Are You Protected? What Travel Insurance Coverages Can Help During Your Trip

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summer-zikaA study conducted by the US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) back in 2006 showed that many trip goers, while familiar with flight and trip cancellation, were not familiar with travel health insurance, baggage coverage, and medical evacuation insurance. In fact, only 50% of consumers who purchased travel insurance were aware of medical evacuation insurance.

Much has changed in the travel insurance industry over the past 10 years. More travelers are purchasing insurance than in years past and, in a risk-laden travel landscape, the demand for trip protection is on the rise.

“Familiarizing yourself with the finer details of a travel insurance plan can help reveal a plan’s overall value and help you decide if insuring your next trip is the right choice for you,” said Bob Chambers, Vice President of Operations, from CSA Travel Protection.

Though the UStiA study suggests trip cancellation was once a more widely-known travel protection coverage, Chambers says, “many standard travel insurance plans have always included, and continue to include, a number of lesser-known post-departure coverages that take effect when you begin your trip.”

What Post-Departure Coverages Do

Post-departure travel insurance coverages are designed to reimburse you for specific financial losses that you might suffer as a result of travel misfortune. Unlike trip cancellation coverage, the post-departure coverages don’t take effect until you begin your trip. Many plans include a variety of post-departure coverages and depending on the plan you purchase, multiple coverages could be of use to you if you encounter an unexpected event that interrupts your vacation.

For instance, say you are out sight-seeing on the second day of a long-awaited family tour package when, the next thing you know, an extra step backwards to capture the perfect photograph sends you tumbling down an unfamiliar set of stairs. A hurried visit to the nearest Emergency Room results in a fractured ankle diagnosis, a string of medical bills for out-of-network medical treatment and a now useless—and completely non-refundable—tour package because it was medically necessary for you to return home.

In this scenario, medical and dental, travel delay, and trip interruption are three post-departure coverages that could potentially help you recoup your losses. In addition to seeking reimbursement for the out-of-network emergency room bills that your primary insurance provider may not cover, you can also claim compensation for lodging, meals, local transportation and telephone calls while you’re delayed; the unused, prepaid portion of your ski trip; and even additional transportation costs to return home early.

Provided you insured the entire family’s arrangements when you bought your plan, you could all return home together and claim for the full remainder of the pre-paid family trip while limiting the stress of having to give up your vacation with no opportunity for reimbursement. Like with trip cancellation, post-departure coverages are intended to make you “whole” again after suffering losses resulting from a listed covered event, like an unexpected injury.

Generally speaking, medical and dental coverage typically provides reimbursement for physician-ordered medical services varying from prescription drugs and medicines to local ambulance services if you get sick or injured while on your trip, while travel delay aims to reimburse for reasonable additional expenses like lodging, meals, and local transportation while you’re delayed, and trip interruption provides reimbursement for the prepaid nonrefundable portion of your trip that you had to forfeit due to the unexpected interruption as well as additional transportation costs that you had to pay to return home early or rejoin the rest of your travel party.

But these are just three of several post-departure coverages included with many standard travel insurance plans. Others include baggage coverage, baggage delay, emergency assistance and transportation, accidental death and dismemberment, missed connection, and even rental car damage coverage.

What’s Right for You?

Depending on the nature of your arrangements, your destination, and your unique individual needs and medical history, you should look to purchase a plan that best fits your individual needs and is right for your next trip. For instance, when traveling abroad, the U.S. Department of State advises travelers to learn about a protection plan’s health insurance and medical evacuation features to ensure you’re properly protected overseas or in the event of an emergency. Or perhaps you’re scheduling a cruise and intend to bring a variety of jewelry and formal wear on board. In that case, maybe a plan with increased baggage coverage limits appeals to you.

Wherever your next trip takes you, be sure to look beyond trip cancellation and explore what a plan’s post-departure coverages have to offer. And if you’re considering buying travel insurance, remember to purchase from a reputable provider such as CSA Travel Protection.

Get your travel insurance quote from CSA

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance.  This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.  This notice provides general information on CSA’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern. 

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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Summer Travel Trends and the Zika Effect

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Travelers are in the midst of making decisions about their summer plans, and there are many factors—including security—that play into their choices. Traveling overseas on the U.S. Dollar is cheaper than it has been in a while, but concern about the Zika virus is affecting international bookings and could boost domestic travel. How could this affect leisure travel this summer and how might travel insurance help?

International Travel

“Flight bookings to destinations hit by the Zika virus have been consistently slowing, following the US government’s travel warning and the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global health emergency,” according to ForwardKeys, a traveler data intelligence company.

summer-zikaFlight bookings to Zika affected areas dropped about 8 percent after the official travel warnings were released in January, according to ForwardKeys. “Some destinations are less affected by the current situation, while others combine Zika with previous negative trends, thus worsening their performance,” the report says.

For example, flight bookings to Brazil made from Jan 15th to Feb 10th were down just three percent compared to the same period last year, while Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were hit hard with a 22 and 27 percent drop, respectively.

