Do You Need It? – Forbes Advisor

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When it comes to travel, often the more the merrier. If you’re traveling as part of a large group, it’s wise to research the benefits of buying one policy that covers everyone.

Group travel policies are good for:

  • Large groups with the same itinerary
  • Travelers looking for basic coverage
  • Groups who want the convenience of buying one plan

“Group travel insurance may be convenient for groups traveling to volunteer, study abroad, attend a meeting or participate in a business trip,” says Jeremy Murchland, president of Seven Corners, a travel insurance company. “While there may not always be many noticeable differences between a provider’s individual and group plans, the benefit of purchasing as a group is the convenience of the purchase process.”

Murchland says choosing to purchase travel insurance as a group allows each traveler to get the same level of coverage through a streamlined policy.

To help shield your group from losing money put down for the trip due to unexpected events, it’s prudent to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance plan that covers the following.

Trip cancellation insurance

Trip cancellation insurance can reimburse you 100% for prepaid, non-refundable outlays if you can’t go on the trip due to a problem covered by the policy.

For example, if you suffer a serious injury before your trip and need to cancel, you would be refunded 100% of your prepaid trip costs, such as airfare, hotel accommodations or activities, like a sightseeing tour.

Trip delay travel insurance

Trip delay travel insurance can provide compensation for hotels, meals and transportation if your flight is delayed due to unforeseen events. Your policy will have a specified length of time for trip delay coverage to kick in, such as three hours.

For example, if mechanical failure causes your flight to be delayed for more than three hours, you may be reimbursed for a restaurant meal at the airport.

Trip interruption travel insurance

Trip interruption travel insurance can pay for a flight home and to recoup prepaid, non-refundable money put down for activities you’ll miss if you have to return home during a trip due to an emergency.

For example, if a sudden injury cuts your vacation short, you’ll be covered for your expenses to rebook an early flight home as well as any prepaid expenses, such as a scuba diving excursion.

Travel medical insurance

Travel medical insurance can help pay for medical costs if you become ill or are injured while on your trip.

For example, if you slip and sprain your ankle while strolling through Paris, you’ll be covered for medical expenses like doctor bills and X-rays. Make sure to check the limit for medical expenses in the policy.

Emergency medical evacuation insurance

Medical evacuation travel insurance can pay for medevac charges, up to your policy limits. For example, if you get a serious illness while on a cruise ship, this can cover a medical evacuation to a medical facility.

Travel insurance for baggage

Baggage insurance can reimburse you the depreciated value of lost, stolen or damaged luggage and personal items, up to the amount listed in your policy.

You can also buy coverage for baggage delays. Your policy will have a specified length of time for baggage delay coverage to kick in. For example, if your luggage is delayed by twelve hours, you can submit a claim for expenses like toiletries and other necessities, such as a change of clothes.

Criteria for Group Travel Insurance

Group travel insurance usually allows parties of 10 or more to purchase one travel insurance policy to cover the entire group on a trip, says Megan Moncrief, spokesperson with Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider.

“In order for a group to be eligible for a group travel insurance policy, there must be at least 10 people who are traveling to the same destination, have the same travel dates and are US residents,” Moncrief says.

Pack Mentality: Advantages of Group Travel Insurance

Coverage is relatively similar to individual plans

Group travel insurance offers similar basic benefits to individual travel insurance policies. This includes coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, emergency medical expense and medical evacuation costs. Not all group policies include coverage for lost, stolen or damaged baggage and possessions, but some do.

Coverage can be streamlined

Group travel insurance policies can be a more convenient and economical option for organized groups traveling together, including large families, company retreats, destination weddings and reunions, says Moncrief.

“If the group is just looking for general coverage, with no specific needs, for instance benefit limits above the industry standard, a group policy can be a great option,” she says.

The benefits included in a group policy are per-person limits. “So for example, if a policy has a $ 50,000 emergency medical limit, that would be $ 50,000 per traveler,” says Moncrief.

You can still make individual claims

Group travel insurance policies function similar to individual plans in that each traveler is insured, and can make a claim as a one-off if needed, says Moncrief. For example, if one member of the group is unable to travel, their trip cancellation claim does not necessarily impact the rest of the group.

When Are Individual Plans Better Than Group Travel Insurance?

Individual policies typically offer more options, including higher benefit limits and upgrades, says Moncrief. For this reason, if you have specific coverage needs and requirements, an individual travel insurance policy might be a better fit for you.

“For example, depending on the travelers and destination, it may be beneficial to purchase high limits of medical evacuation coverage or travel delay coverage,” said Moncrief at Squaremouth. “Most group plans don’t offer optional benefit limit increases.”

She also says “cancel for any reason” upgrades are not commonly offered in group travel insurance policies.

A “Cancel for any reason” travel insurance upgrade offers you the greatest flexibility to cancel your trip for any reason, so long as you cancel at least two days before your scheduled departure. This upgrade will add an average of 50% more to the cost of a travel insurance policy. Depending on your travel insurance plan, you’ll usually be able to recover 50% or 75% of the trip money that you lose.

If it’s important for you to have the freedom to cancel for reasons other than what’s listed in the base policy, consider an individual plan with this add-on benefit.

Is Group Travel Insurance Less Expensive Than Buying Individual Policies?

Some group travel insurance plans can be less expensive than individual plans because age is not factored into premiums, as it is for individual plans. Instead, group plan prices are based on the number of people traveling and the total trip cost.

“They also have fewer optional benefits or upgrades. For this reason, they can be less expensive than several individual policies, ”says Moncrief.

It’s important to note that while age is not considered when pricing group plans, some do have age restrictions for coverage. For example, the Liaison Travel Plus Group plan covers from Seven Corners covers travelers up to age 74, the Liaison Student Plus Group plan caps the age at age 64, and its Roundtrip Group plan covers American travelers up to age 69.

What About Covid Coverage in Group Travel Insurance?

If you have concerns about Covid impacting your trip, be sure to find a plan that covers Covid-related trip cancellations and medical costs. Some travel insurance companies — but not all— cover Covid-related costs the same way as other medical expenses. It’s important to read the terms and conditions of your policy carefully, and for further clarification, call the travel insurance company with questions.

If the policy does provide benefits for Covid, it will usually cover trip cancellations and the cost of medical expenses related to Covid, and expenses if you have to self-isolate due to a positive test.

You would need a “cancel for any reason” upgrade to your policy if you are worried about a spike in Covid at your destination and want to cancel, and your policy doesn’t cover pandemic-related issues.

Related: Best Covid travel insurance plans

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