Do You Need Travel Insurance For Your Thanksgiving Trip?
If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, you’re probably making plans now. As you’re booking flights, hotel rooms, and perhaps tickets to concerts or football games, consider adding travel insurance to the menu. It can protect you financially from a cornucopia of worst-case scenarios.
Travel insurance compensates you when unexpected disruptions derail your plans and threaten to wipe out the money you’ve put into your trip.
A typical travel insurance policy will include coverage for:
- Trip Cancellation If you have to cancel your trip before departure for unforeseen reasons
- Trip interruption If you have to cut your trip short and return home
- A trip delay is a relatively short, unexpected break in your trip
- Lost luggage and personal belongings
- Emergency medical expenses
- Medical evacuation
Here are details on the best travel insurance benefits and how to determine if you need coverage for your Thanksgiving trip.
Determining if you need travel insurance
Travel insurance is usually a smart move if you can’t afford to lose the money you’re putting down as a deposit for your trip. Your Thanksgiving travel itinerary plays a role in whether a travel insurance policy is right for you.
If you’re driving to your Thanksgiving destination, or you get cheap airfare, or your hotel room is refundable, you probably won’t need travel insurance. But if you have a lot of expensive, non-refundable plans, a travel insurance policy might be wise.
In general, you will benefit most from travel insurance if you have:
- Expensive flights, especially connecting flights
- Other expensive transportation costs
- Many pre-paid, non-refundable bookings, such as non-refundable hotel rooms and airfare
“It’s certainly possible that travel insurance can be very useful for Thanksgiving travel, but it really depends on the fundamentals of your trip, such as the destination and mode of transportation,” says Scott Adamski, AIG Travel spokesman. , having a travel insurance policy is most beneficial when your trip does not include non-refundable, pre-paid, non-refundable expenses, and the higher the amount of those expenses, the more likely you want to protect them. Invest with insurance.”
For example, if you’re traveling a significant distance by plane to visit family over the holidays—from Vermont to Arizona—those tickets may be so expensive that an insurance policy with trip cancellation coverage comes in handy, Adamski says.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation insurance is usually included in comprehensive travel insurance plans but is also sold separately. If you can’t make your flight to Vermont due to an unforeseen event listed in the policy, your trip cancellation coverage can reimburse you 100% of your pre-paid, non-refundable expenses. For example, if you strain your back from raking leaves and can’t travel, you can make a trip cancellation claim. But if you decide you can’t bear to feast on turkey with your dysfunctional family, you’re paying for your trip instead.
“Cancel for any reason” travel insurance
For the most Thanksgiving travel leave, consider purchasing a “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) upgrade. It allows you to cancel your trip for any of the reasons listed in the base policy.
For example, if you find out at the last minute that your best friend will be alone for Thanksgiving and you decide to be prepared for Friendsgiving, you can make a CFAR claim. Refunds are usually 75% of your non-refundable trip cost as long as you cancel at least 48 hours before your departure. If you include “cancel for any reason” travel insurance, expect to pay 50% more for your travel plan.
Engraved Thanksgiving Short: Trip Interruption Travel Insurance
If you need to cut your trip short, trip interruption travel insurance reimburses you for the pre-paid cost of your trip and your return home, as long as the reason is listed on your policy. For example, if you have to go home in the middle of your holiday weekend because your adult child is in a serious car accident, you may be covered under trip interruption insurance. It usually pays up to 150% of the cost of your trip to allow for additional costs of getting home.
“Interruption for any reason” travel insurance
If you want the freedom to cut your trip short for reasons beyond those listed on your policy, consider purchasing “interruption for any reason” travel insurance. It reimburses up to 75% of your insured trip expenses when you return home early. These upgrades increase the cost of your travel insurance by 3% to 10%, and you must usually purchase it within 15 to 20 days of booking your trip. And, be aware that coverage usually doesn’t start until you’re at least 48 hours into your trip.
Snowside with your bird: Winter weather coverage
Travel insurance can also help when inclement weather affects flights, especially during high-peak travel times like Thanksgiving weekend.
“It’s not unheard of for holiday travel to be disrupted by winter weather — even in early November,” says Adamski at AIG Travel. “Blizzards and snowstorms can affect travel for days or even weeks, meaning flights to visit family in cold weather can be significantly delayed or canceled entirely.”
Travel delay insurance pays for additional expenses incurred due to travel delays due to weather, aircraft problems and other emergencies. This coverage provides a maximum amount per person, usually between $500 and $2,000, with a daily limit, usually from $200 to $500, depending on the policy.
Check your travel insurance policy for the required delay period before benefits start. Look for policies with shorter delay times, such as three or six hours.
Travel insurance policies also include a 24/7 assistance hotline that can help with travel delays by coordinating rental car and hotel arrangements if you’re stuck in an airport for an extended period.
“The sting of not being able to take a vacation trip—or cutting it short—can be at least somewhat ameliorated, without covering the cost of your covered airfare or the unexpected costs of staying in a layover city.” Adamski says.
Travel insurance and lost luggage
There is no guarantee that your luggage will arrive with you at your holiday destination. “While baggage delivery services with airlines have improved significantly over the years, if you’re flying for Thanksgiving, there are potential pitfalls to consider regarding lost, damaged or delayed baggage,” Adamski points out. “Most policies are designed to cover total loss of a piece of luggage and its contents.”
If your goods or possessions are lost or stolen, goods insurance can pay you the depreciation value up to a set amount specified in your policy. Most travel plans cap reimbursement at $100 to $500 per item, with total maximums ranging from $500 to $3,000 per person, depending on the policy.
In addition to lost baggage, many plans also include a baggage delay benefit that reimburses you for the purchase of personal items you need while you wait for your baggage. For example, you may need a change of clothes and toiletries to tide you over until you are reunited with your belongings.
Baggage delay benefits have a specific delay time before the benefit is applied, such as six or 12 hours.
Like lost baggage and travel delay coverage, baggage delay compensation has a maximum and daily limit per person and the amount of coverage varies from plan to plan.
Do you need travel medical insurance?
Thanksgiving in the United States
If you live in the US, you may not need travel medical insurance as part of a travel insurance policy, says Adamski. Most people will have US-based health insurance coverage that will provide for medical treatment and prescription drugs if you develop an illness or injury in the US.
However, there are circumstances where medical evacuation travel insurance can be very important. “For example, if someone is in a serious car accident while visiting rural Iowa and needs to be medically evacuated to a nearby large metropolis for emergency surgery, the cost of that relocation may be more than their health insurance policy will cover,” says Adamsky.
Likewise, if you’re badly injured while skiing during a holiday break and need to be flown off the mountain for treatment, the costs can be shockingly high. Adamski says the average cost of a medical evacuation is about $18,000, so it can be worth it. Looking into travel insurance policies with medical evacuation coverage.
If you plan to do something adventurous with your Thanksgiving trip, make sure that extreme sports and adventure activities are not excluded from your travel insurance policy.
If your Thanksgiving trip will take you outside the US, travel insurance can be crucial. Check your health plan to see what it covers outside the U.S. If there is limited coverage or high deductibles for out-of-network treatment, consider travel medical insurance to fill the gap.
Senior travelers should be aware that Medicare is not accepted outside the US.