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Travel Toolbox: All About Insurance

Travel is inherently expensive, and the better a trip is, the more expensive it will be. But travel is also inherently risky, as a host of factors from weather to health and politics can intervene unexpectedly to send a trip awry.

At the intersection of expense and risk, you’ll always find insurance, and the tourism industry is no different. Myriad insurance products exist to cover travelers against events that might affect their experiences. Dozens of independent companies sell travel insurance policies of one type or another, and many tour operators offer insurance products when booking trips with them as well.

Like all insurance, travel insurance is complicated, and many different types of coverage are available to group travel leaders. It’s a good idea to offer insurance to your travelers, and some group leaders even package insurance into the cost of the trip for every participant.

It’s also a good idea to understand exactly what types of insurance are out there in the industry and which offer the most benefits. Some of those coverages can be packaged together, but it’s always important to understand exactly what you’re getting when you make an insurance purchase.


Liability Insurance

Because travel always involves transportation and often also involves out-of-the-ordinary activities, reputable travel companies carry liability insurance. It protects the tour operator or the travel supplier in case something goes wrong and a customer makes a claim against them.

Though that insurance doesn’t benefit you directly, you should always make sure that the companies you work with are fully insured. And it’s worthwhile to check if your bank, university or chamber’s liability insurance protects your institution against similar claims that might arise from a trip.


Emergency Medical Insurance

One of the scariest scenarios in tourism is the possibility of a traveler having an injury accident or developing a serious illness while on the road. That problem is compounded by the fact that many health insurance plans don’t cover treatment outside of the United States and that some group travel destinations don’t have the best medical care available.

To protect against that, many travel insurance companies offer emergency medical coverage that will pay for the customer’s medical care in case of an incident abroad and transport the patient back to the United States for treatment, if necessary.


Cancellation, Interruption or Delay Insurance

After you’ve booked and paid for a trip, numerous occurrences outside of your control can still torpedo your plans. Natural disasters, weather emergencies, medical developments and even transportation strikes can get in the way of a vacation.

When you purchase trip cancellation, interruption or delay insurance, the insurance company will refund your costs if those factors disrupt your travels. It’s important to check the fine print on those plans, though, because the insurers often have very specific rules about what kinds of events are and are not covered under those policies.