Read the Fine Print Before Buying Travel Insurance

If you buy travel insurance for a group tour make sure the payment of any claim from the insurer goes to you and not the tour company. Christopher Elliot explains that with some travel companies (e.g., Overseas Adventure Travel), “when you buy travel insurance with your trip, the insurance payment goes to the company, which then pays you.” And even then the tour company may be slow in paying the money or may never pay. If you choose to buy travel insurance, it’s better to buy it from the insurance company rather than the tour operator. That way if the insurer pays a claim they will pay it to you and not the tour company.

What’s more, the insurance company will have a claims procedure that will take time and effort. Without proper documentation, your claim may be denied. Be prepared to fill out forms and wait.

In addition, I suggest you consider buying cancel for any reason coverage, especially in current times. There may be political unrest, the risk of illness or other reasons that make you uncomfortable with the trip that won’t be covered by travel insurance. For an additional premium you can get cancel for any reason coverage which generally will pay 75% of what you paid for the trip. You will still lose money but a lot less than the full amount of the trip.

If you file a claim it may take the insurer a long time even to review it. You can expect to receive emails like this:

Thank You For Your Patience!

We are checking in to let you know we received your documents and we are still working to complete your claim. We sincerely apologize that our review process is taking longer than usual. We’ll provide you an update when your claim has been reviewed. You can check the status of your claim by logging into your profile or by visiting the link below.

If you have received more than one of these letters from us, please disregard the others.

On the other hand, if you travel a lot you may be willing to accept the risk of losing everything you paid the tour operator. Just don’t count on the tour operator to care about your level of fear or discomfort.

Buyer beware.

See also,  Should Overseas Adventure Travel cover my airfare for a canceled pretrip excursion?

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