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But “it wasn’t just the cost,” Mary said. “The really important thing is that the travel insurance arranged for everything. They had our visas extended. They arranged for the medical care, for the surgery, for the ambulances, for the airplanes. They stayed in touch with us every day; checked to see how we were doing, and also called our family back home.”
Most travel or trip insurance policies have bundled together three basic coverages to:
• Reimburse you if your trip is canceled, interrupted or delayed because of an illness or severe weather, plus reimburse you for costs related to lost or delayed baggage;
• Provide you with medical insurance, even medical evacuation, in case you become ill or are injured while traveling;
• Offer a 24-hour help line to aid in arranging for doctors, special housing or a change in travel plans due to a medical emergency; plus help contacting your family at home.
It also can include coverage for rental cars and life insurance or coverage for loss of a limb during your trip.
About half of all Americans who took a cruise, tour or international leisure air trip in 2005 purchased a per-trip insurance policy, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, which represents 41 companies in the travel insurance industry.
That’s a significant increase from the estimated 8% to 10% of travelers who purchased travel insurance before Sept. 11. Americans traveling on leisure trips spent more than $1.3 billion on travel insurance in 2006, representing a growth of 20% over 2004.
Insurance Can Cover:
• Going home early because of a family illness.
• A hotel room needed because of bad weather caused by a flight delay.
• You have to cancel a trip because your home is flooded.
• You can’t get home because of a hurricane at your vacation spot.
• Your baggage is lost.
• You need medical assistance in another country.
• You have a car accident in a foreign country and need legal assistance.
Source: U.S. Travel Insurance Association

What Your Insurance Policy May Not Cover:
• Flight delays due to bad weather
• Canceled trip because of work
• Canceled because of terrorism fears
• Sports-related injuries
• Tour operator goes bankrupt
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