
Going for the cheap travel insurance plan may seem like a great way to save money, but it may leave you vulnerable in ways you haven’t thought of. If you opt for the cheaper travel insurance option, make sure you understand and are comfortable with the coverage and benefit limits.
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RoamRight's Marketing Communications Specialist, Victoria Zidwick, has worked in the travel insurance industry for more than five years. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States and has a handful of international travel experiences.Victoria's travel experiences have changed in recent years, as her family grows and she is learning the ins and outs of traveling with children. Connect with Victoria on LinkedIn or follow her onTwitter or Google Plus.
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