The summer travel season has officially begun, and with predictions that Americans will be keeping a close eye on their travel budgets this year, ASTA is urging consumers to consider travel insurance - and using an ASTA agent.
"To protect that summer vacation investment, the travel professionals at ASTA suggest purchasing travel insurance to help defray or replace the costs of any mishaps that might occur along the way, "ASTA says in recent consumer media advisory.
“Depending on the policy, travel insurance can help guard against substantial losses that result from a variety of situations, including canceled trips, lost baggage, medical emergencies and supplier bankruptcies, as well as other unforeseen circumstances,” says ASTA President and Chair Nina Meyer.
“Anyone who has spent a significant sum on their summer travel plans would be wise to consider looking after that investment. While you can’t prevent unforeseen circumstances, you can protect yourself and your wallet, and get a little peace of mind in the process,” Meyer says.
Although there are several general types of consumer travel insurance available, what is covered and the limitations of each will vary depending on the insurance company issuing the policy, ASTA notes. This includes:
• Trip Cancellation: The most important and common type of travel insurance. Generally covers non-refundable payments or deposits if a trip is canceled or interrupted due to unforeseen circumstances.
• Trip Delay: Provides reimbursement for expenses incurred when a trip is delayed.
• Accident/Sickness Medical Expenses: Covers costs incurred due to injury or illness that occur while on a trip.
• Medical Evacuation/Emergency Transportation: Covers transportation when a medical emergency while traveling requires transportation to a hospital or other medical facility.
• Supplier Default: Covers deposits or payments lost due to the financial default of a travel supplier.
• Baggage/Personal Effects Loss or Delay: Covers losses due to items lost, damaged or delayed during a trip.
Bruce Kirby, president of the United States Travel Insurance Association (UStiA), advises consumers to “follow three basic steps when considering insurance. First, determine your needs. Can you afford the financial risk of losing your vacation investment if something goes wrong due to illness, weather, or other unforeseen circumstances? Also, does your health insurance cover you while in a foreign country? And if you become injured abroad, can you afford the cost of a medical evacuation?"
"You may be surprised to learn that 50 percent of Medicare recipients may not be covered abroad. Second, evaluate your current coverage. What is and isn’t covered by insurance coverage provided by your credit card or other existing policies? Third, once you decide travel insurance is right for you, compare policies,” Kirby says.
Using a professional ASTA travel agent can save time and money, ASTA says, urging travelers to visit www.TravelSense.org. There, consumers not only can find travel tips and advice but an ASTA travel agent in their area who specializes in a particular destination or type of travel.