If you’re currently planning a vacation, you’re not alone. According to Discover’s recent survey, 58 percent of U.S. adults intend to take a trip this summer—though their ideal destination varies somewhat by age. In fact, while beach vacations were preferred by Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X travelers, road trips topped the list for Baby Boomers and cruises were the travel mode of choice among the Silent Generation.
Regardless of your own position in this generational spectrum, purchasing travel insurance can be a wise investment, whether you’ve prepaid for a vacation package or have only booked your airfare and accommodations in advance. It’s the best way to protect yourself from financial losses caused by lost, stolen or damaged baggage, as well as trip cancellations and interruptions, missed connections and emergency medical expenses.
RewardExpert spoke with Jim Krampen, co-founder of Seven Corners, an international travel insurance and specialty benefit management company that serves more than 800,000 customers each year, about the variety of travel insurance products available and his tips to help you choose the best policy for your next vacation.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance Policies
Krampen said Seven Corners’ customers run the gamut from leisure and international travelers to government agencies, foreign governments, corporations and other insurance companies.
“Our motto is basically ‘Safety and Security for Anyone Away from Home,’” Krampen explained. “It doesn’t matter who that is. It could be a leisure traveler. It could be a student. It could be a missionary, a corporate traveler, or someone stationed overseas for a year or two. It could even be an immigrant coming into the United States.”
Seven Corners meets the needs of this broad customer base with comprehensive travel insurance policies that provide protection against medical expenses when traveling abroad or out of your insurance network as well as loss of non-refundable trip costs if your vacation is cancelled or interrupted. Many of their travel insurance plans cover financial damages due to lost or stolen baggage, political evacuations, and accidental death or dismemberment as well.
They even offer insurance policies tailored specifically for students who are studying, teaching or doing research abroad, non-U.S. citizens visiting the United States, and frequent travelers.
“The Wander Frequent Traveler policy is gaining in popularity because people are traveling more episodically,” Krampen said of the annual travel insurance plan that covers every trip taken in a given the year. “It’s especially popular with Millennials who like to get together on a whim and don’t do a lot of planning in advance. They can buy the policy and go on trips whenever and wherever they want. They don’t even have to notify us.”
Healthcare and 24/7 Assistance No Matter Where you Roam
While residents of Europe and Latin America are used to purchasing travel insurance, Krampen said many Americans are still reluctant to invest in such an intangible commodity.
“You might spend $500 on travel insurance but hope you don’t have to use it,” he explained. “If you do have to use it, that means you’ve missed your trip or something else has gone wrong. All insurance is that way. It’s a hard sale to make.”
However, he urges Americans to consider the risks they’re taking whether they are traveling within the U.S. or abroad. Because most of these risks aren’t covered by homeowner’s insurance, car insurance or even health insurance policies, vacationing without travel insurance coverage will leave you on the hook for any financial losses you incur.
“Healthcare while traveling is a particularly important piece,” Krampen added. “If you are traveling internationally, Medicare and Medicaid stop at the U.S. borders. If you’re an older traveler on Medicare, you won’t have any health coverage outside of the United States.”
“Most employer healthcare programs are PPO or HMO driven,” he continued. “You have to receive care in a certain network within your community. They may cover life-threatening emergencies outside of network, but ‘life threatening’ is defined very narrowly. Is food poisoning a life-threatening emergency? Probably not, but it happens a lot while traveling. Is a twisted ankle? No, that’s not covered.”
But what’s covered or not covered isn’t the only issue with accessing healthcare while abroad. “Most insurance company customer service lines are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Krampen said. “If you’re in China and it’s 8 a.m. there, it’s 8 p.m. here on the East Coast. If you call, you’re going to get a message. No one can assist you to get to a hospital.”
Fortunately for Seven Corners’ customers, the company works with hospitals worldwide and provides a 24-hour travel assistance line as well.
“We have a network of hospitals where if you flash the Seven Corners card and go in, they will bill us directly like a PPO would do here in the United States,” Krampen said. “And if you don’t know where to go for care, you can call us 24/7 and we’ll help you get there. If you spend $80 for a travel insurance policy and we end up spending $80,000 to transport you back to the U.S., that’s an investment that’s well worth it.”
To learn more about Seven Corners and compare travel insurance plans, visit sevencorners.com.