Travel insurance becoming more popular

By Kimberly Schwind - Special to the Inquirer

COLUMBUS — As international travel grows in popularity, a new AAA Travel survey reveals travelers are increasingly considering travel insurance to protect their investments.

“More than 30 million family travelers will visit an international destination this year, 9 percent more than just two years ago,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel and Publishing. “There are just too many unknowns, like family emergencies and natural disasters, which can throw an unexpected wrench into a planned vacation.”

Traveler survey

Nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) of Americans say they’re likely to purchase travel insurance for future international trips, according to AAA’s survey. Nearly 9 in 10 (88 percent) of those likely to purchase insurance say getting their money back, if they cancel their trip, is their top priority.

Travelers say they base their decision to purchase travel insurance on:

The cost of their trip (70 percent)

Personal or family health concerns (69 percent)

How far in advance the trip is booked (61 percent)

Recommendations to purchase insurance by family or friends (57 percent)

Travel insurance trends

AAA has noticed a 20 percent increase in travelers opting for travel insurance year-to-date, with 13 percent more members overall opting to purchase travel insurance last year compared to 2016. In 2017, AAA members insured trips that were approximately 18 percent more expensive than the previous year, according to AAA’s insurance partner Allianz Global Assistance.

“The relatively small upfront cost of travel insurance can pay back dividends in the event of sudden and unforeseen circumstances before or during a vacation,” said Sutherland.

What does travel insurance offer?

While all travel insurance policies differ, they generally cover the following:

Trip cancellation: Reimbursement for the cost of your trip if you have to cancel for a covered reason, such as you, an immediate family member or your traveling companion becomes ill or injured.

Flight delays and cancellations: Airlines may not cover all the costs associated with a delayed or cancelled flight. Travel insurance can help reimburse expenses, such as rebooking fees, meals and accommodations.

Lost or delayed bags: Airlines mishandled more than 22 million bags in 2017. Travel insurance can provide coverage to replace needed items if luggage is delayed, damaged or stolen.

Medical expenses: Most health insurance policies don’t cover international travel. Travel insurance can help cover medical expenses and costly medical evacuation back to the United States in emergencies. Policies also often help cover medical expenses while traveling in the United States.

By Kimberly Schwind

Special to the Inquirer

Kimberly Schwind is the senior public relations manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club.

Kimberly Schwind is the senior public relations manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club.