International travel insurance is a type of insurance that may be purchased prior to an international trip. It generally serves two purposes, but each policy may be different, so it is important to read the policy thoroughly before purchasing it. In general, international travel insurance will cover the cost of the trip if it needs to be canceled for any reason, as well as medical expenses if they are incurred while traveling. Travel insurance exists for domestic trips as well; it does not necessarily need to be international travel.
Not every international travel insurance plan will offer medical benefits, and the ones that do will often have numerous restrictions. Many people purchase this type of insurance anyway, determining that it is better than nothing when traveling, or that it can help to supplement an existing insurance plan. If an accident or illness occurs while traveling, it can be helpful to have this extra travel insurance to prevent getting sizable bills in the mail for any medical treatment. In most cases, international travel insurance is used to cover the costs of the trip if it must be canceled prior to the start of the trip; typically, this will cover cancellations up to approximately 24 hours before the trip begins.
The price of the international travel insurance will typically be a percentage based on the cost of the trip, so it will often get progressively more expensive as the trip does. Some tour companies or travel companies sell their own insurance to correspond to the trips they offer, while others may be purchased independently. In some cases, if it is necessary to cancel the trip, one will need to provide necessary documentation such as a statement from a doctor; other insurance plans will allow the trip to be canceled for any reason without needing documentation.
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If the trip is canceled, the travel insurance company will typically refund a percentage or even all of the original amount paid for the trip, minus the amount that was paid for the insurance. This can include airfare, hotel reservations, or any other items that were booked as part of the trip. Even though it may be expensive to purchase international travel insurance, many people feel that it is worth it to protect the investment in the vacation, and to ensure they will be able to go on the trip at some point, even if it needs to be postponed.