How Travel Insurance Protects You
Asia has become a popular destination for tourists, and buying travel insurance can be an important part of vacation planning. Travel insurance protects tourists in four main areas: medical and health issues, property theft or loss, trip interruption or cancellation and emergency medical evacuation.
Cancellation is the biggest concern for travelers, as hundreds or thousands of dollars can be lost if expenses were pre-paid. A travel insurance policy will reimburse pre-paid, non-refundable expenses if the trip must be cancelled before departure. Travelers will also be reimbursed for sickness, injury, or death of self, a family member or traveling companion; hurricane damage to the destination or flight cancellation; being laid off from or required to work; a terrorist incident in the destination city; bankruptcy of the travel broker or being called for jury duty. However, it is important to note that cancellations for medical reasons must be documented and recommended by a doctor.
Risks of International Travel
Traveling to Asia, whether through one country or several, can be a very rewarding experience rife with diverse cultures, ancient religions and exotic foods. As with any vacation destination, however, it is important to know the risks. Crimes such as bag snatching, pickpocketing or credit card fraud are common in Asia, but travelers run the additional risk of encountering more serious issues such as riots, coups, terrorism or natural disasters, as well as exposure to diseases not typically found in the U.S. In some countries, tourists are specifically targeted for criminal acts.
The US State Department often issues warnings to citizens looking to travel to Asia; recently they have been warnings of known or presumed terrorist activity.
Most potential travelers worry about cancellation, but illness or accidental injury while in the destination country is just as great a concern. Many travelers overlook travel medical insurance because they already have a U.S. health insurance policy. However, the U.S. Department of State notes that medical treatment and hospital care abroad can be very costly, and medical evacuation to the U.S. can reach over $50,000. U.S. medical insurance is usually not accepted in other countries, nor is Medicare or Medicaid.
The World Health Organization has stated that Asia is at risk for a number of diseases such as Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis A and B and chikungunya (CHIKV), an illness similar to dengue fever; tourists to Asian countries may find travel insurance particularly beneficial as a result.
Taking a vacation abroad requires a great deal of planning and preparation. A number of resources exist for those considering travel insurance as a supplement to their vacation plans.
Travel Insurance 101 — A licensed travel insurance agency offering reviews and articles to help purchase travel insurance. The site also includes a blog covering current issues travelers might face.
USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services — The website offers various travel insurance plans and coverage options, as well as a travel blog.
Insure My Trip — Insure My Trip features thousands of customer reviews, plans from 22 travel insurance providers and a blog.
Allianz Global Assistance — A leading travel insurance company offering several plan options, as well as travel news and alerts.
U.S. Department of State — This government site provides travel warnings, information on traveling abroad and medical insurance issues, and country specific information.