Every day, there is a new report of some terrorist attack somewhere in the world. Will you let that stop you from exploring new places? I certainly hope not. That would mean that the fearmongers win. The good news is that according to data published by the US Travel Association, international inbound travellers, including visitors from Canada and Mexico, are estimated to have made a good 75.6 million visits to the United States in 2016 alone. These international travellers spent $153.7 billion during their stay in America.
At the same time, travelling in an age where manmade and natural calamities seem to be on the rise warrants some protection for the traveller. And what better way to cover yourself against the unfortunate and unexpected than with visitor’s and travel insurance. However, when it comes to making a choice of insurance policy, many of us are stumped by the various names that different insurers have come up with, from travel insurance to visitor’s coverage, trip insurance and travel medical insurance. It almost seems like they do want to confuse us!
Given my penchant for travel, I have done quite a bit of research on all of this and I am sharing my learnings here so that you don’t have to put in as much effort.
What is Visitors Insurance?
Also known as travel medical insurance or travel health insurance, Visitors Insurance is a type of travel insurance. These short-term travel insurance plans that cover the policy holder against an unexpected medical emergency during their overseas travels. Such insurance can be purchased online, but do so only after you compare various plans from different providers. Did you know that when you buy a plan, the coverage can start as early as the very next day? However, you can also specify the date on which you intend to travel for the policy to commence.
Visitors insurance is of two types:
- Fixed Coverage Plans: Also known as scheduled benefits plan, fixed coverage plans are low cost visitors insurance that offer limited coverage to policyholders. However, this could be fall insufficient in many situations.
- Comprehensive Coverage Plans: These plans are more expensive, but they offer much better coverage.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is a broader term that covers the benefits of visitor’s insurance as well. This type of insurance is intended to cover not only the medical expenses incurred during your trip, but also offers coverage in case other losses incurred while travelling, such as lost luggage, trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, flight accidents, either domestically or internationally. In such situations, the policyholder will be reimbursed for their pre-paid, non-refundable expenses, including flight tickets, hotel bookings and more.
Other coverage under travel insurance could include emergency evacuation, repatriation of remains and overseas funeral expenses.
While making a purchase, you can also choose from a single trip or a more cost effective, multi-trip policy, depending on how frequently you fly.
How to Choose the Right Product?
The key to buying the right insurance product is to determine whether your travel includes a lot of non-refundable upfront payments or not. If yes, investing in a comprehensive policy would be a wise choice.
Do know that there are certain visitor’s insurance policies that offer evacuation and trip cancellation benefits? Review each plan carefully to avoid missing the best plan for yourself.