When traveling for business, most travelers have confidence that their company will be able to take care of them in the event of a delay or cancelation during their trip. So should business travelers invest in travel insurance?
As someone who travels for both business and pleasure often, I believe the answer to that question varies. Because business travelers have specific needs, business travelers will need to look out for specific items. Fortunately, it isn't hard to do.
Here are a few insurance items that business travelers should be prepared for when traveling for business.
1. Medical coverage for overseas travel.
Medical emergencies do not discriminate between business and personal trips -- they can happen anytime. Because of this, having some type of coverage in the event of an emergency is ideal. For most people traveling domestically, their medical insurance will suffice.
However, if you are traveling overseas for business, you will need to contact your employer and your insurance to see what is covered. Some, but not all, medical insurance providers do offer overseas coverage. However, they may only cover a few items which can leave you with a big bill and few options.
To ensure that you have the fullest protection, purchasing a medical travel insurance plan when you will be traveling abroad can be ideal. This is especially helpful when traveling through multiple destinations in a short period of time.
2. Trip cancelation insurance.
Business travelers will need to take several factors into consideration before purchasing trip cancelation insurance. For one, your trip may be covered by a credit card. Some of the best Chase credit cards for travel, for example, offer coverage that includes trip cancelation and interruption service, collision damage coverage for rental vehicles, lost luggage reimbursement, and even reimbursements for delays.
Secondly, consider the cost versus the potential loss. If you are traveling domestically and the cost of the trip is less than the cost of buying an insurance plan, you may want to take the loss. However, when traveling abroad, talk to your employer or consider purchasing insurance if you are self-employed, especially when traveling to multiple cities when there is a higher risk of delay and cancelation.
3. Loss and/or damage coverage for equipment.
This will likely vary, depending on where you work. If you will be traveling with a lot of equipment, especially traveling abroad, consider investing in a plan that covers high-price items that you use for your business. Some policies only cover up to a certain amount.
You'll need to do a bit of research on whether or not your items will be properly insured. You may need to work to find a higher-coverage business plan but the effort can be worth it.
So who needs travel insurance?
Business travelers that travel multiple times a year, especially ones that travel abroad often, should consider multi-trip insurance. This usually also covers last-minute trips. Additionally, self-employed travelers should consider their insurance options, especially if they travel often. These travelers will need to do a bit of research based on what they need.
Furthermore, travelers that often visit areas that are prone to natural disasters (i.e., places prone to hurricanes, flooding, extreme heat, etc.) would benefit from multi-trip insurance.
Finally, if you are traveling to a country that is a high-risk for terrorism and possibly is a dangerous place for you as a business traveler, there are specific insurance policies that can help. Kidnap and ransom coverage is coverage for specific travelers that may need it.
Where can you buy travel insurance?
If you need to find insurance for your business travels, you may want to avoid a travel agent and instead go through a third-party agency. Fortunately it's easy to compare options online. Plus, all travel insurance plans have the option of making sure the plan you purchased is the one you need.
Referred to as the "Free Look Period", this gives business travelers 10-15 days to compare and review their plan.
If you find that you don't need it, you can request a full refund. This is a good time to verify all the details in your contract and confirm that what is needed for the trip(s) is going to be covered adequately. Note that most insurance plans are for trips that are either 30 to 45 days, maximum.