BBB: Travel insurance a good bet

  • Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013 9:16 a.m.

CHARLOTTE – Holiday travel can range from hectic to horrible. Whether you are going to Grandma’s or going on a cruise, you should consider travel insurance. Circumstances ranging from bad weather to illnesses or accidents could cause you to miss your connection, cancel your trip, return home early or force you to seek emergency medical treatment while traveling. Travel insurance may keep from losing money due to unforeseen problems.

“Before you purchase coverage, check your homeowner’s or medical insurance policies to avoid paying for overlapping coverage,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “Expensive items such as your video camera, tablet, laptop computer or jewelry may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance should they be stolen while you are traveling.”

If the airline loses your checked luggage, it is required to reimburse you for your bags (up to a certain dollar amount). “If you become sick or injured while traveling,” added Bartholomy, “your personal medical insurance may cover the cost of your medical bills.”

Travel insurance may include these types of coverage:

Trip cancellation/interruption (TCI) – If your plans suddenly change and you have to cancel or end your trip early, TCI may cover your lost travel costs. However, it will only reimburse you for ‘named perils’ listed on the policy, such as injury, sickness or death in the family.

Emergency medical coverage and medical evacuation – If you are going to an area that is far from modern medical facilities, you may need this coverage. If adequate treatment is not available at a local hospital, you would be transferred to the nearest adequate medical facility. However, many policies will not cover medical expenses related to pre-existing conditions.

Baggage loss – Before packing, make a list of everything. If your bag is lost, stolen or damaged, you may be reimbursed for some contents, but probably not all.

If you are buying travel insurance, the BBB has these tips:

Read the fine print. Know exactly what coverage you are getting or not getting. Travel insurance provides coverage for “named perils” which are specific conditions under which they will pay claims. “Many common causes of travel delays such as bad weather, or mechanical problems may be excluded from coverage,” said Bartholomy.

Pay with a credit card. A credit card may offer you additional buyer protections in case your travel insurance does not cover your specific loss.

Don’t buy overlapping coverage. Baggage-loss protection is only necessary if you have more than $2,500 of items in your bags.

For more information, please visit BBB or call 1-877-317-7236 toll-free in N.C. and S.C.

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