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Why should you buy trip insurance?

By Slickrock Adventures on August 16, 2011

To BelizeSo you want to go to Belize? When someone signs up for a Belize adventure we always remind them that it’s a great idea to purchase travel insurance. Once we confirm a reservation, we don’t cancel; if our guide gets sick we have others who can take their place. But if something happens to you, you might not be able to go.

Many people say: “I’ve been traveling for years and I’ve never needed it!” That may indeed be true, but we have seen MANY unforeseen things happen to our guests, and the ones who did take our advice were so thankful that they did.

Our guests are active people, and by far the most common reason for trip cancellation is a skiing accident the week before they are scheduled to go to Belize. You can’t paddle a kayak or hold on to a windsurfer with a broken arm!

Other things that have happened to our guests on more than one occasion: illness of one of the members of the group traveling together, death or illness of a family member back home, and changes at work that make travel a bad idea at the time they planned to go.

In deciding whether or not to buy travel insurance, consider the investment you are making in your vacation and whether or not you could afford the loss if you did have to cancel.

Every travel company has a cancellation policy where they retain some or all of your payments if you cancel. If you expect them to do otherwise, you are basically asking them to insure your non-attendance at no cost to you. It is your outfitter’s responsibility to run the trip they promised you, no matter what emergencies may arise for them immediately before the trip. It is your responsibility to pay for the trip on which you reserved a space, and a travel insurance policy helps make your disappointment in missing your trip not be a financial burden as well.

The reason travel companies are unable to refund your payments is that as a trip approaches there is little chance they could fill your spaces, and they may have turned away others who wanted space on that date. By the time it is 60 days or less from your departure date, companies have spent considerable time and energy preparing for your arrival: confirming guides and drivers, making non-refundable hotel reservations, and planning countless other logistics. With a travel insurance policy you can also insure your ticket to belize in addition to your all-inclusive package.

We recommend Travelex travel insurance, a company we have been recommending to our guests for over 10 years. We have received no complaints about their service beyond a somewhat expected “it’s a hassle to collect” from just a few who purchased a policy from them. It is an extra step, but if something goes wrong and you can’t make the trip you signed up for, you will be VERY glad you purchased a policy. When someone makes a claim, a form is forwarded to us, which we fill out with the amount of money you have spent, date of trip, whether you attended at all or arrived late, etc. So we do help with your claim and provide all necessary documentation to the company.

Travelex has 3 policies to choose from, but we recommend you choose one of the two least expensive options: Travel Basic or Travel Select. At this writing a policy covering $2500 worth of travel expenses for a person in the 35-50 age bracket would cost $85 per person base rate for the Travel Basic plan and $132 for the Travel Select plan. Both policies include a “Ten Day Free Look” which means you can change your mind after purchasing for up to 10 days as long as you have not departed on your trip yet or filed a claim. Some of the differences between Travel Basic and Travel Select are:

Travel Select includes everything Travel Basic does. Coverage limits are higher with Travel Select for trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage lost or delayed, emergency accident and sickness medical expense, and emergency medical evacuation. Travel Select also includes:
-One child under 21 is free for each adult purchasing a policy.
-If you purchase the plan within 21 days from the day you confirm your Belize tour, all pre-existing medical conditions are eligible for coverage.
-Mandatory evacuation coverage

We recommend you imagine just what could feasibly happen to you, and then look those instances up in each policy to see if they are covered. Do you have a sick or aging parent that could worsen and interrupt your travel plans? Do you have a chronic illness currently in remission that could flare up unexpectedly? Is the company you work for rumored to be soon undergoing major reorganization? Compare the two policies for any eventualities that could happen to you.