Whether you’re flying to Madrid on business or exploring the Spanish countryside with your family, travel insurance could offer a little extra peace of mind and help you relax and get the most out of your trip overseas. Here are a few things to consider as you pack your bags and brush up on your Spanish:
Is your flight set in stone?
Major U.S. air carriers canceled nearly 800 flights between 2004 and 2009 due to bad weather, traffic control problems, mechanical repairs and other unpredictable snafus. Contrary to what many travelers believe, there are no federal requirements for airlines to reimburse or rebook passengers for canceled flight tickets, and different airlines offer different solutions.
Find out what you can count on if your flight is canceled, and consider investing in travel insurance if necessary. A smart policy can offer reimbursements for canceled tickets, travel assistance, lost or stolen baggage and more. When you consider that some carriers offer this type of protection for as little as $25 for a $500 flight, travel insurance sometimes pays for itself.
Can you afford to get sick overseas?
If you’re planning to stay in Spain for more than 90 days, you’ll be required to first obtain a visa, for which you must have a valid travel medical insurance policy. If you’re only visiting for a short time, medical travel insurance could still be a wise investment. Consider the following:
- Most U.S. health insurance policies won’t travel with you. If you get sick or are hospitalized for any reason, you’ll likely be handed a hefty bill upon checkout. Travel insurance could offer some financial support.
- You get into an accident and don’t know who to call or how to find help. Your insurer could help you locate a reliable hospital with the medical care you need.
- According to the U.S. State Department, international medical evacuation can easily cost $10,000 and up, depending on location and medical condition. However, if you’re covered with travel insurance, your provider could help cover the cost.
The type of coverage that’s right for you depends on your specific trip and your personal needs. If you have any questions about how to pay for medical care overseas, check first with a licensed insurance agent.
Will you be driving?
Like your U.S. health insurance, most American auto insurance policies will not travel with you to Spain – and getting caught uninsured behind the wheel could land you a fine of thousands of dollars. If you plan to drive overseas, check with your current provider to find out what type of international coverage you could be eligible to add on to your existing policy. If you’re renting a car, check with the rental company to find out what types of coverages come with the vehicle or where you can purchase a Spanish insurance policy. You’ll also need an International Driving Permit.
Are you already covered?
You may find that you’re already covered for many of the perils a travel insurance policy would offer protection for. Find out whether your airline or credit card company offers reimbursements for canceled flight tickets, coverage for lost or stolen baggage and other types of traveler assistance before shelling out big bucks on insurance. Similarly, your credit card company may offer protection for you behind the wheel of a rental car in a foreign country.
Regardless of where your coverage comes from, it’s extremely important to cover all your bases and make sure you’re getting the protection and peace of mind you need before ever setting foot on foreign soil.
This article was contributed by Kelly McMurtrie, a writer for HomeownersInsurance.com. Kelly has been writing content for HomeInsurance.com and other major brands since 2011 after graduating from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Media Arts