Whether this booking trend will continue and how it will actually affect the number of summer travelers is undetermined, but the same report shows expected arrivals between March and May remain down for the hardest hit destinations.

We recommend that anyone who is booking travel and is concerned about the Zika virus should consider a Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance policy. Canceling a trip due to concerns that travelers may contract the virus is generally not covered, so customers are encouraged to read their policies and talk to a travel insurance expert to be sure they’re getting the coverage they require.

It may also come in handy to bookmark the CDC’s Zika prevention kit for any travelers that may be headed into Zika affected areas.

Cruise Travel

One-third of the world’s cruise ship capacity is deployed in the Caribbean, where Zika is a serious concern. How might the cruise industry be affected by this?

24 million cruise passengers are expected to set sail this year, according to figures released by the Cruise Lines International Association before the virus became a worldwide concern. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Tim Conder estimated that, at most, the alarm over the Zika virus may cause cruise bookings this year to be cut by 6 percent, or 1.4 million travelers, according to CNBC. He also advised that cruise lines generally don’t allow pregnant women in their third trimester on board. Since pregnant women are being warned not to travel to Zika affected areas, this may limit the number of cancelations or decisions not to cruise.

The International Travel & Health Insurance Journal recently reported that demand for specific cruise travel insurance is growing along with the rise in cruise bookings. According to figures from InsureMyTrip, the number of travel insurance policies sold to cruisers in January jumped 10 percent compared to the same month last year.

Domestic Travel

“With the increase of security threats happening abroad, I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2016 we begin to see more U.S. travelers booking trips to domestic hotspots like Hawaii, Alaska and San Diego,” said Cassie McNab, marketing manager at CSA Travel Protection.

Travelers in the U.S. are spending more this year, and more this summer— at least that was the forecast in December. A 3.4 percent rise in U.S. travel expenditures was forecast for 2016, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and signs show domestic travel may even get a boost from fear about overseas terrorism and the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Andrew Saunders, president of the real estate company Saunders & Associates, recently told U.S. News and World Report that security concerns are causing an increase in the number of travelers choosing to stay close to home rather than renting overseas this year.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll from February showed that 41 percent of Americans aware of the Zika virus say they are less likely to take a trip to affected areas.

Luckily, no cases of Zika are reported to have been acquired in the United States. However, it’s still a sound idea to keep an eye out. The types of mosquitoes that are able to transmit the virus have historically been found across the US, from East to West coasts, and some estimates show that up to 200 million Americans live in areas where the disease could potentially spread during the summer.

On a lighter note — road trips are likely to be a popular summer getaway. With gas prices at decade lows and the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service, featuring centennial celebration events throughout the nation in August, the roads are sure to be packed.

The AARP reports that 95 percent of Baby Boomers plan to travel domestically in 2016, with Florida, Las Vegas, California, New York and Hawaii as the most mentioned destinations. Summer Vacations, Multi-Generational trips, and Weekend Getaways are cited as the most popular reasons for Boomer travel, which are also some of the peak situations for choosing to stay at a vacation rental.

Get your travel insurance quote from CSA

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance.  This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.  This notice provides general information on CSA’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern. 

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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CSA Travel Protection Wins Bronze Stevie® Award In 2016 Stevie Awards For Sales & Customer Service

Bronze Stevie Winner 2016CSA Travel Protection, dedicated for more than 20 years to providing travel insurance and emergency assistance services, was presented this week with a Bronze Stevie® Award in the tenth annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. CSA Travel Protection was honored for working with business partner HomeAway to create a fully automated online eClaims solution for HomeAway, VRBO and VacationRental.com customers that streamlines the claims process for Property Damage Protection.

“As a company that provides quality travel protection and emergency services, we’re always looking to provide the best customer service possible,” said Bob Chambers, Vice President of Operations. “The claims process can sometimes be complex and our team simplified that process while providing better visibility on the claim status.”

The result of this project is an end-to-end online tool that allows users to file a claim, upload supporting documentation, check statuses, and communicate with their dedicated claim representative. With the success of eClaims automation, CSA plans to leverage this technology with other customer channels in the future.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are the world’s top sales awards, business development awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards.  The Stevie Awards organizes several of the world’s leading business awards shows including the prestigious American Business Awards and International Business Awards.

The awards were presented to honorees during a gala banquet on Friday, March 4 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. More than 500 executives from the U.S.A. and several other nations attended.

More than 2,100 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition, an increase of 11% over 2015. Finalists were determined by the average scores of 115 professionals worldwide, acting as preliminary judges. Entries were considered in 59 categories for customer service and contact center achievements, including Contact Center of the Year, Award for Innovation in Customer Service, and Consulting Practice of the Year; more than 50 categories for sales and business development achievements, ranging from Senior Sales Executive of the Year to Business Development Achievement of the Year; and categories to recognize new products and services and solution providers.

