More and more people have disposable income to spend on personal travel—both domestic and international travel. One loss exposure numerous people fail to consider, however, concerns
vacation-related losses. Travel insurance can be purchased to cover this potentially large expo-sure. It is designed to protect an insured from a wide variety of travel-related losses, including trip cancellation or interruption, emergency medical events, emergency evacuation, lost or de-layed baggage, personal effects, lost or stolen passports and visas, and legal expenses. This coverage is increasingly purchased through the Internet.
The following are some helpful tips to review when considering the purchase of travel insurance online.
● When you purchase travel insurance online, determine if you will immediately receive a policy number along with a printable copy of your policy documentation. Some Web sites are not fully automated and cannot complete your purchase. However, they make it look like they can. If you do not receive an immediate policy number, then you have ordered from a Web site that simply holds your data until an operator manually types your order onto the insurer’s Web site. If this happens to you, cancel the policy. An agent is required by law to give you a full refund (minus a small administration fee of around $5) within 10 days of your purchase. The practice of manually typing orders is less than ideal because there are many potential problems with security, typing errors, and privacy.
● Is the agent affiliated with the insurance company? Call the insurance company to check if the agent you are using is, in fact, one of their representatives. Some Web sites sell policies for insurers even though they are not agents.
● Does the Web site list each plan (with slight distinctions) several times? Some Web sites list each plan multiple times because they lack the technology to allow options to be selected by the user. Unfortunately, this makes comparing policies very confusing because you are presented with a single plan several times, each with only minor differences.
● Avoid Web sites you access via spam because these are often disreputable. A better way of finding established and reputable Web sites is to utilize search engines that link you to the travel insurance Web site or to ask friends or family if they have had excellent experiences with any online travel insurance services.
● One of the best ways to compare travel insurance plans is to visit a comparison Web site. Consider visiting these Web sites, which can serve as an additional tool in making your purchasing decision. You can type “travel insurance comparison” into a search engine to find some of these Web sites.
Source: International Risk Management Institute, Inc.