Using Travel Insurance

Now that the summer travel season is starting, a number of travelers are concerning themselves with protecting themselves, their family, and their vacation investment. What you should get is travel insurance if you are planning a trip that involves a sizable financial outlay. What can be covered in this case are missed flights, bungled connections, and illness. You can consider this as a safeguard for financial loss which can be used should there be cancelled trips, delays, or interruptions.

For travel policies, despite their variations, they include baggage loss and flight insurance, accident, sickness, and financial protection in the event of trip interruption and delay. Usually included when it comes to the best policies is medical evacuation which is a feature rarely offered by conventional health insurance plans. In this case, it comes with an expense because one or more airplanes or helicopters are used to retrieve the sick traveler. Due to illness, accident, or weather, trip cancellation is the most likely occurrence in this case. Trip interruption also is a possible scenario, usually because a traveler must cut short a trip to go home.

The price runs to around 5 to 7 percent of the trip cost per person when it comes to the cost of travel insurance. When it comes to a $3,000 per person trip, an additional $150 or $210 may be included. While you are shopping for travel insurance policies, do consider looking for one with a 24 hour hot line providing international access as this is essential for medical emergencies. Do consider checking the US State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC before you travel abroad. What you can obtain from them include information on crime, medical care, drug supplies, and on areas prone to natural disasters and political instability.

In this case, most US Embassies and Consulates maintain 24 hour operators or answering services to assist Americans in difficulty when it comes to robberies abroad. Here, you can get help from them when it comes to expediting the replacement of a stolen passport, canceling stolen credit cards, dealing with local police, and assisting with language problems. You can also rely on them to provide a list of English speaking lawyers, direct travelers to the right source for replacing airline tickets, and instruct travelers on getting money transferred.

If you lose your passport, they can provide you with temporary identification. What security reasons have changed is the ability for passports to be changed within 24 hours. What will be issued to Americans who lose their passports are new passports with computer generated digital photographs.

It's smart for any traveler to pack, in a separate location from the passport, a notarized copy of a birth certificate, a copy of the information pages of the passport and two passport size photos. Here, if the actual passport is stolen then the process will be speedier. In this case, the State Department advises travelers to also bring along photocopies of credit cards, airline tickets, and drivers' licenses and leave a second set of photocopies behind with a friend or family member.

When you return home, have a copy of the police report so that you can file insurance claims. It is important that a traveler contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate for advice if he is exposed to political instability abroad. When it comes to foreign travel, you can get tips from the State Department's publication including those on street safety, driving, and terrorism. You can order a copy from the State Department or read about it online at the State Department's Web site.

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