Travel insurance: What are the best plans for you in 2021
If you are planning a trip, whether national or international, this article is for you! After all, today we are going to talk about travel insurance.
Travel is undoubtedly one of the greatest pleasures in life. Still, it is not a time that is free from problems and unforeseen circumstances. The good news is that it is possible to minimize them if they occur. However, to do so, there needs to be a little planning.
And, within this planning, the most important step is to actually consider travel insurance. And if you believe that this insurance is very expensive or even something expendable, it is important that you know that it is just the opposite.
In this article, we will show the importance of travel insurance, explain its features, how to hire it and how to choose the best among so many available on the market.
First, the most important
- Travel insurance is a service that guarantees, primarily, medical care in cases of emergency and accidents that may occur with those who are traveling.
- But travel insurance can also cover many other situations that can give you a lot of headaches, such as lost luggage and flight delays or cancellations.
- In addition, travel insurance may be required as a prerequisite for you to be authorized to enter some countries such as, for example, European countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement.
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Best travel insurance: ideal for every situation
When you decide to take out travel insurance, many questions may arise. Especially since each insurer offers different types of plans, with varying prices, indemnities and coverage. With that in mind, we have created a selection with some of the best travel insurance available today. Check out:
- The insurance that offers the best assistance
- The most versatile travel insurance of all
- The most comprehensive travel insurance plan
Have you ever imagined having a health problem or even having an accident while traveling? Of course, nobody wants to even think about it. But the fact is that situations like these can occur and, in addition to emotional exhaustion, can also be very expensive financially.
Depending on your destination, the truth is that the costs of meeting unforeseen expenses, especially with medical care, are very high. And it is to avoid this type of headache that travel insurance exists.
As we have seen, depending on the type of insurer, you can find several travel insurance options, which cover different types of risks and unforeseen circumstances. In addition to the type of coverage varying from one company to another, you will also find several prices.
So it is important to understand a little about how travel insurance works and how to choose the best one for you. In this Buying Guide, we will take all your doubts so that you can travel with peace and security.
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a contract that you sign with an insurance company and that guarantees indemnity and / or assistance in the event of the occurrence of situations provided for in this contract, during the period of your trip.
In other words, travel insurance ensures that you will not be left unattended in the event of any unforeseen events, from the moment you embark until you return to your place of departure, whether in national or international destinations.
According to the Superintendence of Private Insurance (SuSep), which regulates and supervises insurance, all travel insurance must cover medical, hospital and dental expenses, in addition to cases of death and permanent disability, during the period of travel stipulated in contract ( 1 ) .
However, other coverages can be offered, for example, loss or theft of luggage, funeral, trip cancellation and early return.
In addition, in cases of travel abroad, travel insurance should also cover situations such as, the insured’s return in the event of impediment to return as a regular passenger; medical transfer and body transfer.
But the fact is that the amount and type of coverage can vary depending on the plan and the insurance company you choose. And, in addition to basic coverage, travel insurance can also cover additional risks, according to your profile and the destination of your trip.
What is the difference between travel insurance and health insurance?
There is often confusion about what is health insurance and what is travel insurance. The truth is that, despite some similarities, they are two different contracts. In common, both exist to help solve problems and unforeseen events.
But while travel insurance covers different situations during the travel period, health insurance covers only medical expenses and, in general, for longer periods than a simple trip.
The fact is that health insurance works like an international health plan. Therefore, in most cases, health insurance is required as one of the requirements for those who will apply for a visa to spend a season in another country.
And here, it is also worth noting the difference between travel insurance and health insurance. The health plan offers medical care in an accredited network.
In health insurance, it is not common for this network to be insured. What happens is a refund for the services you needed to use, in places of your choice.
This way, health insurance will ensure that you have access to private healthcare in the destination country. Unlike travel insurance that covers various other expenses with other unforeseen events that, perhaps, may hinder or interrupt your trip.
What is the difference between travel insurance and travel assistance?
This is another question that can arise when you are choosing the ideal travel insurance. And the fact is that travel insurance and travel assistance, despite being treated as equals, and both guarantee protection in the event of unforeseen circumstances during travel, in practice they work quite differently.
