5 Often Overlooked Benefits of Travel Insurance – Forbes Advisor

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When you buy a good travel insurance policy, you get much more than protection for your travel financial investment. Beyond benefits for potential trip cancellation, delay and disruption, medical benefits and baggage loss, there is much more value packed into a policy. These services provide emergency support, troubleshooting solutions and guidance when you need it most.

Here are the overlooked benefits that the best travel insurance plans generally include, which can enhance your travel experience, provide monetary reimbursement, and help if you need medical care.

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1. Teamwork Makes (Dream) Vacations Work: Travel Assistance

When you buy a policy from a travel insurance company, you’re paying for benefits, but you also get round-the-clock travel assistance.

Whether you’re traveling to Minneapolis or Madrid, your travel insurance company’s 24/7 assistance service team can provide travel assistance services you may not know about. These may include:

  • Medical provider referrals
  • Making last minute travel arrangements
  • Help with language translation
  • Emergency money transfers
  • Replacement of lost documents such as passports

“Unlike trip cancellation insurance with a travel investment to protect, there is no dollar value of coverage associated with this particular benefit,” says Christine Buggy, spokeswoman for Travelex Insurance Services.

“With a simple phone call, you walk through situations that are often difficult and take time to figure out on your own,” says Buggy.

“No one wants to spend their dream vacation figuring out how to resolve an issue that came up. Travel assistance helps you save time and energy so you can focus on enjoying your travel experience,” she adds.

2. News Flash: Covid updates and alerts

You may be traveling to a country that requires you to take a Covid test, or that may have other Covid-related travel mandates that you must comply with in order to visit.

“Travel assistance also navigates the various Covid restrictions and country requirements that still persist,” says Buggy. This may be a benefit that you may not know is supported by your travel insurance company, even if you have researched the best pandemic travel policies.

You can call your travel insurance company’s 24/7 helpline or use its app to find out about Covid restrictions, real-time safety alerts based on your location, general travel advice and help instant click to call.

“This benefit helps you feel supported on your journey, knowing you have help day or night to find a nearby test site, find new accommodation, extend your stay, change a flight or more a lot,” says Buggy. “For Travelex customers, this can all be done at the touch of a button through the Travel On app.”

3. Buddy system: Travel companion benefits

If you have emergency medical evacuation cover, you usually won’t have to fly unless you are injured or ill during your trip and need medical evacuation. Travel insurance companies usually offer benefits for a travel companion so you’re not alone in the recovery.

“If you have a medical situation, you can worry less about being alone,” says Buggy. A travel insurance plan can reimburse you for your travel companion’s extra hotel and meal expenses so they can stay by your side, says Buggy.

Your policy may also cover a companion’s one-way flight home to accompany you.

If you are traveling alone, you may be reimbursed for the cost of bringing a friend or family member to the medical facility to be there with you.

And, if you’re traveling with children, travel insurance plans can pay for the cost of flying the children home, including the cost of an attendant to help them.

4. Advance payments for medical expenses

Even when you have travel medical insurance, getting sick or injured while away from home can be a scary and emotional experience, especially if you’re abroad. When this happens, you may find that the country you are in requires prepayment or pre-authorization of payment before you can receive medical treatment. Your travel insurance company can step in to help in these situations.

“If you become ill or injured during your trip, your travel insurance company can arrange advanced payment to ensure admission to a hospital facility,” says Buggy at Travelex. “This means you won’t be left alone, in an unfamiliar place, to find emergency funds for a heavy bill. Paying upfront often means expedited medical services at a time when you may need them most.”

5. Easy refund during travel delays

You may not realize that a travel insurance company generally offers electronic reimbursement during your trip if you have unforeseen problems or delays.

“Automatic payments for qualified travel delays are an overlooked benefit of travel insurance,” says Daniel Durazo, spokesperson for Allianz Global Assistance.

For example, with its SmartBenefits feature, Allianz actively monitors customer flights for delays of three to five hours (depending on the policy benefit) and automatically submits a claim to the customer, Durazo says. You choose to receive a flat payment of $100 per person, per day, for travel delays covered by your policy. You do not need to provide receipts, only proof of your lateness.

Reasons for delays that are typically covered include severe weather, airline maintenance issues, or a transit strike. But if you miss your connecting flight because you’re browsing the duty-free shops at the airport and lose track of time, that’s not a reason for a claim.

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