It’s possible to save a lot of money on your travel insurance without diminishing your coverage if you think outside the box. Be flexible. You don’t always have to stick with the tried and true formula you have been using for the past 15 years. Following are a few tips.
If you’re planning a four or five month trip south this year consider breaking it up into two 60-day periods (with a trip home for Christmas) and buy an annual 60-day multi-trip plan, which allows you as many 60-day trips out of the country as you can fit into a year. Leave in October, fly home for Christmas, and head back down in January.
What’s the advantage? Your premiums are based on the lower 60-day rate rather than 120 or more. Ask you insurer about the rate differentials and you may be pleasantly surprised.
These savings are possible because insurers base their rates on per diem charges. The longer you are out of the country—the greater the risk you might have a medical emergency and the higher your per diem.
Another advantage, is that you still have an additional 60-day segment to use during the remainder of the year—maybe to Europe, or a cruise, or a whole series of ballgames in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland or Boston. And all for the price of a 60-day segment.
Consider taking on a sizeable deductible.
Insisting on a zero deductible is a waste of money—yours and the insurers. Small claims cost a lot to process. That’s why insurers are prepared to drop their prices if you are willing to pay the first $100, or $500, or $1,000 of medical expenses or even more on your own. Consider that if you can save, say 20 percent on your premium by taking a sizeable $1000 deductible, in five years you will have earned a free year. And your chances of not encountering a medical emergency are pretty good if your health is reasonable. Think about it: when was the last time you had a claim on your travel insurance?
Non U.S. Travel
Because medical costs are so high in the U.S., many insurers offer lower rates for travel outside the U.S. If your itinerary does not include the U.S., ask your insurer about non-U.S. travel. But make sure your travel destinations don’t take you through or adjacent to the U.S. so that in a medical emergency you might be evacuated to an American hospital. Mexico might be one such destination.
If you already have underlying travel coverage from a company retirement or pension plan that covers you for a limited number of days, get the details about what is covered and then consider taking out a top up from a dedicated travel insurance company. This may be a good way to save money, but talk it over with the top up insurer and make sure your basic plan allows top ups, and also make sure you understand how much coverage you really have under your group plan. Some have quite low limits and you don’t want to be short of coverage for the first 40 or 60 days you are under that plan’s umbrella.
Ask, Ask, Ask
Don’t hesitate talking with your travel insurance company about savings. You never know what you can find, and insurers want you as a customer.