More than 60 members of several specialized judging committees determined the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging earlier this month.

“Entries to the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service continue to grow every year, further validating the essential roles that business development, customer service, and sales play in business success,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.  “The widespread support of this program made the 2016 competition that much more intense among finalists. The judges were deeply impressed by the winner’s accomplishments and we congratulate all of the winners on their commitment to excellence and innovation.”

Details about the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service and the list of Stevie winners in all categories are available at www.StevieAwards.com/sales.

About CSA Travel Protection
CSA Travel Protection, a Europ Assistance company, is dedicated to providing travel insurance and emergency assistance services to protect travelers’ valuable travel investments and provide the peace of mind one deserves while traveling. For 20 years CSA has developed a reputation for standing behind its customers and by offering products and services to meet their needs. Through superior customer service, extensive experience and industry-leading innovation, CSA is with its clients every step of the way, whenever and wherever they are needed. Learn more at www.csatravelprotection.com.

About The Stevie Awards
The Stevie Awards are conferred in six programs: The American Business Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, and the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards. A seventh program, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, will debut in April 2016.  Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at http://www.StevieAwards.com, and follow the Stevie Awards on Twitter @TheStevieAwards.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 0821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions.  Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply.

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

Popular Spring Break Destinations That Might Surprise You

Sunset in Treasure Beach, JamaicaA record breaking 1.2 billion tourists travelled abroad in 2015, and 191 million of them arrived in the Americas. That’s about a 5% increase year over year according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in its latest World Tourism Barometer.

With more travelers come longer airport lines and more tourists, making it increasingly difficult to find peace and solitude while on vacation. It can be even more challenging to find a quiet vacation destination when traveling during a holiday.

Spring Break for students typically occurs the first two weeks in March and some traditional destinations include Cancun, South Beach and Lake Havasu. For travelers looking to vacation during the popular Spring Break timeframe but want to avoid crowds, there are alternatives. Here are a few suggestions.

Destin – In lieu of Panama City, South Beach or Ft. Lauderdale, try Destin located in Florida’s Panhandle. With its white sand beaches and emerald green waters, Destin offers plenty of activities (golf, water parks, fishing, shopping and dining) to keep vacationers entertained, but in a more remote setting.

Tulum – Looking for a Mexican destination that’s not Cancun or Cabo San Lucas? Try Tulum situated an hour drive south of Playa del Carmen and about a half an hour south of Akumal. White sandy beaches, jungles and Mayan ruins are a few of the attractions this quiet, serene setting offers vacationers.

Treasure Beach – Located on Jamaica’s South Coast, Treasure Beach is six miles long and provides a mix of private coves, coral or black sand beaches and rocky shores. In addition to beach activities (swimming, snorkeling and relaxing), it’s also common to see local fisherman displaying their catch of the day.

Tips Spring Breakers Should Know About Travel Insurance

While some travelers seek alternative destinations, there are still many who will gravitate toward popular Spring Break hot spots. This includes college students looking to experience Spring Break at its fullest.

“For many college-age students, this may be the first time they’ve traveled to a destination without their parents,” said Bob Chambers, travel insurance expert and vice president of operations at CSA Travel Protection. “It’s natural for parents to worry about their kids, and having travel insurance can give valuable peace of mind to both the students and their parents.”

So why buy travel insurance? Chambers added that, “Unfortunate things can happen to anyone while traveling, and even people in their 20s could become injured or ill, lose their passport or luggage, or face travel disruptions from weather events, flight delays, or other unforeseeable events.”

When asked about what travel insurance does and doesn’t cover, Chambers advised, “Policies vary in the coverages and benefits they offer, and the specific events or ‘perils’ covered. Typically, policies cover sickness and injury, weather disruptions, aircraft mechanical problems and terrorist events, to name a few. Also, most policies exclude losses due to drug or alcohol use, and many plans could exclude claims due to high-risk activities such as parasailing, bungee jumping, etc. It’s important to read the policy carefully and understand what is and is not covered.”

“In addition to the valuable insurance coverages, all travel insurance policies include 24-hour assistance services. These services can be invaluable for any traveler, but especially for students traveling on their own. Assistance services can provide help with situations such as making alternate travel arrangements, finding a local doctor, or replacing a lost passport,” Chambers concluded.

Whether college students, families or individuals are traveling during the popular Spring Break time frame, they should not only consider travel insurance from a reputable source, such as CSA Travel Protection, but also prepare for a busier travel experience. The UNWTO predicts worldwide travel will continue to grow in 2016 with Asia, the Pacific and the Americas leading the way. Planning for these scenarios before departing can reduce stress and make for a much more relaxing vacation.

With winter a fleeting memory and the mercury beginning to rise above freezing, March is a beautiful time of year to enjoy the outdoors. For vacationers who are lucky enough to have weeks or a few precious days off, Spring Break is the perfect time to pause, celebrate and refresh.

 

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 0821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions.  Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply.

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.