The travel insurance provides that the insured bears all the necessary medical expenses during the trip and, only afterwards, request reimbursement from the insurer.
It is essential that you keep all proof of medical expenses.
Therefore, it is essential that you keep all the medical expenses receipts that you may have during your trip. And also work a little on your patience, because the process of requesting a refund is, in general, quite bureaucratic.
Still, the great advantage of travel insurance is that you can choose the location where you will receive medical care, not just being restricted to your insurance company’s affiliated network.
However, it is worth mentioning that you cannot spend unrestricted spending on emergency calls, as there may be limits on the amount to be reimbursed. This factor will be described in your contract.
In travel assistance, any medical assistance you need during your trip will be paid directly by your insurance company.
Therefore, in case of emergencies, the insured must contact the contracted company before receiving assistance. This way, the insurer will indicate a place for the service to be performed.
That is, the disadvantage of the travel assistance plan is that you will not be able to choose the location of hospital medical care.
Below, we have prepared a table that illustrates the main characteristics of each of these travel plans. Look:
What does travel insurance include?
According to Susep, travel insurance plans must offer at least one of the following basic coverages: Medical, hospital and dental expenses (DMHO), Body and doctor transfers, Health return, Death on travel and Total or partial permanent disability due to traveling accident. (1)
In the case of travel abroad, the following coverage is also mandatory: DMHO, including events that occurred during the trip caused by a personal accident or sudden and acute illness; in addition to transfer of body and doctor, and Health return.
But to understand how each of these covers works and what they guarantee, check out a brief explanation of them below.
- DMHO: Guarantees compensation in the case of medical, hospital and / or dental expenses resulting from a personal accident or sudden and acute illness that occur during the travel period.
- Body transfer: In the event of death, it provides for indemnity for expenses with the release and transportation of the insured’s body from the place of the death to the home or burial place.
- Health return: Guarantees compensation for expenses incurred by the insured person’s return transfer to the place of origin if he is unable to return as a regular passenger due to personal accident or illness.
- Medical Transfer: Provides compensation for expenses with the removal or transfer of the insured to the hospital, due to illness or personal accident.
- Death on the road: Guarantees the payment of the insured capital to the insured’s beneficiaries, in a single payment or in the form of income, in the event of the insured’s death due to natural or accidental causes.
- Total or partial permanent disability due to travel accident: Indemnity in case of loss, reduction or permanent functional impotence, total or partial, of the members or bodies defined in the contract as a result of physical injury suffered by the insured ( 2 ) .
Although they seem complete, the fact is that basic coverage will not always be sufficient for you.
This is because, the type of coverage of your travel insurance will basically depend on your profile, your objective during the trip and the chosen destination.
Therefore, travel insurance may also include, at its discretion, additional coverage. Here are some of the most popular ones. Look:
Who can hire travel insurance?
In theory, anyone, of any age, can take out travel insurance. But there are some restrictions. For example, most insurers limit hiring to people who are 65 or 70 years old at the most.
For destinations, travel insurance can be contracted for locations with a minimum distance of 100 km from your place of origin.
Still, it is possible to find companies that specialize in travel insurance plans that are dedicated to serving people of advanced age.
Coverage for children and adolescents aged 14 years and under is usually limited only to the risk of accidental death and funeral expenses.
What are the risks that travel insurance does not cover?
You already know that travel insurance coverage is limited to the period of travel, considering boarding, stay and disembarkation. But in addition, there are other restrictions.
The fact is that any situation that is not foreseen in your travel insurance policy will not be indemnified or reimbursed by the insurer.
It may seem obvious, but it is not. An example that can go unnoticed are medical expenses resulting from accidents with extreme sports. In this case, the indemnity will only occur if this specific coverage has been contracted.
Other cases that, in general, are not covered by travel insurance, are: Routine medical, psychological or psychiatric examinations; and expenses with prostheses, dental and physiotherapy treatments, which are not prescribed by medical professionals, due to injuries caused by an accident.
