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Solo Travel Insurance Mistakes to Avoid: The sudden failure of fabled Thomas Cook travel industry stalwart underscores the need for travel insurance. This is really key for singles travelers. The reason why? Without a travel mate, a small problem can grow into a trip buster.
This is really key for singles travelers. The reason why? Without a travel mate, a small problem can grow into a trip buster.
Having been a solo female traveler since my school days, I always buy travel insurance when I go abroad. The reason? No matter how much I plan or how careful I am, my (mis) adventures almost total my adventures. While I found most were the result of unexpected occurrences, I was glad to get home in one piece:
On 9/11, I found myself stranded solo in Europe for eight days. As much as I love European travel, my travel budget took a big hit. New additions to the bottom line included a week plus of new hotel lodgings, meals and local transportation.
Off the coast of West Africa, I found myself in the midst of an unpublicized cholera epidemic.
In a major European capital, I was robbed in broad daylight at a train station.
In Zimbabwe, a footbridge over the Zambezi River broke under me. Luckily, a group of strangers rescued me pulling me by my arms into my waiting sunset cruise boat. Only later, I found out that the section of the river below was known for crocodiles feasting where the fishermen threw their leftover bait. While my leg was battered and bruised, fortunately it was not broken.
Most solo travelers will never have such a smorgasbord of potential travel calamities. In any case though, travel insurance can be a real easy way to avoid a chaos disrupting a hard-earned vacation.
It is true that finding your way through the thicket of competing solo travel insurance policies can be hard. Here are our five updated tips to make it easier.
5 Solo Travel Insurance Mistakes to Avoid: Fine Print Matters:
Read the definitions/exclusions carefully.
Tip Number One:
Remember that travel insurance policies are drafted to cover unexpected losses and issues. As a result, they will not pay for “known risks”. So if the traveler knows about an issue, he or she would be viewed as assuming that risk, themselves. For example, what if you had a flight on British Air Sept. 2019 and read about the highly publicized planned strike? You rush out and buy travel insurance. You could not recover for the loss because you were aware of the risk when you bought the policy.
Tip Number Two:
In the view of travel insurance companies, not all companion coverages are equal. Your claim can depend upon the type of relationship you have. However, if your cancellation or other trip claim is based on his or her unavailability, the main factors will be the nature of that unavailability. Aside from insurance claims, getting refunds from other vendors’ prepaid fees can be hard. For example, Air B&B may have you jump through many hoops. In one case, where emergency surgery caused a wedding to be cancelled, Air B&B went back and forth seeking documentation. One issue: The injured, ill guest was not listed on the reservation. Our tip: Put the name of all guests on the reservation. If you do not do that, be prepared to provide plane tickets and itineraries or other proof of travel plans.
Understand the Claims Process.
Payment is subject to the claims process upon you return home.
Tip Number Three:
Be aware that insurers pay claims in arrears once you return. In a true emergency, be sure to have a credit card with enough extra available credit to get an advance while still on your trip.
Plane ticket costs can be tricky to recover in full.
Tip Number Four:
Read carefully when you buy a non-refundable plane ticket. Before you make a claim, see if you can reschedule your travel albeit with a penalty added. You will likely still have a loss. However, it may be a more limited one than the full price of the plane ticket.
Consider coverage known as multiple trip insurance if you have frequent travel and “CFAR” policies in uncertain times.
Tip Number Five:
If you are planning to travel many times in one year, compare prices and coverage for multiple trips in the upcoming year ahead. In addition, if you are looking to travel in challenging times, consider a Cancel for Any Reason or “CFAR” policy. They come at an added cost and have timing restrictions. However, they allow for cancellations for any reason, including simply a fear of travel. This has been of increased interest after the COVID-19 pandemic and also during times of civil unrest or terrorist activity at a chosen destination. CFAR policies are sold at a premium. That adds to your cost but can be a real savings if you need it. Think about the following surprises that can cause you to cancel a leisure trip:
- A work matter means that you must be in the office during your earned vacation time.
- Political unrest makes your destination too risky to travel there.
- Epidemics, such as the Coronavirus and the Ebola virus, raise health concerns or have caused borders to close.
- Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, have made it necessary to defer travel at that time.
For more information, please see our 7 Tips on Travel Insurance for Solo Travelers.
See also InsureMy Trip. You should not overlook travel insurance for your upcoming trip. We have partnered with InsureMyTrip, because they are the best option to compare plans and find the right coverage for you. They have thousands of travel insurance plans and a one-of-a-kind recommendation engine to help travelers find the right plan. Most importantly, they will be there for you before, during and after your trip if you should need anything – especially help with a claim with the provider.
Go to our fee solo travel search engine, the SoloTravelPricingTracker.net for more information on tours and cruises with no single supplements and solo lodging deals.