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Travel Tips
Eight Things Clients Should Know About Buying Travel Insurance

The US Travel Insurance Association has formulated an 8-point checklist to help agents guide their clients in making informed decisions about travel insurance.

“UStiA is issuing the checklist in light of a Florida Department of Financial Services warning to travel agents that any travel insurance sold must be underwritten by an insurance company fully licensed in the state,” says Mike Ambrose, UStiA's immediate past president. “It’s important to remember that companies providing travel insurance products, as well as sellers of travel insurance must be licensed by the state in which business is conducted. ”

Client Tips

UStiA – whose mission is to foster high standards of ethical conduct and business practices – offers these eight consumer-wise hints to help with your travel insurance decision.
  • Know the company that is underwriting the policy. Ask for the name of the insurance company underwriting the policy. All legitimate policies must identify the insurance company.
  • If you are not familiar with the company providing your travel insurance, do a little research. Visit the company website. Check the credentials of the company’s insurer through A.M. Best (www.ambest.com), an international insurance rating agency; or the Better Business Bureau. Also check for membership in the US Travel Insurance Association (www.ustia.org). The Web site carries a list of member companies, each of whom adheres to strict legal and ethical standards.
  • Buy from a reputable source such as a travel agent belonging to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), or from a reputable cruise line, tour operator, airline, Internet site, insurance broker or directly from the travel insurance provider.
  • Assess your needs. Will you need medical protection, financial reimbursement in case you have to cancel your trip or a family member becomes ill, financial reimbursement in case your trip is delayed because of bad weather? Ask yourself what possible scenarios could develop to derail your travel plans.
  • Know if you have other coverage. When you travel, don’t assume that you have the coverage you need from your credit cards, homeowners insurance, airlines, or other sources. While these sources may offer limited coverage for some travel scenarios, only comprehensive travel insurance offers full protection under a single umbrella.
  • Know the difference between “Travel Protection,” a travel waiver, and travel insurance:
  • A Travel Waiver will usually give you a future credit with the same travel supplier for a missed vacation or cruise but will not financially reimburse you.
  • “Travel Protection” may not be the same as travel insurance. While the term “Travel Protection” has been used by some unscrupulous companies, many legitimate companies also use it to describe travel insurance.
  • Travel insurance must be underwritten by a legitimate insurance company and is regulated by the state in which it is sold.
  • Know what the policy includes. Always do your homework and read the policy carefully so you know what is and is not included. Most companies provide a customer service number for questions and answers, and also provide a grace period for cancellation.
  • Keep all appropriate paperwork/documentation. When traveling, keep records and save all receipts in case you have to file a claim for travel delay, medical treatment, lost luggage, or any of other unforeseen situations.
“UStiA, has taken and will continue to take a strong, proactive role in ensuring that industry standards are met, including reaching out to state agencies for assistance and to travel insurance sellers concerning licensing and liability issues,” says UStiA president Mike Ambrose.
Travel agents can download a copy of UStiA’s “8 Things to Know About Travel Insurance,” by visiting www.ustia.org

About UStiA
UStiA promotes fairness, integrity and a commitment to excellence in the travel insurance industry. With a mission to educate the public on travel and vacation rental insurance while maintaining high industry standards, UStiA is a non-profit association of insurance carriers and allied businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and assistance.
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