The Future for the Travel Industry is Bright
A recent survey shows that 75% of American’s that took part in the study said they would keep traveling in 2020. This is a very positive note, especially when compared to the doom and gloom that the travel industry is currently facing. The data is taken from a ‘Travel Sentiment Monitor’ created by luggage storage provider, LuggageHero, who have an ongoing study to keep track of what Americans are feeling about traveling in general.
The results have many other interesting insights including the fact that many people that are going to keep their travel plans intact will do so if their departure and destinations do not have any quarantines. This makes a lot of sense from the passenger’s perspective because quarantines will have associated travel restrictions which will naturally make traveling hard. The report also shows that some people will keep traveling but may change their destinations to avoid risk. For example, 40% of Americans said they would replace international travel with domestic travel. This points to the fact that travelers are overall willing to travel but are being cautious.
Vigilance is further highlighted by how travelers are updating their budgets to suit the risks associated with travel due to the Coronavirus. Only 35% of the people that participated in the survey said they would keep their budget the same. The rest will adjust their travel expenses down to reduce costs and associated expenses.
The LuggageHero report is a great look at what to expect from the future of the travel industry. Most people are willing to travel as long as they have the proper precautions in place. This is something that is not lost on the travel providers who are already adapting to the new norm and updating their services to address customer needs. For example, airlines are giving passengers on planes enough space between seating to help keep their customers compliant with social distancing rules. Hotels are looking at ways to increase hygiene and cleaning services so that guests feel safe. Travel insurance providers are offering upgrades on policies that cover risks associated with the Coronavirus and others like Trawick International are including coverage for COVID-19 in their policies. To learn more about how Trawick International is covering the Coronavirus, visit our COVID-19 FAQ page.
Travel will return to normal, but it will not be the same. Passengers will expect providers to accommodate concerns about COVID-19 while they themselves will take the necessary precautions. This will range from using face masks to buying ‘pandemic’ friendly travel insurance. Some analysts predict that travel insurance purchases will increase because travelers can see the benefit of coverage in a time that has high risks associated with travel. Others even claim that a lot of people that have been given vouchers instead of refunds on airline tickets will cause a rush to utilize those tickets once things get back to normal.
If you are planning a trip in the upcoming few months, get in touch with our expert customer support team to get details on what type of travel insurance will serve your needs here.
at 17 May 2020
Every country in the world has their own sets of laws and policies that govern how residents pay for medical care. Some have socialized care which is provided by the government or privatized care where the patient pays for the care out of their own pocket or through insurance.
So, what happens if you are visiting a country and need medical attention?
In most cases even if the country has free healthcare for its own citizens, a foreign visitor will have to pay for their own bills. This is one of the leading reasons that vacationers purchase travel insurance. They want to avoid the bills and costs associated with an unexpected medical expense abroad.
Medical Expense Coverage
When planning a vacation, tourists always think of the great time they are going to have. Whether that includes lounging at the pool, getting a tan on the beach or enjoying a drink at a trendy bar, most dream vacations do not include illness or injury. However, it is a risk we all take when we leave our homes. This risk is most amplified when we are in unfamiliar locations or taking part in activities that can lead to getting hurt. Since we have no control over accidents or illness, it is best to be prepared.
Medical expenses coverage is there to pay for emergency treatment in case you fall sick or get hurt on holiday. Depending on the type of cover you have purchased, the following protections are included:
- Emergency Treatment and Medical Expenses
- Travel and Accommodation Costs
- Search and Rescue Costs
- Hospital Expenses
- Travel and Accommodation of Companion (Someone to stay with you while In the Hospital)
Exceptions for Medical Coverage
It is important to read the wording of your policy carefully before departing on your trip. This makes sure that you know exactly what is covered in case of an issue during your holiday.
A common thing that vacationers overlook is that some travel insurance does not offer benefits if you are found to be under the influence of alcohol when injured. Most people will probably have a glass of wine or some scotch if they are on vacation, so it is something to be aware of when traveling. Some policies also do not cover accidents that happen if the insured is under the influence of recreational or illegal drugs.