See below for other risks that, in general, are not included in the travel insurance policy:
- Compensation for death or disability, and loss of luggage resulting from air, road and sea accidents ;
- Extra hospital expenses , not included in the daily cost;
- Total or partial damage, violation and loss of objects contained in luggage;
- Treatment of epidemic, pandemic or endemic diseases ;
- Aesthetic plastic surgeries ;
- Pharmacy expenses , without having been prescribed by a doctor, due to an accident;
- Claims arising from natural phenomena , of extraordinary character, such as floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, hurricanes, tidal waves, and etc .;
- Accidents or illnesses caused by alcohol or drug use ;
- Damages and losses caused by the insured person’s recklessness , negligence, malpractice and irresponsibility when driving a vehicle;
With that in mind, it is critical that you read the travel insurance contract carefully before signing it.
Only then can you be sure of the risks that are not covered by your travel insurance and, therefore, do not guarantee reimbursement or compensation.
How to activate travel insurance in case of medical emergency?
If an accident occurs or you are affected by a disease during the period of your trip, it is time to use the benefits of your travel insurance.
As we have seen, in the case of travel assistance, you should contact the insurance company that will then indicate the place of service or even send a doctor to you. In the case of travel insurance, you can choose the location to receive assistance.
Still, our recommendation is that you report it to your insurer as soon as possible. In addition, it is also important to inform the doctor and / or hospital where you are attended in advance about the existence of your travel insurance.
It is important to know the conditions of your travel insurance to know how and when you should inform your insurer in case of medical and hospital emergencies.
The fact is that, often, insurers determine that there is a time limit for you to inform about the need for medical care.
For this reason, it is essential that you have your travel insurance data, especially the telephone number of the insurance company’s Call Center, always at your fingertips, at all times. After all, you never know when an unforeseen event may occur.
It is also worth mentioning that some travel insurance insurers accept collect calls in case of emergency.
How long does it take for travel insurance to reimburse my expenses?
For insurance contracted with an insurer based, the maximum period for reimbursement to be made is 30 days. This is, of course, after you have submitted all of the documentation provided for in your policy and prove the need for all expenses made.
In addition to proof of payments, other documents may be requested by the insurer.
In addition to payment vouchers, other documents may be requested by the insurer and will vary according to the coverage you have contracted.
For example, if an accident or illness has caused the insured’s death or disability, the insurer may request additional documentation. Thus, if this occurs, there will be a new period of 30 days for reimbursement, counted from the delivery of additional documents.
How much does travel insurance cost and where can I hire?
The price of travel insurance is usually low, especially considering the expense you could have for medical expenses.
But, in general, the cost of travel insurance will depend on the number of days the trip will last, the coverage included in the policy and the amount of indemnity to be contracted.
To give you an idea, if we consider travel insurance for international destinations, the cost can vary between R $ 9 and R $ 25 per day. For national travel, the value of travel insurance can be from R $ 2 to R $ 4 per day.
In most contracts, the amounts, however, are paid in a single installment. Only in cases of travel insurance for executives and students, who will spend long periods abroad, for example, is it possible to install the payment of travel insurance in installments.
As for hiring travel insurance, the options are quite vast. You can, for example, check if your credit card company has this type of insurance.
The main brands, such as Visa and Mastercard, offer plans, but with some counterparts. Among them is the fact that, in order to be entitled to insurance, you must purchase airline tickets using the card in question.
But, in addition, you can also hire travel insurance from travel agencies, specialized policyholders and passenger transport companies.
Hiring criteria: what to analyze to choose the ideal travel insurance
So far you have had access to a collection of information about what it is, how it works and what are the advantages of travel insurance. But, now, it’s time to hire the ideal travel insurance according to your needs and expectations.
To be successful in this step, it is essential that you choose an insurer of renown and tradition in the market. In addition, it is also essential to read the policy carefully before signing it.
But there are other factors that will determine the best travel insurance for you. Check out the main ones below:
- Individual, family or business
- Destination requirements
- Coverage limit
For the avoidance of doubt, below we will explain how to analyze each of these points.
