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The Travel Insurance You Need for a Multi-Destination Vacation

More stops means more chances for things to go wrong. Here's why you should consider travel insurance when taking your big trip.

Multi Destination Insurance Anete Lusina/Unsplash

Planning a vacation that involves travel to multiple destinations can be a great way to save on expenses. By visiting several destinations on one trip, you can consolidate costs—plus you get to see multiple fascinating places.

Best of all, there are multi-destination travel insurance policies specifically designed to cover trips where you’re visiting a bunch of different locals. Whether you book a multi-leg vacation on your own or use a tour operator, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll be pre-paying significant non-refundable deposits.

A comprehensive travel insurance policy can provide a safety net for unplanned situations, giving you the peace of mind you want and need to enjoy all your travel destinations.

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Trip Cancellation Policies for Multi-Destination Travel Insurance

Let’s say you’re planning a European vacation with multiple cities on your itinerary. But a few days before departure, your mother passes away, forcing you to cancel your trip. A multi-destination travel insurance policy should cover some or all of your losses. The right policy can reimburse pre-paid, forfeited, non-refundable trip expenses due to your family loss.

“Multi-destination trips can present a number of challenges—that’s why travel insurance is a good contingency plan,” says Lisa Cheng, spokesperson with World Nomads, a travel insurance carrier. “If you’re booking a package or have a lot of upfront payments, trip cancellation could be a crucial component of your travel insurance.”

Other reasons covered under a multi-destination travel insurance policy may include illness or injury to you, a travel companion or an immediate family member; military deployment; sudden job loss; severe weather; a serious family emergency; even civil unrest or acts of terrorism.

It’s important to understand that there are reasons for cancelling your trip that won’t likely be covered by a standard policy. If you and your travelling companion have a nasty fight before your trip, for example, that’s not a covered reason under most standard multi-destination travel insurance policies.

Cancel-for-any-reason Coverage

If you want maximum flexibility for your vacation, it’s a good idea to add cancel-for-any-reason coverage to your standard multi-destination travel insurance policy. This upgrade will bump your policy price up approximately 40 percent, but it can offer you a lot more latitude to cancel travel plans.

Cancel-for-any-reason coverage has caveats. Generally you have to cancel your trip no later than 48 hours before your scheduled departure, and not all travel insurance carriers offer this kind of coverage. But as long as you meet the requirements of your policy, you should be reimbursed for about 75 percent of your trip costs should you cancel.

Trip Delay Coverage

When unforeseen issues put a hiccup in your itinerary, your multi-destination travel insurance policy can protect you. “With numerous stops on your itinerary, you’re likely to be spending more time in transit. That’s where trip delay coverage can lend a hand if you get into a pinch,” says Cheng.

If you have a connecting flight from Philadelphia to London then to Barcelona, and the latter leg is cancelled due to unrelenting fog, multi-destination travel insurance may provide reimbursement for expenses like a hotel room, personal necessities and meals.

Most travel insurance policies have waiting period requirements of three to 12 hours before your policy benefits kick in. Check your multi-destination travel insurance policy for details.

Trip Interruption Coverage

If you need to cut your trip short and return home unexpectedly, a multi-destination travel policy could be your saving grace. Covered reasons generally include accidental injury or falling ill during your trip, or a family emergency back home, or even civil unrest.

If your sister was watching your toddler while you travelled to South America to celebrate a promotion, for instance, and your child was hospitalized, your policy would cover a last-minute flight home, plus any prepaid expenses forfeited due to your early departure.

Multi-Destination Travel Insurance Medical Coverage

When traveling abroad, you should consider a multi-destination travel insurance plan with medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation. That’s because very few health insurance plans provide coverage outside of the United States. And seniors should know that Medicare generally is not accepted outside the U.S.

If you’re strolling the wide boulevards of Paris and break your ankle on an uneven sidewalk, your travel insurance plan can cover medical expenses like doctor visits, imaging, hospitalization and medicine. Without medical expense coverage, you’d be responsible for any costs.

Emergency medical evacuation is another key addition. Should you be in a remote part of Italy learning to make pasta by hand and have an allergic reaction to the secret ingredients, your travel insurance carrier can coordinate an air ambulance to transport you to the closest medical facility.

“It’s not just the insurance policy itself that can help—the emergency assistance provider can be supportive and even lifesaving,” adds Cheng. “No matter what destination you’re visiting, emergency assistance can help you locate the medical facilities you need and support you in navigating the administrative side of getting treatment or being in a hospital.”

Multi-Destination Travel Insurance Covers Baggage

When you visit multiple destinations on one trip, you’ll be shuffling your baggage from place to place. The right multi-destination travel insurance plan provides benefits to protect your baggage and personal belongings.

If your bags take a special detour to Bruges and you’re waiting for them in Amsterdam, for example, your policy can cover the purchase of new clothes and toiletries to tide you over until your bags get to Amsterdam. And if your luggage is entirely lost, you can file a claim for reimbursement.

Just be sure to read the fine print of your travel insurance policy. Often there are per-item maximum coverages, exclusions like expensive jewelry and watches, and cash is not reimbursable. You may get depreciated value for your belongings—if your iPad model dates back to 2012, you won’t be given the value of a new tablet.

Your policy also protects personal belongings like your cellphone, clothing, electronics like portable translators, eye glasses, and your handbag. If you are the victim of a pick-pocket while chasing the Royals in London, be sure to file a report with the local authorities, your tour operator or your hotel manager. You will need this documentation when you file your claim.

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Travel Tips for a Multi-Destination Vacation

Stay safe as you vent your pent-up wanderlust travelling from city to city. Here are seven tips for multi-destination trips:

  • Don’t place valuables in checked luggage: Be strategic when you pack and keep essentials like medicines, travel documents, your passport, keys, your computer and your wallet in your handbag or carry-on and bring it on board with you.
  • Don’t draw attention as a tourist: Refrain from wearing flashy jewelry, announcing you’re a tourist, or toting designer accessories on city tours. This invites thieves.
  • Don’t bring irreplaceable or very pricey items: It’s better to leave expensive belongings at home. If you do wish to travel with your jewelry, be sure to lock valuables in your hotel safe or cruise stateroom.
  • Use tracking devices: This trick could assist with the whereabouts of your baggage should it get misdirected during your trip. Also, Cheng says you can also turn on the location tracker of your phone, tablet or other electronic equipment.
  • Make sure luggage is properly identified: “Be sure to put identifying information in the inside of your suitcase in case the luggage tag on the outside of your bag falls off,” says Cheng. “This way, your luggage will more likely find itself back to you.”
  • Try to be a better packer: By bringing less with you, you reduce the chance of losing your possessions. Packing lighter is better for your back and your pocketbook.
  • Be organized with paperwork: If you do experience delays, interruptions, medical issues or loss of luggage or personal effects, be sure to keep any receipts, reports, documents and paperwork you acquire along the way. When you file claims with your insurance carrier, this important documentation.

Erica Lamberg is a personal finance and travel writer based in suburban Philadelphia. She is a regular contributor to USA Today and her writing credits include NBC News, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, Oprah Magazine and Creditcards.com

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