Travelers’ Luck is a Dud, Plane Stuck in the Mud

Frequent fliers are familiar with a variety of airline delays:  crews missing flights, mechanical issues, bad weather, etc.  Travel insurance is a staple for savvy travelers used to these types of common carrier issues.  However, not many travelers are expecting a flight delay because their plane got stuck in the mud.

That is exactly what happened to American Airlines passengers in Missouri this week.  Donald Wood on Travel Pulse wrote about flight cancellations after a plane got stuck.

“While all passengers and crew members were able to leave the stranded plane without any injuries, the proximity of the aircraft to the main runway was close enough to warrant flight cancellations through Tuesday morning.”

Delayed Flights

This type of unusual delay is a shining example of how travel insurance can help protect against the unexpected.  Travel Delay coverage can reimburse for a hotel and food during a delay.  If the delay has a domino effect on connecting flights, Missed Connection coverage can reimburse additional transportation costs to catch up to the trip as well as unused land and water arrangements that aren’t refunded.  Each plan will require the delay last for set number of hours for coverage to apply, and will have a dollar limit of coverage.  Always refer to your specific plan certificate for coverage details.

Coverage language for these benefits is usually very broad to include all common carrier caused delays, even when the airline proves to be… eh em… “a stick in the mud.”

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Sometimes Travel Insurance Is Mandatory

Holding a suitcase by the handle.

Travel insurance is something many travelers consider, whether working with an agent or booking a trip on their own.  Often, this is a choice and not a requirement.  However, as Peter Greenberg wrote on petergreenberg.com, there are some countries that require medical travel insurance:

“Medical coverage when you travel is one of those things you don’t miss until you absolutely need it. But sometimes, it’s not just a good idea…it’s actually mandatory.”

“If you’re applying for a visa to Russia, you may be asked to supply proof of medical travel insurance that’s valid in that country.”

Having travel medical insurance when traveling abroad is a sound idea anyway, as many domestic health insurance plans don’t cover internationally. MH Ross travel insurance plans include emergency medical coverage that can pick up expenses not covered by their health insurance, including deductibles and copayments.  Medical evacuation coverage is also included, something that is often omitted from traditional health insurance plans.

Make sure to research your destination thoroughly before making a decision.  If a destination requires tourists to have medical coverage, there is usually a specified amount of coverage required.  Knowing what is required will help you find the best value for travel insurance.

Our agents are happy to help find the right travel insurance plan for you, 24 hours a day.  Please call us at 800-423-3632 for assistance with a quote, or with any questions.

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How To Pack and Protect Your Electronics

How to Pack Your Electronics | MHRoss.com

Electronics are essential items to add to your packing list. From laptops to tablets and everything in between, these items keep you entertained and help you capture extraordinary moments during your travels. Here’s how you should pack each of your valuable electronics and an extra tip on how travel insurance can help:

Laptop
Laptops are great for blogging, keeping in touch with friends and family back home, entertainment, and organizing your travels. To make sure your laptop is protected, keep it in a case inside your carry-on. We love these Case Logic sleeves, which make it easy to transfer your laptop between bags. If you’re traveling with small children, consider getting a diaper bag which doubles as a messenger bag – like this one from Timbuk2.

Tablet
If a laptop would weigh you down too much, a tablet is a good alternative. Tablets serve as a more compact way to access the Internet, keep you entertained, and keep in touch with friends and family. Make sure your tablet is in a case too. OtterBox has covers for both Kindles and iPads that stand up so you can watch movies or read easily.

Chargers
Chargers are a necessity when it comes to electronics, but their cords can get easily tangled in your luggage. You can avoid this annoyance by keeping your chargers and small electronics in a small pouch. If you wrap these gear ties around each charger, you’re sure to stay tangle-free. Portable battery chargers are also helpful while traveling, and you won’t have to worry about tangled cords.

Camera
Whether you’re packing a sophisticated DSLR camera or a point and shoot, it’s important to keep your camera protected. This Lowepro camera bag provides good protection and won’t take up too much space in your luggage. Also make sure to include a lens cloth so you can clean off any dirt or grime your camera collects during your travels.

Added Protection
Travel insurance can provide coverage to protect you and your electronics against theft, baggage delay and other unforeseeable mishaps. Consider including the optional Extended Personal Property Pac, which provides coverage up to $1,000 after a $100 deductible for personal computer and cell phones.

Do you have helpful tips for traveling with electronics? Sound off below with your advice.

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Tourism in Nepal More Important Than Ever

MH Ross Logo

Tourism Cares Logo

The earthquake in Nepal has been devastating.  Loss of life and property has been extreme, and the situation is ongoing.

Relief and aid during such an emergency is critical.  Those traveling and in need of help should contact their travel insurance 24 hour emergency assistance number.  Emergency assistance can help coordinate evacuations, medical treatment, and other travel related services.

Emergency relief is essential now, but the recovery of Nepal’s economy is also important.  Trip Mate and Tourism Cares emphasize Nepal’s long term healing in the article Tourism in Nepal More Important Than Ever.

