5 Often Overlooked Travel Insurance Benefits – Forbes Advisor

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When you buy a good travel insurance policy, you get much more than protection for the financial investment of your trip. Beyond benefits for potential trip cancellations, delays and interruptions, medical benefits and lost baggage, a policy offers much more value. These services provide emergency assistance, troubleshooting solutions and advice when you need it most.

Here are the overlooked benefits that the best travel insurance plans typically include that can improve your travel experience, provide monetary reimbursement, and help if you need medical attention.

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1. Teamwork makes the (dream) vacation a success: travel assistance

When you purchase a policy from a travel insurance company, you pay for benefits, but you also get 24-hour travel assistance.

Whether you’re traveling to Minneapolis or Madrid, your travel insurance company’s 24/7 support team can provide travel assistance services you might not even know existed. These may include:

  • Referrals from medical providers
  • Organize a last minute trip
  • Help with language translation
  • Emergency money transfers
  • Replace lost documents such as a passport

“Unlike trip cancellation insurance with a trip investment to protect, there is no monetary value of coverage associated with this particular benefit,” says Christine Buggy, spokesperson for Travelex Insurance Services.

“With a simple phone call, you navigate situations that are often difficult and time-consuming to resolve on your own,” says Buggy.

“No one wants to spend their dream vacation figuring out how to fix a problem that has arisen. Travel Assistance saves time and energy so you can focus on your travel experience,” adds she.

2. News flash: Covid updates and alerts

You may be traveling to a country that requires you to take a Covid test, or may have other Covid-related travel mandates that you must adhere to in order to visit.

“Travel Assistance is also navigating the various Covid restrictions and country requirements still in effect,” says Buggy. This could be a benefit that you may not know is covered by your travel insurance company, even if you have researched the best pandemic travel policies.

You can call your travel insurance company’s 24/7 support hotline or use their app to learn more about Covid restrictions, real-time safety alerts based on your location, advice general travel information and one-click instant help.

“This benefit helps you feel supported during your trip, knowing you have help around the clock to find a nearby testing site, find new accommodations, extend your stay, change flights, or more,” says Buggy. “For Travelex customers, all of this can be done at the touch of a button via the Travel On app.”

3. Buddy System: Travel Companion Benefits

If you have emergency medical evacuation coverage, you generally won’t have to fly solo if you are injured or become ill during your trip and require medical evacuation. Travel insurance companies usually offer benefits for a traveling companion so you don’t have to recover alone.

“If you have a medical condition, you can worry less about being alone,” says Buggy. A travel insurance plan can reimburse you for your travel companion’s extra hotel and meal expenses so they can stay with you, Buggy says.

Your policy may also cover the one-way flight of a companion to accompany you.

If you are traveling alone, you may be reimbursed for the cost of bringing a friend or family member to the medical facility to be there with you.

And, if you’re traveling with children, travel insurance plans can pay for the cost of airfare for the children, including the cost of an attendant to help them.

4. Advance payments for medical expenses

Even if you have travel medical insurance, getting sick or injured away from home can be a daunting and emotional experience, especially if you’re abroad. When this happens, you may find that the country you are in requires prepayment or pre-authorization of payment before you can receive medical treatment. Your travel insurance company can step in to help you in these situations.

“If you become ill or injured during your trip, your travel insurance company can arrange an advance payment to secure admission to a hospital facility,” says Travelex’s Buggy. “It means you’re not left alone, in an unfamiliar place, to find the emergency funds for a hefty bill. Prepayment often means expedited medical services when you need them most.

5. Simplified reimbursement during travel hiccups

You may not realize that a travel insurance company usually offers electronic reimbursement during your trip if you encounter any unexpected problems or delays.

“Automatic payments for qualified travel delays are an overlooked travel insurance benefit,” says Daniel Durazo, spokesperson for Allianz Global Assistance.

For example, with its SmartBenefits feature, Allianz actively monitors customer flights for delays of three to five hours (depending on the policy benefit) and automatically files a claim for the customer, Durazo explains. You elect to receive a fixed payment of $100 per person, per day, for travel delays covered by your policy. You don’t need to provide receipts, just proof of your lateness.

Reasons for delays covered typically include inclement weather, airline maintenance issues, or a transit strike. But if you miss your connecting flight because you’re browsing the airport’s duty-free shops and lose track of time, that’s not grounds for a claim.

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