What if you were in Maui when wildfires ravaged the town of Lahaina? How would you have gotten home? A good travel insurance plan could go a long way toward assuaging such concerns.

Shopping for coverage: When booking a flight online, you’ll often be asked whether you’d like to buy insurance on your purchase. Always say no, for three reasons—it would be an impulse buy, which is never good…the plans behind such offers usually consist of watered-down coverage…and plans typically cover only airfare. Better: InsureMyTrip.com offers plans from different companies and has licensed insurance agents who can ensure you’re covering everything you want covered.

Elements of a good plan: Most companies don’t sell separate “disaster” plans. Instead, you’ll be purchasing a comprehensive plan and then adding features that would help in the event of a disaster. Typically, if you have to interrupt your trip after departure for a covered reason, the policy will cover the unused prepaid nonrefundable portion of the trip that you stand to lose. There also may be coverage for additional airfare to return back home. Rarely, however, will there be coverage to move to a different accommodation.

Here are some scenarios and features you might want to consider…

A disaster occurs before you leave and you decide not to go: Coverage should reimburse you for the trip’s full cost.

Your destination is placed under an evacuation order: Your coverage should reimburse you for the unused portion of the trip. You may also want to purchase coverage that connects you with an assistance company that can help you navigate through the situation and arrange transportation to safety.

Your flight is delayed: If your flight is delayed for the number of hours specified in the coverage and you’re stuck overnight, policies may cover transportation, food and accommodations.

Your flights must be changed: If you have to change your flights for a covered reason, some plans may offer benefits that can cover the change fee.

You need an emergency flight home: Comprehensive plans that offer trip-­interruption coverage typically will offer benefits to help with the cost of an emergency one-way ticket back home if you end your trip for a covered reason.

You are hospitalized: A comprehensive medical plan can cover your expenses if you become sick or injured. Some also cover medical evacuation.

You have a feeling you shouldn’t go: Some companies offer “cancel for any reason” coverage. This typically covers 50% to 75% of nonrefundable costs. It must be purchased within two to three weeks after your initial payment toward the trip…and cancellation must occur two or more days prior to departure.

Reminders: Buy coverage earlythe menu of benefits shrinks the nearer your departure. Read the policy carefullymake sure you understand what you’re buying. Document everythingif a disaster does strike, retain all receipts, paperwork and medical bills.


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