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Travel Insurance

If you travel for business or pleasure purposes, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance. If you've ever lost your luggage or needed medical assistance while on vacation, you will know the value of a good travel insurance policy. If you are making a one-time, short-term trip, you may wish to purchase insurance for that specific period. However, if you travel frequently, there are travel insurance policies that can cover you for multiple trips within a set time frame, such as a 6 or 12-month period.

If your health insurance policy at home does not cover you for medical services abroad, you may benefit from travel insurance coverage. This is especially true if you take part in sports such as skiing or snowboarding, as these are very high-risk activities. However, it is important to note that activities such as this will likely need to be added to the policy, as they are not covered as standard.

It is reported that around one in every one hundred travelers loses a suitcase when flying to and from major airports; this does not include the number of people who receive their luggage damaged, upon arrival. This makes buying travel insurance seem even more worthwhile, because the chances of losing your luggage on your next vacation are relatively high. Depending on the insurance policy you purchase, you may be covered for losing luggage as a whole, losing part of it due to theft or receiving it damaged due to poor handling by airport staff. Similarly, you may be covered for delayed luggage, where you will be reimbursed for replacement of essential items.

If you book your trips in advance, there is a chance that something may happen beforehand, to prevent you from traveling. If you purchase non-refundable tickets, which many do, due to availability and generally lower price, you may still have to pay for your vacation, even though you never even left your house. This is where travel insurance can help. Most policies include cover for trip cancellation and interruption. However, you do need to have a good and unforeseeable reason for cancelling or returning early, and may be required to provide proof of said reason. For this cover, it is especially important to review all of the policy documents.

If you have ever had to sprint from one side of the airport to another for your connecting flight, or been delayed at one airport, only to miss your connecting flight from another, you will appreciate flight connection coverage. This aspect of travel insurance can ensure you do not lose out financially, should you miss your connection. Similarly, the insurance can also cover you for delays due to weather and airline schedule.

There are many other risks, which are usually covered under a good travel insurance policy such as legal assistance, curtailment, return of a minor child, accidental death or disablement and overseas funeral costs. There is also optional coverage available such as car rental collision, high-risk sports, travel to high-risk countries, kidnap and ransom, third party insolvency and additional accidental damage cover. The extent of cover provided and the premium charged for said cover will depend on the policy you purchase.

It is important to remember some common exclusions in travel insurance policies. These exclusions may include acts of war or terrorism, injury or illness due to drug or alcohol use, and some 'Acts of God'. For example, the Iceland volcano eruption of 2010, which left many travelers stranded for around two weeks or more, with no option but to either stay at the airport or pay for the additional time in some form of vacation accommodation. However, coverage for 'Acts of God' may vary depending on the insurer, and can be included under certain policies.

Many travel agents and travel websites offer insurance at the time of purchasing tickets. However, in order to obtain the cover that is right for you, it is best to speak with an experienced insurance agent who deals with travel insurance policies, from a number of insurers, on a regular basis.

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