Some Activities Might Not Be Covered
Some other points to keep in mind is that travel insurance policies also have language that points out that injuries sustained because of violent activities or behavior will not be covered. Insurance providers also have restrictions on what type of activities they cover during your vacation. So normal sightseeing and tours may be covered but you could be denied medical expenses if you injure yourself in a high-risk activity like mountain climbing. Always check the language in your policy about what type of activities are covered. You may need to upgrade your policy if you plan on going for example on a ski trip instead of a regular visit to a city like Paris.
Medical expenses are standard for most travel insurance policies. What you need to keep in mind is that the coverage level and other restrictions vary. The best way to avoid being blindsided by a refusal from the insurance company for a medical expense is to go over all the details before making a purchase.
Emergency & Necessary Treatment
Travel insurance policies cover emergency or necessary treatments that are needed in the case of an illness or injury. Basically, this means that any medical procedure that is required to treat you after getting hurt or sick is covered. Emergency treatments are where you need immediate medical attention. Necessary treatments are ones that are needed and cannot be delayed or averted. However, anything beyond that is not covered. For example, cosmetic procedures or a regular medical checkup will not fall under this cover (with the exception of our wellness checkup benefit.)
Medical repatriation is the act of bringing the insured back to their country of origin because of an illness or injury that cuts their trip short. Many travel insurance policies have medical repatriation as part of medical expenses cover. In some cases, repatriation can become quite expensive especially if they require new tickets or travel plans that need to be arranged in a short period of time. Special chartered flights with the proper medical facilities may be needed to transport a patient. These special flights are called air ambulances and you should check the language in your insurance to confirm that they are included as part of repatriation. However, these sorts of travel arrangements may not always be approved by the travel insurance company. If the movement of the patient is deemed harmful, alternative solutions may be provided. This is usually decided on a case-by-case basis so you should keep in mind that an air ambulance is not always the best solution.
Travel Insurance medical expenses may also cover a few other items like the cost of tickets and accommodation that must be forgone because the policyholder had to leave early. Another aspect of this is when a tourist receives treatment and is not fit to travel. They may need a few days or weeks to recover before they can depart for their home country. Travel insurance also covers these expenses and you should always speak with your provider about these points before purchasing a plan.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
Some travelers may have existing medical conditions that can be a problem or may make their travel riskier when compared to a healthy individual. It is best to speak with your insurance provider and tell them about your pre-existing condition so that they can help you get the right coverage. If you do not do this, it is likely that any medical emergencies that may arise during your travel because of your condition will not be covered by travel insurance.
Steps to Take During a Medical Emergency
Even though insurance providers try to be as customer-friendly as possible, you cannot just call up the company and expect benefits. In case of an emergency, you must follow certain steps to ensure that you get reimbursements and the coverage that you are entitled to under your policy. There can be variation between travel insurance so always read your policy documents, so you know the procedures for your specific plan. If you are not sure what to do, you can always contact the sales or support team and ask them directly before you travel so that you are prepared.
If you are on vacation and are faced with a medical emergency, then follow the below steps and you should have all your bases covered:
- Immediately call the hotline for your travel insurance provider. Normally there should be a customer support person that can help you through a medical emergency. Make sure you keep the contact number and contact method readily available at all times while traveling. If you are unable to do it yourself have a relative or travel companion do it for you.
- Always keep cash or credit card on hand to pay for certain expenses on the fly. Sometimes you cannot wait or delay while waiting for the insurance company. In other cases, it is not possible for the medical staff to take payment from the insurance. So, it’s best to make these smaller payments yourself and then get reimbursed by insurance later.
- Depending on where you are vacationing, the hospital may not offer any medical assistance unless they are assured that you can pay for the bills. You should relay this information to the travel insurance hotline so they can guide you on how to give the hospital staff this confirmation.
- The bulk of your treatment and medical bills will be covered by insurance. The hotline will arrange for guarantees to present to the hospital or clinic.
- Always document everything. This includes itemized bills, doctors’ notes, lab reports, and receipts for medicine and other medically necessary items. The more proofs you have the better it is when filing claims. The travel insurance provider will require all this information when you reach back home.
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at 6 May 2020
The travel industry is in an incredible amount of turmoil as the coronavirus epidemic sweeps across the globe. Airlines have been hard hit as passengers cancel their tickets or reschedule dates. Carriers have also been forced to shut down routes to countries and cities that have high rates of infections. All this has caused air traffic to drop significantly both internationally and domestically. As expected, this drastic drop in paying customers has hit the bottom line of airlines. They have scrambled to preserve cash and keep their doors open.
