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When you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy, it usually comes with benefits that go beyond simply protecting the money you’ve invested in your vacation. Not only can a comprehensive travel insurance plan provide coverage for medical problems, travel delay, lost baggage and more, but a travel insurance policy also usually comes with access to a customer service team.
“Most US travel insurance plans offer 24-hour assistance and that includes help with requests as urgent as medical emergencies or travel disruptions, to non-emergency concierge assistance,” says Carol Mueller, spokesperson with Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.
These 24/7 travel assistance hotlines can help with other problems such as losing a passport, needing a doctor referral and language translation.
Some travel insurance plans provide an additional valuable perk: Concierge services.
“For example, you can call for assistance in securing things like theater or museum tickets, restaurant reservations, suggestions on things to do or see—think of it as a virtual concierge similar to what you have access to in a hotel concierge,” says Mueller.
Here are some services you may have access to if you buy a travel insurance plan that includes concierge service:
- Tickets for the theater, opera, ballet or other entertainment
- Restaurant reservations
- Hotel reservations
- Referrals for transportation such as a limousine
- Floral services
- Luxury rental information such as charter planes and villas
- Referrals for gift arrangement services such as shopping, wrapping and delivery
- Golf course information, tee times and reservations
- Ski reports
- Local cultural information
- World weather
- Roadside assistance such as towing and fuel delivery
“These services can range from ‘nice-to-have’ options, such as a restaurant recommendation, city guide or event tickets, to assisting a traveler whose trip has been inconvenienced due to an unexpected issue while traveling,” says Megan Moncrief, spokesperson with Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider.
You have many choices when you’re buying a travel insurance policy. Here’s a partial list of plans that provide concierge service:
- AIG Travel Guard Deluxe and Preferred
- AXA Assistance USA Silver, Gold and Platinum
- Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection ExactCare and LuxuryCare
- GoReady VIP plan
- Generali Global Assistance Premium and Preferred
- Tin Leg Standard and Luxury
Getting the Basics Right
Comprehensive travel insurance plans provide a solid foundation of coverage types that can prove valuable. Even if concierge service is a must for your vacation, look for a plan with good:
Travel medical insurance coverage. This type of coverage can pay for doctor visits, ambulance service, X-rays, prescriptions and other medical costs. You should consider this especially if you are traveling abroad where your U.S. health plan may have limited coverage and Medicare is likely not accepted. If you want a superior level of coverage, look for a plan with $500,000 for medical expenses.
Medical evacuation insurance coverage. This is particularly smart to have if you’re traveling to a remote area where the quality of medical facilities is uneven. It pays to get you to the nearest adequate hospital based on your condition. Top-notch coverage for medical evacuation is usually $1 million.
Trip interruption coverage. If you have to return home early, this coverage type pays out for the unused part of your trip that’s non-refundable and the extra costs to get you home, such as a one-way plane ticket. The reason for the trip interruption has to be listed in the policy and could include problems such as a family emergency back home or being required to return to work. The standard level of coverage is 150 percent of the trip costs you insure.
Travel delay coverage. The costs of being stuck somewhere during a delay, such as a weather delay, can really add up. A hotel room, transportation, food and essentials such as toiletries can be covered under travel delay insurance. Look for both a high level of coverage and a short delay time required for a claim. For example, Seven Corners’ RoundTrip Choice plan covers up to $2,000 per person (with a $250 daily limit) after only a six-hour delay.
Baggage delay and baggage loss. If your bags take a detour without you, you can make a claim for extra expenses under baggage delay coverage. For example, maybe you need to buy a swimsuit and toiletries while you wait for your luggage. If your bags never arrive, or arrive damaged, you can make a claim under baggage loss.
Remember, even if your travel insurance plan doesn’t have concierge service, it likely has a 24/7 assistance line that you can use if you run into travel trouble.
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.