Travel Insurance Basics

Business travel is inherently stressful. You’ve got to navigate airports, adjust to hotel living, deal with jet lag, and be on your game while conducting business with clients. You don’t want to worry about the considerable risks that are always lurking as part of the travel scenario, such as trip cancellations, missed flight connections, lost baggage, terrorism, weather disasters, and medical emergencies away from the comforts of home.
Travel insurance can relieve some of the stress of the unknown. But do you need it? If you’re traveling for pleasure and you’re young and healthy, perhaps not. But if your business depends on closing a deal in Europe, the peace of mind knowing you have some financial protection should things go awry might make a big difference in how you perform.

Specific or Blanket Coverage?

You can buy travel insurance to cover specific needs, such as medical emergencies, or trip interruption. But more often, businesses buy comprehensive policies that include broad, primary coverage, which means your expenses will be taken care of regardless of your other insurance coverage, such as your health insurance or business liability insurance.
Travel policy prices can vary dramatically depending on the extent of coverage needed. Most comprehensive packages cost between five and 12 percent of the total trip cost. Age is also a factor. Rates go up for those over age 50.
The types of policies vary by state and not all insurance companies are licensed in every state. Note too that some types of travel coverage, particularly trip cancellation, may be reimbursement only – meaning, you’ll have to pay out of pocket and then submit paperwork and wait for your insurance company to pay off at a later date.

Game Plan

If you determine that travel insurance makes sense for your business, shop around just as you would for any other type of insurance. Pay attention to a company’s reputation and ratings, in addition to the coverage breadth and premiums.
  • El documento Better Business Bureau Online has listings for all different types of businesses, including travel insurance companies, and is a good place to start. They will have a record of official complaints and how they were resolved.
  • A.M. Best specializes in credit ratings for insurance companies, which indicates the financial ability of an insurance company to pay claims.
  • To learn more, visit the US Travel Insurance Association, a national association of insurance carriers, third-party administrators, and insurance agencies involved in travel insurance and travel assistance products. Companies listed with the USTIA are considered trusted travel insurance providers.
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