The risks of unannounced travel restrictions or canceled flights are also a major issue for travelers who have planned trips in advance and have made financial investments in tickets and other travel arrangements. Smart travelers have invested in travel insurance, but many have not and are left to reply on the airlines refund and exchange policies.
In the US, the government is looking at aid packages to keep airlines from buckling under the losses. The airlines themselves have taken drastic measures like furloughing employees and grounding older planes to replace them with newer, more efficient aircraft. Even these deep cuts do not seem to be enough to stem losses. One tactic that airlines have started to utilize is issuing vouchers for people whose flights have been canceled due to the Coronavirus. What this means is that instead of giving the passenger a refund of the ticket amount, they give them a voucher that can be used for a future flight. This practice is coming into favor because it helps the airline keep cash in their business and ensures that the passenger will fly with them in the future and not a competitor.
This practice may seem like a good idea to keep the financial outlook of the airlines positive, but it is against the rules. It has gotten so out of hand that the DOT has issued statements letting customers know they are due refunds. The EU has also made sure similar rules are in place to protect consumers. With governments stepping in to make sure refunds are issued, airline industry organizations are pushing back and want these rules to be relaxed or completely removed from the books. Industry advocates argue that airlines just cannot afford to offer everyone a refund at this time and need to issue vouchers instead.
With so much uncertainty on the horizon, passengers who are currently traveling or have plans to travel soon are stuck in a predicament. They cannot rely on the airlines to issue refunds. The only way to protect their investment in tickets and other travel costs is to purchase travel insurance that covers all the risks associated with the current travel situations. A good plan that offers insurance for trip cancellations and medical expenses for infectious disease are great policies that will give you pieces of mind that you will not be left in the cold. Some travel insurance companies are also issuing vouchers much like the airlines. It’s better than nothing but in these difficult times, most people need their liquidity. Our carriers, Nationwide and Gbg, are offering full cash refunds up until two days before your departure date should your plans have changed for any reason. This makes it a great choice for people considering coverage for their travel plans in these times of coronavirus.
If you would like to learn more about your options, please speak to an expert customer support agent here.
at 15 Apr 2020
Why You Should Buy Cruise Insurance from a Travel Insurance Provider
The cruise industry has evolved vastly over the last decade and now caters to a wide variety of passengers and demographics. Gone are the days of cruise ships full of retirees making their way into warm tropical islands. Today you can book a cruise that can take you from the North pole to the south with a wide range of people from all age groups. Activities onboard ships can be almost overwhelming and include bars, swimming pools, dining and so much more. Passengers have had to face cancellations or rescheduling because of mechanical issues with ships, bad weather, or, as we see in the news today, disease and epidemics. Most travelers understand the risks and make the prudent decision of purchasing cruise insurance to protect their investment. Cruise operators have seized on the behavior of the passengers have started to offer trip coverage. Cruise operators have made the process of buying insurance convenient and easy when you buy a ticket. This is the path of least resistance for most people but is it the best choice?
What Travel Insurance Providers Offer
When buying travel insurance from a cruise company, you have one choice of plan to purchase. This means that the passenger has no choice but what the cruise operator is offering if they buy through their website. However, with an independent travel insurance provider, you have an incredible number of choices and plans to select from. You can check providers' reputations, the benefits they provide and obtain a customized travel insurance plan that suits your needs.
Trip cancellation travel insurance offers reimbursements if you cancel your trip for a set of predefined reasons. For example, if someone gets sick or death occurs, your trip cancellation insurance will provide reimbursement. Insurance offered by the Cruise operator will, in most cases, have fewer reasons when compared to travel insurance provided by a travel insurance provider. This means that travel insurance purchased from a travel insurance provider will offer you more protection when compared to cruise insurance policies.
Trip insurance bought through a cruise line will, in many cases, only cover the tickets and travel arrangements purchased through the cruise operator. If you have airline tickets you bought to arrive at the cruise departure point, that will not be covered. Travel insurance from a travel insurance provider allows you to cover all travel associated with your trip in one policy. Once again, this gives you better coverage against exposure to risks.
