A retreat, by definition, is an act of withdrawal often from what is difficult, dangerous or disagreeable and often to a place of privacy or safety. These days, people take retreats for all kinds of reasons: to heal, to practice yoga, to meditate, to learn something new.
So, what really can go wrong on a retreat? Well, lots of things.
A retreat is just like any other form of travel and accidents and illnesses happen anywhere and anytime they like. Travel insurance, like any other insurance plan, is insurance against financial losses due to unexpected events.
So before your next retreat, let’s review what can go wrong on a retreat and how your travel insurance plan can protect you, shall we?
You’re in a car accident on your way to a meditation retreat
Most retreat centers are aware that guests occasionally experience situations that simply cannot be predicted. Of course, a guest would prefer to cancel and receive a refund, so that’s why retreats run by experienced organizers are designed with clear cancellation policies.
Note: As a retreat guest, you should always review the cancellation policies to know your risk. Those cancellation policies should be clearly stated in writing and available for your review.
Most retreat hosts want to limit their loss of income due to last-minute cancellations and so they’ll try to fill the cancelled spot with another guest. If it’s too late for that to happen, however, the guest who cancels could lose hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in retreat costs.
A travel insurance plan with good trip cancellation coverage will reimburse a traveler for their pre-paid trip costs if the traveler cancels for a covered reason – even if they’re in a traffic accident on the way to their retreat.
You break your wrist on a cycling retreat
If your retreat is outside your health insurance network or outside the country, a visit to a local doctor or emergency room could cost you thousands of dollars. Most foreign hospitals require visitors from outside the country to hand over travel medical insurance documents and a credit card before they’ll do much treatment.
If your budget can’t withstand an unexpected trip to a foreign medical facility, travel medical insurance will not only foot the bill, but it will also treat you to a medical evacuation if your condition warrants it and medical treatment can’t be found nearby.
Your passport is stolen before or during your kayak retreat
If your passport is stolen right before an overseas retreat trip, you could lose all your nonrefundable trip costs. If it’s stolen while on your trip, you could face having to navigate a foreign language and try to get it replaced in time for you to meet your return flight home.
Many travel insurance plans cover trip cancellation if your passport is stolen before your trip and you can’t get it replaced in time. Travel insurance plans also come with 24/7 assistance services representatives who can help you replace a stolen passport or credit card so you can return home.
You arrived at your yoga retreat but your bags didn’t
While airports are continually improving their baggage statistics, there’s no shortage of thieves and bandits waiting to score an overstuffed piece of luggage. Your bag can be stolen from the baggage carousel as you navigate a foreign airport, but it can also be stolen from a taxi, slipped away from your side while waiting in line, or sliced open and pilfered on a train.
A travel insurance plan with adequate baggage coverage protects you by reimbursing you up to the plan limit for replacing necessary items, including the luggage itself. If your bag gets on the wrong plane and is delayed a few days, you’ll have some cash to purchase the essentials so you can start your retreat without worry.
You suddenly have to turn around and go home
Just because you got there safe and sound doesn’t mean that disasters can’t happen back home. Kids get sick, parents die, fires burn, so there’s always the risk of a frantic call in the middle of the night.
If you have to abandon your retreat to handle an emergency back home, you will lose not only your pre-paid retreat costs, which are now certain to be non-refundable, but also have to pay extra in airline change fees and other unexpected transportation costs.
A travel insurance plan with trip interruption coverage will reimburse you the unused portion of your pre-paid trip costs and help cover those unexpected airline and transportation costs to get you home in a hurry.
Your babysitter cancels on you
If your child’s babysitter calls and cancels on you, your retreat trip is cancelled by default. No travel insurance covers babysitters canceling, but ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage is designed for those instances where a trip cancellation isn’t covered under standard cancellation coverage rules.
While ‘cancel for any reason’ is nearly always an upgrade (and therefore costs a little more), if your life circumstances are not as predictable as you might like or you have extenuating circumstances (like an ill parent) that could affect your ability to take a retreat trip, it just might be the coverage you can’t go without.
Your surf retreat is the path of an oncoming hurricane
The full hurricane season for the Atlantic and Caribbean every year is June 1st to November 30 – that’s a really long time in which to have the potential of a hurricane wiping out your pre-paid retreat plans.
If your retreat is to be held where hurricanes are common or during peak hurricane months, then you could lose not only your pre-paid retreat costs, but also your non-refundable airfare and other trip costs if you have to cancel your trip to avoid a hurricane.
Even if your retreat isn’t in the path of a hurricane, the travel disruptions that can occur spread widely and you could lose some of your retreat time simply due to delayed travel.
What does Retreat Travel Insurance Cost?
As you might expect, the cost of a travel insurance plan varies based on a number of factors, including:
- Where you’re going
- Your age and health
- How long you’ll be gone
- Your trip activities
It’s important to note that the cost of travel insurance is affected by the coverage you choose, and trip cancellation, certainly ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage, adds to the cost of a travel insurance plan. Otherwise, a retreat traveler can purchase a simple travel medical insurance plan and pay a lot less.
Here are a couple of trip cost examples:
1. Yoga Retreat, Costa Rica
- 1 traveler, 34 years old
- 1 week trip
- Pre-paid trip costs: $3,250
- Trip cancellation included
Just $152-$169 buys:
- ‘Cancel for any reason’ with 50-75% trip costs reimbursed
- 100% trip cancellation
- 150% trip interruption
- $25,000-$100,000 emergency medical
- $50,000-$500,000 medical evacuation
- $600-$1,000 travel delay
- $200-$400 baggage delay
- $1,000-$2,000 baggage loss
- and more
2. Surf Camp, Hawaii (no trip cancellation)
- 1 traveler, 45 years old
- 1 week trip
- Pre-paid trip costs: $4,800
- No trip cancellation
Just $19-$27 buys
- $500 trip interruption
- $10,000 emergency medical
- $100,000 medical evacuation
- $100-$200 baggage delay
- $500-$750 baggage loss
- and more
As always, we recommend that you use our travel insurance comparison tool and type in a few trip details to get price quotes from many reputable companies and choose the coverage options that work for you.