If you travel for your job or for pleasure – or both – travel assistance services are important to consider so you don’t lose your financial investment in your travel plans – or your life. But do you know what travel insurance really covers? There are two principal types of travel assistance service plans which you can evaluate regarding which best meets your needs.
One type of travel insurance is travel assistance — generally offered as an annual plan and designed to give you fast access to modern medicine, any place in the world. It is not a health insurance. Your own personal health plan should pay your covered medical expenses.
Travel assistance is intended to cover the costs for some of the medical needs that your health insurance plan does not cover. For example, if you (or your partner) experience a serious medical emergency while traveling, whether overseas or across the country, costs for medical evacuation, medical emergency transportation for your significant other to join you, and other associated expenses are usually not covered by your health insurance – and they can be significant. It is important to consider whether your travel assistance has any exclusions for pre-existing conditions and whether they cover the entire cost of the services provided or co-pays are required.
Often, travel assistance coverage provides some non-insurance services as well, such as care of minor children, travel information, and lost luggage assistance among others. Check your specific policy for what is covered.
It is important to note that currently, the air ambulance industry is not regulated and as a result, costs can vary greatly. Some life flight costs can be as low as $15,000 or as high as $150,000 for air transportation to the closest appropriate medical facility – and often, an air ambulance will not begin transport without a deposit—which alone can be as high as 100% of the anticipated cost. Fully-covered Emergency Medical Transport is an essential ingredient for people who are traveling more than 100 miles from home or in a foreign country.
Trip Cancellation Insurance (TCI) is another form of travel insurance – also known as trip interruption or trip protection insurance. It generally reimburses you for your paid travel expenses if you can no longer take your scheduled travel or tour. It may also provide you with compensation if you miss a connection or are otherwise delayed for specified reasons. You must purchase TCI for each trip as it only covers you for that specific trip. Since travel plans can have significant costs, it’s important to consider what might happen to the money you invested in your trip if you could no longer travel.
Reasons to purchase TCI include financial protection if you or an immediate family member become seriously ill and cannot travel or experiencing a death in your family. You may get called to jury duty or you could experience a significant change with your job – such as a transfer or lay-off. If your flight was suddenly cancelled due to an airline strike or bankruptcy, you could miss your tour or be seriously delayed. If you don’t purchase TCI coverage, you have nowhere to look for a refund of your trip or tour costs.
However, it’s always important to review the specifics of coverage in the particular TCI plan that you choose as they can vary widely regarding reasons for trip cancellation and delays. In addition, trip cancellation coverage usually covers some reimbursement of reasonable medical services as a result of a covered injury or illness that first occurs on your trip as well as emergency medical evacuation, medical repatriation and associated costs.
The trip cancellation insurance (TCI) offered through the AIA Trust is also known as a Trip Protection Plan. It is offered by Travel Insurance Select through USI Affinity which offers three different levels of coverage based on your needs and budget.
The travel assistance insurance offered through the AIA Trust is Global Travel Plus (GTP). GTP has no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, geographic risks or adventure sports, and no financial limits or additional charges on the services they perform. GTP offers fully-covered emergency medical transport.
For more information on travel insurance offered by the AIA Trust, see the program descriptions by clicking here – and visit each provider’s website for details and enrollment information.