Individual, family or business
The first factor that we recommend that you check before choosing the best travel insurance is the type of policy. That’s because, travel insurance plans can be individual, family or business.
In the case of individual travel insurance, you must choose the plan that best meets your needs, considering the travel time, the destination and your objective as well.
But if your trip is for a couple or even a family, for example, the ideal is that you search and compare prices between individual and collective plans.
However, in most cases, when you choose to hire a single travel insurance for everyone in the group, the possibility of the value going out more into account is certainly greater than it would be when signing a contract individually for each person.
Finally, if you are going to travel for work, it is important to know that companies can hire travel insurance for a specific period for you. There are even plans that offer coverage for up to a year, in the case of people who travel on business very often.
Another point that you should consider when choosing your travel insurance is the modality of the plan. The modalities of this type of insurance are divided according to the destination and the purpose of the trip besides, of course, the means of transport you will use.
That is, in addition to travel insurance plans that have basic and additional coverage, you should still consider plans that are specific and offer coverage according to the type of your trip.
Thus, in addition to travel insurance that covers national and international trips for common tourism, you can also find specific options for exchanges, for those who are going to practice extreme or high-risk sports, or for sea travel, among others.
Each of the types of travel insurance has specific coverages, in addition to the basic ones that we have already seen in this article.
For example, in the case of exchanges or courses abroad, insurance is offered at reduced prices, as they will cover longer periods. For those traveling on a cruise, travel insurance will include coverage for medical care on the ship, for example.
There are even specific travel insurance plans for pregnant women, babies and the elderly, as well as for those who have a pre-existing disease and need greater coverage during the trip.
In addition to the modality, it is essential that you observe what the requirements of your destination are, especially if we are dealing with other countries.
This is because some countries, such as the United States, Australia, as well as all of the European Union, require that upon arrival you must present proof of travel insurance and with minimal coverage.
Did you know that the countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement require that tourists prove they have travel insurance with a minimum value of € 30 thousand?
If you travel without insurance with this minimum coverage amount, you may be required to return.
See which countries are part of the Schengen Agreement: Austria, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia, Spain, France, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta , Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Sweden.
In addition to meeting the requirements of your destination, it is important to choose your travel insurance coverage limit well, to ensure that you do not have to pay any extra expenses.
In other words, depending on the chosen plan, you will have a coverage limit, which represents the maximum expense, provided for in the policy, that you can have on the trip with unforeseen circumstances. Thus, the higher this value, the better.
This is because, even if the country of destination is not mandatory to have travel insurance, the fact is that in many of them a simple medical consultation can be very expensive.
Therefore, experts recommend that, for international travel, you hire travel insurance with a minimum coverage of US $ 30,000 for medical and hospital expenses.
But this can vary according to the destination country. For example, for the United States, where medical expenses are even more expensive, coverage of at least $ 50,000 is recommended.
Still, the fact is that you will be able to find options whose coverage limit for medical and hospital expenses ranges from R $ 100,000 to up to US $ 1 million.
Finally, be sure to consider how communication with your insurance company will take place in case you need to activate travel insurance. As we have seen, the ideal is that you communicate to the Call Center as soon as possible and, in general, this is done by telephone.
Therefore, if your destination is a foreign country, we recommend that you choose an insurance company that guarantees that the communication will be made in Portuguese.
Travel insurance goes far beyond indemnifying the insured in case of loss of luggage and flights, which in itself already avoids a lot of headaches. Travel insurance covers emergency expenses that may occur during a trip mainly related to accidents and health problems.
In addition, travel insurance offers basic, additional and specific coverage according to your profile, destination and travel objective. But, before signing the contract, carefully read the policy to understand what is covered and what is not.
- Policy: Contract that formalizes the purchase of travel insurance, with all information about the rights and duties of the insured and the insurer.
- Coverage: It is the insured person’s guarantee against certain risks. Insurers offer coverage models that range from basic, to additional and specific.
- Indemnity: It is the amount paid by the insurer to the insured in the event of a claim provided for in the policy.
- Sinister: Any event provided for in the insurance policy in which there is the possibility of calling the insurer to cover damages to itself or to third parties.
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