Higher Compensation & Lower Costs
Cruise lines are experts at running their businesses. Travel insurance is not their main focus and is most often being offered through a third party. It may be convenient to purchase them with just one click, but the associated expense may be higher. Travel insurance providers can offer better deals and rates when compared to cruise insurance. They can also provide higher compensation and benefits. This means if you would like more coverage for your luggage, you can get it instead of cruise lines that will have lower limits.
Travel insurance plans are under the State Department of Insurance and must abide by the rules and regulations in place for that state. This gives an added layer of security for people purchasing from a travel insurance provider. The rights of the consumer and the insurance company are protected through these regulations making transactions and reimbursements easier and fair.
It boils down to that it may be slightly more convenient to purchase insurance from a Cruise operator, but if you spend a little more time buying a plan from a travel insurance provider, you can get a lot more. This includes better pricing, better coverage, more options, and the knowledge that you are buying insurance from experts in travel coverage.
Looking for the right type of cruise insurance?
at 4 Apr 2020
Traditional Travel Insurance vs Airline Insurance
Buying airline tickets has become incredibly easy. Most people don’t even use travel agents anymore. They simply hop online, search using a flight aggregator, and select a flight that best fits their needs. In most cases, they pay for the ticket online through the airline website and receive an email with confirmation and a digital ticket. No human interaction whatsoever. Airlines have kept up to speed with the behaviors of their customers and are offering more and more options to travelers on their websites or through their apps. One such added value is the ability to purchase travel insurance right after your ticket.
For most people, this may seem like a great deal and a convenient solution. However, is the insurance the airline offers as good as traditional travel insurance? We explore the difference between the two in this post.
Airlines are not obligated to offer their passengers any sort of travel coverage. This is an extra service they offer as a convenience to their customers. There is no standard or baseline travel insurance on offer by all the airlines. Some carriers do not even offer travel insurance. While others use third parties to give coverage plans to people that are interested.
As mentioned above, airline travel plans can vary in many ways including benefits, costs, and types of coverage. For example, one carrier’s insurance may cover the entire cost of your trip while another may have a set limit of up to $1000. There can also be a difference in benefits, like travel medical coverage or lost baggage. Plans also come in many different price points, from the very cheap to fairly expensive. All this can once again make it hard to understand or compare plans.
Lack of Choice
A problematic part of buying airline insurance is that travelers have no choice. In most cases, an airline has an underwriter to their insurance and that is the only one a ticket holder can select. This means even if the insurance company is not your first choice, you are forced to go with them if you buy through the airline.
The lack of options does not stop with just the underwriter or third-party provider. Most airlines only have one plan that you can choose. A one solution fits all approach is used which can leave you exposed to risks that you would normally want to have covered. Since there is no customization of plans you may find that sometimes many of the activities you wish to participate in during your trip are not covered. One common example is if you are into adventure sports and take a trip on which you will be rock climbing, the airline insurance may not cover this type of high-risk activity.
Independent Travel Insurance Providers Offer True Choice
One of the great things about purchasing traditional travel insurance is that you have an actual choice. A traveler can easily shop around for price, benefit limits, and coverages. There is no restriction on who you purchase from and what type of coverage you get. When buying regular travel insurance, you can work with agents to find the plans that suit your needs and give you coverage where you need them. Whether that is higher reimbursement for baggage because you are carrying expensive camera equipment or better medical coverage because you are taking a trip to an area that has a high chance of disease. Traditional travel insurance gives you the ability to make choices that will reflect the risks you expect to face.
Expertise In Travel Insurance
Airlines are essentially middlemen for the insurance provider. This means that they are not the most knowledgeable about the coverage. When you deal with a travel insurance provider directly, you get the massive benefit of interacting with experts in the field who have firsthand knowledge. They can offer guidance and recommendations that will save you time, money, and headaches.
So the next time you need travel insurance, weigh the pros and cons of airline travel insurance and traditional travel insurance, and make an informed decision that is best for your circumstances.
Trawick International offers many plans that cover trip cancellation, lost baggage, travel medical, and more. These plans even cover COVID-19 like any other illness. To learn more about how our plans treat the coronavirus, visit our COVID-19 FAQ page. Click below to get a quote or to chat with a travel insurance expert to find the right travel insurance for your needs.
at 31 Mar 2020