Basically, using insurance begins as you encounter any problem after you've purchased coverage and before or during a trip.. a problem that puts your plans at risk and/or that threatens considerable cost beyond what you would normally encounter. (This won't include coverage for essential steps on your trip that you failed to arrange for yourself, e.g., lodging, meals, fully adequate connection times between flights.)
Once you know the details of the problem (and any cost), you promptly contact the claims people for the company that issued your policy. You explain the situation, and they instruct you on what to do for a covered problem.
- For problems with modest cost that are covered, you'll likely be told to pay the costs (preferably by credit card), keep all supporting bills/invoices/receipts, and to file a claim with the company after your trip is over.
• For problems with great cost (e.g., overseas medical evacuation can cost a fortune), the insurer may do the same...though such costs can easily exceed the maximum "draw" allowed on your charge card. Better travel insurers also have "preferred providers" in numerous countries, one of which may be able to help you at lesser cost than others...or even provide the service you need and directly bill the insurer.
• If you do not have the means to pay for what you need (and then wait for reimbursement), and no preferred provider can be used, some insurers will transfer funds to help. They do so only after being satisfied about costs encountered, and that they are sending the funds to and for someone who is covered.
To be able to use your policy and procedures effectively, print copies and take two or more in separate bags. In addition, take copies of the instructions on how to contact the insurer's claims section...at least in two separate bags.
Travel insurance isn’t like car insurance. No one is going to make you use it. And unlike health insurance, it’s not necessarily inevitable that you’ll need it at any point in time. But when you consider the high cost of travel and the potentially low cost of insurance, travel insurance is often a worthwhile investment.
Travel insurance doesn’t only protect the expense of your flights. It can also help cover, for example, expenses associated with other risks of traveling, like needing medical care in other states or even overseas. Your primary health insurance might not cover major expenses that you encounter outside of your home state, and in other countries you’re almost guaranteed not to get coverage.
Travel insurance can provide temporary relief and ease the pain of unexpected medical needs during your trip. Consider these four main motivators for purchasing a policy:
• Traveling to a location, particularly abroad, where you have a higher chance of getting seriously ill
• Planning adventurous or dangerous activities, like white water rafting, scaling a mountain, or hunting wildlife
• Traveling with expensive luggage or important business documents
• Visiting a dangerous political climate, like a country that’s at war, unstable, or vulnerable to attacks, or a place with high kidnapping risks