We recommend travel insurance to all Caussi renters...you just never know! Here is a terrific overview on the topic reprinted with permission from one of our favorite online newsletters: FRANCE On Your Own FRANCE On Your Own is always filled with interesting tidbits, events, and even a regular column on nearby Narbonne...check it out!
A Travel Insurance Review by Damian Tysdal
While carriers and travel suppliers assume almost no financial responsibility to travelers for cancellations that occur due to events beyond their control, travelers can protect themselves by having the right travel insurance plan. Here are five reasons you may want to take a second look at travel insurance.
1. You might have to cancel your trip - or abandon it and return home to handle an emergency.
One of the most popular reasons travelers buy travel insurance is to have coverage if they have to cancel their trip, and it's a very valid reason because even if your trip to France has to be delayed a few months, you still may want to take it. After you add up the cost of prepaid airfare, tours, and accommodations, a trip to France can start out costing thousands of dollars.
What most travelers don't know is that trip cancellation coverage is also bundled with trip interruption coverage, which is similar to cancellation except that it covers the unused portion of a trip if a traveler has to suddenly return home. Trip interruption coverage also reimburses a traveler for unexpected return airfare costs and lodging should they need it on their return trip.
The covered reasons for trip cancellation and interruption vary from policy to policy, and it's important to understand the covered reasons to fully understand your options should you have to cancel. For example, you may have to cancel or interrupt your trip in the event a family member develops a serious illness or dies, but that family member has to be listed as a covered family member. Beloved family pets don't count, unfortunately.
2. Medical emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime.
Tourist buses crash, flu viruses attack, people get hurt - it happens all the time and a medical emergency can be quite costly when you consider emergency transportation, physician's expenses, medicines, X-rays, and more.
France has a strong network of medical practitioners, so you will have no problem finding a doctor even in a very small town. The standard of medical care in France is extremely high. To find a doctor, ask any local resident or step into a pharmacy and inquire. If the patient is too sick to move, a doctor will make a visit to their accommodations. Ask your host to contact a local doctor. The cost is slightly higher than a visit to a doctor's office (cabinet du médicin), and the payment and refunding expectations are the same.
The standard principle of the French health service is to pay first, make a claim and be reimbursed (except with hospital treatment). Visitors from the European Union countries are advised to be sure they have health insurance coverage before traveling to France. The same is true the US visitors to France, although many make the mistake of believing their existing health insurance plan will protect them overseas. In truth, their health insurance generally stops at the border, and Medicare always stops at the border.
Some US health insurance companies will reimburse a traveler's overseas expenses at out-of-network rates and with proper documentation; and some Medicare supplement plans provide travel medical coverage up to a relatively small limit. Should you, or your spouse or traveling companion become seriously ill or be seriously injured, however, it may not be enough.
While trip cancellation and travel medical emergencies are the primary reasons ...
3. Continued economic woes could incite action causing further strikes and defaults.
As the Greek financial crisis continues to dominate the news and the European Union works to find appropriate strategies to cope with it, further laws and reforms could cause unexpected, short-notice strikes, leaving passengers caught off guard.
Some travel insurance plans allow you to cancel your trip for a full refund if flights are canceled due to an unexpected labor strike.
4. Natural disasters like volcanic eruptions cause widespread disruptions.
French tourism was nearly crushed in 2010 with the pension reform strikes in the fall and then volcanic eruptions that affected most of the transportation systems in the spring. Nature remains a powerful and unpredictable force that can cause all kinds of trouble for travelers.
Some travel insurance plans cover pre-departure trip cancellations due to natural disasters.
5. Lost or stolen passports could bring your France trip to a quick halt.
If a thief were to steal your passport the week before your trip to France, could you get a replacement in time? If not, would you lose all your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs?
What if your passport were lost or stolen while you were traveling in France - could you get a replacement copy in time to get back home?
Some travel insurance plans cover pre-departure trip cancellations if your passports are lost or stolen (you'll need to make a police report and provide a copy with your claim). If your passport is lost or stolen while you are traveling, travel insurance assistance services can help you navigate the bureaucracy to get a replacement passport, and often they'll pay the fees (up to the plan limit).
The best way to find a good travel insurance plan is to use a comparison site that lets you filter the coverage you need and price-shop a lot of plans at once.
Damian Tysdal founded Travel Insurance Review in 2006 on the belief that travel insurance should be easier to understand. We thank him for this informative article.