One plan – with the same coverage and assistance hotline – all year long
Significant cost savings
If you’re the kind of traveler who knows you’ll be traveling in advance, then purchasing annual travel protection can save you a lot of money and time over covering individual trips with separate plans. If you’re a frequent traveler – perhaps for business or for academic reasons – having an annual travel insurance plan means you’ll have the coverage you need for travel medical mishaps, emergency evacuations, and travel delays to name a few.
The following will help you determine whether you could save money with an annual travel insurance plan.
What Makes Annual Travel Insurance Cost Effective?
Travelers buy travel insurance – individual plans and annual coverage – for many different reasons, but it essentially boils down to protecting themselves from big financial losses. That is, after all, the reason we all buy insurance to cover our cars, our homes, our valuables, etc.
What makes annual travel insurance cost effective depends on factors that are unique to your reasons for traveling and your needs. Here are some examples:
A small business owner plans to take multiple trips to India this year to solidify the IT team. A medical emergency in India means he will be outside his health insurance coverage network and all care will have to be paid for in cash. An annual travel insurance plan would cover (or reimburse) those expenses.
A retired couple plans to take a cruise, spend the summer with friends in New Zealand, and round out their year in Mexico. They are on Medicare and have a supplement plan with coverage for emergency medical care outside the U.S. Their primary concern is to have emergency medical transportation covered if they need to return to the U.S. for extended medical treatment.
A young couple is taking a round-the-world trip with their three children. They will be spending several months in various countries and house-sitting along the way. Their concern is to have coverage for travel medical care should they or their children need it, and to have their children returned to their grandparents if the couple is hospitalized.
A single adult writer will be spending most of the year studying a new language in Spain. Her parents are retired, but in good health. She will be staying with another academic and has few expenses, but wants to be sure she can get home if her parents need her. She also wants her own emergency medical care covered so she can keep expenses to a minimum.
In each of these situations, an annual travel insurance plan is ideal for the traveler described.
See the 5 Types of Travelers who Should Buy Annual Travel Insurance for more details.
Separate Business Trips from Pleasure Trips
When you’re thinking about the trips you plan to take in the new year, you may have leisure trips and business trips on your mind. Both types of trips can be covered by annual travel insurance, but with different coverage.
In most cases, we recommend separating these trips for this reason: business trip expenses don’t (usually) come out of your own pocket and leisure trip expenses do – hence the need for trip cancellation coverage with your leisure trips.
Essentially, leisure travel usually involves spending your own money – money you may wish to recover if you have to cancel. Even if you’re using accumulated points to cover your airline tickets, it’s likely you will want to recover those points if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly. After all, you can use them later for another trip.
Meet two travelers who found annual travel insurance useful for one year of travel.
Annual Travel Insurance is not for Trips that May Be Cancelled
The key difference between getting a travel insurance plan for each trip versus having a single annual plan is that annual plans have little to no trip cancellation coverage. Similar to the cancellation and interruption you have with your credit card travel protection plan, an annual travel insurance plan has limited trip cancellation and interruption coverage.
If you’ve saved to pay for a trip and you can’t afford to lose that money, then buy a travel insurance plan to cover that trip – even if you have an annual plan to cover all your business trips, for example.
Benefits Typically Included in Annual Travel Insurance
The following benefits are typically included in annual travel insurance plans:
Payments to doctors, hospitals, and medical facilities for emergency medical and dental care, including medicine, surgery, x-rays, and more.
Coordination of and payment for emergency medical transportation if the travelers needs medical treatment that can’t be found locally.
Repayment for lodging, meals, transportation and other costs if the trip is delayed a certain number of hours due to severe weather, accidents, and other mishaps.
Reimbursement for lost or delayed luggage and personal effects after a certain amount of time has passed (usually 12-24 hours).
A travel assistance services hotline to help with medical and travel emergencies, business needs, trip planning, and more.
Annual travel insurance plans are also great for a few extra benefits – one of which brings great peace of mind to parents traveling with children:
Return of minor children (with a qualified escort if necessary) if the insured is hospitalized and unable to be with them.
A bedside visit by a friend or family member if you are hospitalized in a foreign country and alone.
Most annual travel insurance plans also include some level of accident insurance that will provide a term life benefit to your beneficiaries if you lose your life while traveling.
Read the full review of annual travel insurance for specifics.