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Facts about travel insurance

With more than 91 million Americans planning to travel this holiday season, those traveling via plane will be presented with the option to buy travel insurance. The Minnesota Department of Commerce urges travelers to understand what travel insurance is, what it actually covers and what conditions to watch out for.


Travel insurance can protect against the loss of non-refundable travel costs such as airfare, hotel and tour expenses. Other types of travel insurance offer limited protection against losses due to medical emergencies, damage to personal property, and even a death.

A typical travel insurance policy will cover trip cancelation, travel delay, and trip interruption insurance. Often, it will include limited medical, medical evacuation and accidental death insurance. Finally, most travel insurance plans will include lost baggage.


The decision to purchase travel insurance relies on many factors. Here are some things to consider before you make up your mind:

• Travel insurance policies are not all the same. If you buy travel insurance, be sure to review the policy, especially the list of covered reasons and exclusions for cancelling your trip.

• Before purchasing a travel insurance policy, ask about pre-existing conditions and age limits. Some policies cover pre-existing conditions and some do not. Others will charge a higher premium to cover them.

• Cruise and tour operators may offer cancellation waivers. Keep in mind that waivers are not insurance policies and are not regulated. Read all of the restrictions before you buy a cancellation waiver.

• Review all of the policies you have now prior to purchasing travel insurance. If you have life, health or homeowners insurance, you may not need to buy certain types of travel insurance. Read your policy and speak with your insurance company or agent to learn what personal property and medical coverage you have.

• No policy can guarantee your safety when you are traveling, but knowing you are covered for medical emergencies or the loss of personal property may help you relax and enjoy your vacation.

• Check the refund policies on prepaid expenses before buying travel insurance. Some will refund your money if you cancel months in advance, but few will offer any refund if you cancel at the last minute.

• Ask around. If you are working with a travel agent you trust, ask about his or her experiences with travel insurance companies.

For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.