Approximately 10% of all American travelers purchase some kind of travel insurance before they leave for a trip, and with higher travel risk than ever before this makes a lot of sense for many travelers. In fact, more travelers should consider purchasing travel insurance before leaving for their final destination, especially if they are traveling to a higher risk country as determined by International SOS. The three primary reasons people cite for purchasing travel insurance include to have peace of mind, to protect against unexpected risks, and to protect their financial investment.
What potential risks do travelers face?
- Flight cancellation: Oh no! You’ve arrived at the airport, but are suddenly aware as a large group gathers by the gate that weather conditions are not optimal for flying. As your flight gets delayed seven times over the next five hours you realize that you’ve beat all of the Angry Birds levels on your iPhone and already missed your next connecting flight. You feel a knot in your stomach when you finally become convinced that you will not be leaving for your destination today, and you know that tomorrow’s flight will likely be full of travelers who were also unable to get on your flight today. As you check with the stressed desk worker she tells you that you’ll not be able to make it to your destination for another three days. Great, your entire trip is ruined! Every frequent flyer has been through a scenario similar to this one, but how frequent are flights cancelled? In 2014, the US Department of Transportation reported through the Bureau of Transportation Statistics that a decade-high 6.05% of total flights were cancelled. While the percentage of flights cancelled usually ranges between 2% and 4.5%, it is impossible to know what years are going to have worse weather so travelers must plan for the worst.
- Trip cancellation: It’s the Friday before you leave for a spring break vacation to Cancun, Mexico and everyone is incredibly excited to get out cold weather and into the sun. Unfortunately, one of your children comes home from school not feeling too well and by their bedtime it becomes apparent that they need to visit the emergency room. After a trip to the ER the doctors note that your child has a contagious viral infection that will likely make them feel horrible for the next three days and will be contagious for at least a week. Say goodbye to Cancun and hello to bed rest for the next week. Given that people are sick for an estimated five days per year, there’s a good chance that at least one family vacation in your lifetime will be threatened by illness. Unfortunately children are even more susceptible to sickness due to their school environment.
- Medical emergency: Almost all insurance plans fail to cover medical evacuation or extensive care in foreign countries or international waters. This means that in order to receive proper care for medical emergencies you will have to pay thousands directly out of pocket. This is particularly an issue with the Zika virus right now. The best way to protect yourself against the Zika virus is to avoid areas where the mosquitos are carrying the disease, but secondarily protect yourself by purchasing insurance that allows you to be medically evacuated from the country you are traveling to. See the below map highlighting areas with active Zika virus transmission (up to date as of 4/18/2016) and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for an updated map of areas affected.
- Stolen valuables: As a world traveler I’ve dodged this problem with my family twice. The first situation I can remember was when my family visited Barcelona, Spain more than 10 years ago. While shopping in a busy tourism district my father was bumped from behind and felt someone brush against his back pants pocket. Fortunately he had put his wallet in his front pocket earlier in the day and avoided the pick pocket attempt. In Barcelona alone, it’s estimated that 6,000 of these pick pocket incidents and thefts occur each day. Another time in Cancun, Mexico my family was shopping in another busy high-end tourism district (hopefully you can see the trend here) and my father realized that he did not have his wallet in his back pocket anymore. Distressed, he prepared to call the police and credit card companies, but before he had the chance to do so he decided to check his backpack and realized that he simply forgot that he moved it into a pocket of his backpack earlier in the day. To best protect yourself against pick pockets stealing your passport, identification, valuables, and money follow these tips and remember that they are professionals. In the world’s ten largest markets alone, it’s estimated that more than 1,000,000 incidents occur every year, including many on travelers and tourists.
- Cancellation to avoid terrorism: If a terrorist incident occurs in a city or location where you are planning to travel to and no longer feel comfortable with your plans you shouldn’t have to choose between your safety and losing a large amount of money. The most recent example affecting many American travel plans were the Paris terrorism attacks in November of 2015. With terrorist attacks on the rise in a post-9/11 society insuring your trips against terrorism is becoming even more important and popular among travelers.
Although these are just five of the possible reasons a traveler may need to cancel their travel plans, there are many more risks that people assume when leaving their city, state, or country. Pablow Inc. provides innovative insurance solutions to all of your travel risks and we would love to talk with you about how we can protect your trip.
Thank you for reading! #PABLOWPROTECTS