Whether you are planning for the rail vacation of a lifetime or a fun summer trip, certainly you have considered the accessories you will bring - jewelry, watches, jackets, scarves, etc. Before you make the final payment on your package, though, there is one accessory you must consider: trip insurance. Perhaps the most important - yet underrated - thing you can buy for your trip, travel insurance ensures that your investment is safe.
It is no secret that the price of vacationing is higher than ever. From flights to transportation, overnight accommodations, and even dining experiences, trip costs include many factors to consider. That is probably why many travelers pass on trip insurance; why add another thing to the growing list of expenses? We get it, but here are a few reasons that this purchase is one of the best you can make ahead of your journey.
No Worries if an Unexpected Illness Hits You, Including COVID
Picture it, you are two days away from your rail journey across Canada, and flu-like symptoms appear out of nowhere for you or your travel companion. At this point, all of your reservations are made, confirmed, and likely non-refundable. Your choices are to eat the cost of your trip or go anyway and be miserable. Have no fear if you have trip cancellation insurance.
Life is full of unexpected - and sometimes unwelcome - surprises, including illness of yourself or family members. If your child comes down with an ear infection or your elderly parent falls and breaks their hip, these are things for which you can seek cancellation coverage. Have a doctor verify your claims to the insurance provider, and you may be able to recoup your prepaid or non-refundable expenses.
Travel Delays Are a Concern of the Past
Flight delays are common, but they can lead to a waterfall effect of missed reservations and excursions. In the worst cases, you may even miss your prepaid hotel accommodations. Travel delay insurance coverage ensures you only have to pay once.
Read the fine print on your insurance to see the minimum delay period; some policies begin at six hours, while others may have a longer or shorter period. Keep a paper trail of any expenses you incur during this pause in your travels. If you purchase meals or need prepaid cards to communicate with family while out of the country, these may be refundable expenses. Should you have to pay for a hotel in the interim or hire an Uber to drive you from the airport to a nearby hotel, you can also submit these to your trip insurance policy. And do not worry about things you have already paid for in your package. Your travel insurance is in place to ensure you get what you paid for or get your money back.
Lost Luggage and Baggage Delays Are Also Covered
Travel insurance coverages vary for lost luggage and baggage delays; however, both fall under the protective umbrella that your policy provides. Typically, for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage, there is a per-person maximum benefit. Depending on your coverage, this maximum may be per item - assigning a monetary value to each piece in your suitcase - or a luggage total.
Should you experience a baggage delay instead, you may need to purchase items to get you through, within reason. A paper trail is essential if you buy an outfit, a pair of shoes, or shampoo and body wash to hold you over until the airline delivers your bags. Do not go over the top with your replacement items, as most plans will not reimburse you for luxury items.
To get the maximum benefits from your trip insurance, remember to follow the proper line of command, beginning with filing a claim with your airline.
Severe Weather Resulting in Forced Trip Cancellation Is Not the End of the World
Named storms, unexpected blizzards, and severe incoming weather: What do these natural events have in common? They can be covered by trip insurance. If you book your trip and secure insurance before a forecasted event, you may be eligible for refunds in the instance of trip cancellation or delay.
This coverage extends to natural disasters on your homefront, like floods or tornadoes, that make it impossible for you to travel. If the hotel you plan to stay in cannot accommodate you due to damage or the regions you plan to travel to are impacted by severe weather, follow the claims process from your travel insurance plan. Depending on your policy, you may be eligible to get your money back for any interruptions to your scheduled itinerary.
Emergency Medical Situations Happen
Health insurance often comes with restrictions about out-of-state and out-of-network claims. Depending on your plan, it may offer some level of coverage and a bit of a buffer should someone get sick or injured while on your trip. But what if you are in a foreign country? What if you require airlifting or long-distance medical evacuation from a remote location? Luckily, travel insurance coverages extend to these bounds.
Should you or someone in your travel party require medical care at a doctor's office or hospitalization, there is no need to fret. The travel medical coverage provided by your trip insurance policy offers reimbursement in many instances. If you or your travel companion can, contact your travel insurance provider as soon as possible to see how to proceed.
They may ask you to pay any out-of-pocket costs upfront and keep the paid receipts. Other instances may require pre-approval. An additional benefit: If your medical emergency leaves you unable to complete your vacation, trip insurance can help you recoup the travel costs left unused.
You Have Decided to Pull the Trigger, but HOW Does It Work?
Once you have selected your next vacation package, ask your Rail Specialist about adding travel insurance to your package. For the most coverage and the best chances of ensuring your money is safe ahead of your trip, secure insurance coverage within two weeks of booking. Specific inclusions, including those for pre-existing conditions and cancel-for-any-reason insurance, if applicable, are time-sensitive. Vacations By Rail utilizes third-party vendors for these policies and ensures they cover everything mentioned above.
You are also welcome to secure trip insurance on your own if you prefer. One option is to check with your credit card company, as many major providers offer card member perks, including travel insurance, at no additional cost if you book your vacation on the credit card. Coverages vary by provider and may include only some of the protection of a traditional travel insurance policy through a company specializing in the sector. Depending on the company you choose to provide your coverage, you may be eligible to add this layer of protection once your vacation is underway.
Should you need to cancel your vacation or use your plan's benefits, you will need to submit a claim directly to the company providing your insurance coverage. In most cases, you will initially pay for the expenses out of pocket and then seek reimbursement from your policy. Keep all receipts, whether you buy clothing to hold you over until your luggage is recovered or have to book extra nights in a hotel because of a delayed flight. In case of a medical emergency, contact your travel insurance holder as soon as possible to see what steps need to be taken by you and the medical staff to ensure coverage.
The world is filled with beautiful places to see and experiences that make dreams come true. Do not let the fear of the unexpected stop you from exploring. For your next rail vacation, pack the most essential thing of all, trip insurance.