Travel insurance smart idea when on vacation


By Gary Shelton
Wesco Insurance

We just returned from getting some much-needed Vitamin Sea.

I love going to the beach. I love to snorkel. I love to float around in a pool all day until I’m told that I must get out of the water and get ready for dinner. I love meeting new people from all over the world. I work hard all year looking forward to that treasured week in the sun and sand. The one week of the year that I can check out, relax and escape the daily life of insurance and all that goes with it. Or can I?

As I began to plan this trip which included eight people, I was quickly reminded of the many legs of traveling and how quickly the cost can add up. Sleep, Park and Fly in Dallas, airline tickets, transportation from the Cancun airport to the resort and back, all in addition to the cost of the resort. Since we were accompanied on this trip by friends and not our children, I had to plan for eight, but happily only had to pay for two.

I am a big fan of Travel Insurance. There are many options, but the coverage is reasonably priced (we paid $80 per couple) and covers just about anything that would cause us to not be able to go on the trip. If we had to cancel, it would cover my entire cost of the trip.I know this can happen as we had to cancel a cruise in 2010 when my daughter fell and severely fractured her ankle two weeks before our vacation. Her little brother still holds this against her. Getting the cost of the trip back is a nice benefit if you must cancel, but there is something that concerns me more. What if one of us gets extremely ill or severely injured while out of the country?

Travel insurance can provide coverage for emergency medical care while outside the United States. It can also provide coverage for an emergency medical evacuation if necessary.

That’s a good thing. How much do you think a medical emergency flight from Playa Mujeres, Mexico back to the United States would cost? I don’t know the answer, but I know that my travel insurance policy gives up to $250,000 coverage. So, I think it’s safe to assume that it would be expensive, and I don’t want to be stuck with the bill.

My next revelation with regards to traveling in a party of eight was that none of us own a vehicle large enough to transport eight people and their luggage to Dallas to catch our flight.

My first thought was that we must take two vehicles. That’s means gas for two vehicles and paying $40 per day to park two vehicles at the airport for eight days. Well, that added up quickly. Quickly enough to make me investigate the cost of renting a vehicle large enough to haul us all down and then renting a vehicle upon returning to Dallas to get us home.

If we rent a vehicle, the next question most people ask is if it is necessary to purchase the physical damage waiver from the rental company or is my personal insurance policy enough for me to rent the vehicle and save that additional cost? The liability coverage on your personal policy will extend to the rented vehicle inside your policies coverage territory. If you have physical damage (commonly called full coverage) on your personal vehicles, your personal auto policy will cover damage to the rented vehicle, subject to your deductible.

However, if you damage the rental car, your personal policy will likely NOT pay for the lost rental income that the rental company suffers while the vehicle is being repaired and is unavailable to be rented. That could be thousands of dollars if the vehicle is out of commission for several weeks. Do you want to take that risk?

Another reason to spend the extra money and purchase the physical damage waiver from the rental company is simply convenience. If you purchase their coverage and the vehicle is damaged, your time involvement, your out of pocket expenses, and your stress level during the repair process will be significantly reduced or even eliminated. Considering how rarely I rent a vehicle, that seems attractive to me.

If you have any insurance questions, contact Wesco at 354-5201.