Is It Safe to Travel Today?
JULY 5, 2022
As the global economy starts to reopen, travel enthusiasts are planning vacations. Two-thirds of Americans plan to “go big” on their next getaway. And 37% of U.S. travelers plan on traveling both internationally and domestically this year, according to an Expedia report on 2022 travel trends.
Prior to packing your bags, do your research. The Global Peace Index for 2021 highlights a large increase in global civil unrest and political instability. These trends show no sign of abating.
Travelers should be aware that exposure to political unrest, COVID-19 variants and natural disasters continue to rise. Taking the following steps may protect both you and your finances.
Military tensions and social unrest continue to drive political conflicts and a surge in protests around the world. Incidents of political unrest are usually unpredictable, but travelers can mitigate the risk with research and planning.
Before traveling, it is important to have a clear picture of the security conditions in the country you are visiting and stay abreast of any evolving crisis situation. It is recommended that travelers, especially those who visit high-risk countries, enroll in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive updates on safety and security information. There are also several mobile security applications and online resources that provide up-to-date safety information to travelers.
Some insurance carriers offer critical security services. For example, as part of a comprehensive evacuation policy, some insurers provide security firms to assist with in-country logistical support or extraction if needed. This coverage can be activated without a government-issued warning.
Prior to traveling, consider purchasing the proper travel insurance. Travelers who want to book trips in advance are advised to purchase insurance that would cover them in the event the trip needs to be cancelled. Some travel insurance companies now offer the option to purchase “cancel for any reason” travel insurance plans, which allows you to receive a refund without needing to provide a reason for cancelling.
There are also various insurance policies designed to protect travelers against mishaps. Review each policy’s benefits and exclusions carefully. Generally, standard travel insurance offers financial coverage and logistical support for trip delays, interruptions, baggage loss or delay, and certain medical expenses.
Medical Emergency and Evacuation
USI Insurance Services encourages travelers to take precautions and make plans that will limit the need for medical evacuation and related costs. Research the medical facilities in the region you’re visiting and plan ahead for any pre-existing medical conditions. If the trip includes visits to remote areas, preplan an evacuation route. Finally, engage an experienced consultant to review insurance options and place coverage that provides the necessary services needed in the event of an emergency.
Emergency medical transportation for a serious illness, like a heart attack or stroke, can range from $15,000 to more than $200,000 depending on the location and extent of injury. If the emergency occurs in a remote area or the injuries are particularly severe, the costs can easily double or triple, according to insurer Allianz Global. It is therefore important to find evacuation coverage with generous limits when traveling to remote areas, or if the trip involves adventurous activities, such as mountain climbing, deep sea diving or wildlife hunting.
Natural disasters are among the leading cause of travel interruption and cancellations plans. As with medical emergencies and political unrest, a little planning can help reduce the risk of being stranded or injured in a natural disaster.
Unfortunately, not all travel insurance policies are the same when it comes to coverage for natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, which may disrupt travel plans. An effective travel policy will cover the extra cost of finding alternative flights, hotel rooms or meals when a trip is cancelled or cut short by severe weather.