Trip Mate is a strategic partner with Tourism Cares, a non-profit organization dedicated to philanthropy in travel.  Preserving and restoring destinations around the world is a noble effort for tourists and locals alike.

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Bothered by a Bevy of Baggage Blunders

Travelers through Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport had their patience tested this week.  Bad weather in the region caused many flights to be delayed, diverted, or cancelled.  Travel insurance can help alleviate some of the stress and financial impact accompanied by these types of situations, but as Bill Spencer wrote for WWLP.com in Houston, fliers were frustrated by delayed baggage.

“Brian Townsend and his girlfriend said it was frightening as groups of frustrated passengers began yelling at each other and verbal fights broke out. He said he waited for four hours.”

Luggage Lined Up Without Owners

In addition to bad weather, the airport cited too many international flights arriving at the same time as one of the causes of the baggage problems.  Though travel insurance will not get your bags from the airline any faster, MH Ross plans have several solutions for when something like this happens.

Baggage delay coverage is intended for just such an occurrence.  When the airline is late with your luggage, baggage delay coverage can reimburse you for the purchase of necessary items while you are without your bags.  Always check your policy certificate for specifics, the delay will be required to last a certain number of hours, and there will be a dollar limit of coverage.

If the airline completely loses your luggage, or it is damaged, the baggage and personal effects coverage can help.  Similar to homeowner’s or renters insurance, travelers can make a claim for the items that are lost or damaged.  Again, it is wise to review your policy to see what items are eligible for coverage and what limits apply.

It can be exasperating to have your travel plans go awry, but protecting your trip with travel insurance can help minimize the impact.  If you have any questions or would like help with a travel insurance quote, please contact us.  MH Ross agents are available by phone 24 hours per day at 800-423-3632 and are eager to help.

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Statement About the Earthquake in Nepal

A massive earthquake occurred in Nepal on Saturday, April 26th 2015, leaving thousands dead and more injured.

Anyone currently traveling and in need of assistance should call the 24 hour emergency assistance number at 603-894-4710.  This is a collect call from anywhere in the world and available at all times.

This earthquake can be covered by MH Ross travel insurance policies purchased on or before April 25th 2015.

An earthquake is considered a natural disaster.  Travelers should check their specific policy certificate to review coverage in the following categories:

  • Emergency Medical Expenses
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation
  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption
  • Missed Connection
  • Trip Delay

Always refer to the certificate for your particular policy to see what specific coverages may be available.

Please contact MH Ross with any questions at 800-423-3632.  Our agents are available 24 hours per day and are happy to help.

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Flyers’ Frustrations Fester from Failures Fulfilling Flights

The excitement of taking a vacation can be dampened by a bad experience with your airline.  Many travelers dread the possibility of delayed flights, missed connections, and an unplanned overnight stay at the airport.  Worse, your bags may be enjoying the sun at your tropical destination even though you are still waiting at the gate.  While it won’t make the plane arrive on time, travel insurance can help alleviate frustrations by reimbursing expenses during the delay, extra costs to catch up to your trip, and essentials that were in your checked luggage.

Airlines are often characterized by their lack of punctuality and empathy.  As Phil Lebeau wrote for NBC News, flyer complaints increased this year.

“Overall, the Airline Quality Rating has dropped to its lowest level since 2008.

Besides a spike in complaints about airline service, the AQR also found:

  • On-time arrivals dropped 2 percent
  • A slight increase in the percentage of passengers bumped from flights
  • Mishandled baggage climbed 11 percent”

Airport Delays Frustrating Passengers

Airlines already have the daunting task of keeping flights on schedule, and this past winter’s severe weather did not help their cause.  The next time your flight is delayed, check your travel insurance policy for several coverage benefits.

Trip Delay: This means you’ve been delayed for 6 hours or more and are now incurring unexpected costs.  Trip Delay can reimburse the expenses for taxi, hotel, and food during the delay.

Baggage Delay: When you’ve been without your checked luggage for 12 hours or more, this coverage reimburses you for essential items.  This can include a change of clothes, toiletries, etc.

Missed Connection: This helps when a delay has a cascading impact on your trip.  If you are delayed 3 hours or more and this causes you to miss another scheduled departure of your trip, Missed Connection coverage can reimburse the additional transportation costs for you to catch up to the trip, as well as unused trip costs that aren’t refunded.

Trip Interruption: Trip Interruption is similar to Missed Connection coverage in that additional transportation costs to rejoin the trip and trip expenses that were unused and non-refundable can be reimbursed.  The main distinction is that Missed Connection has a lower time requirement for the delay, and a pre-determined dollar limit of coverage.  Trip Interruption requires a 12 hour delay due to weather or strike, so it helps during a more substantial flight delay.  Also, the amount of coverage is based on the trip cost you insured, which is usually more than the set amount allocated for Missed Connection coverage.

For travelers still in the planning stages, compare travel insurance plans closely to make sure your concerns are adequately covered.  It is important to understand the dollar amounts of coverage and the requirements for how long a delay must last in order to find the right policy at the best value.

Want help selecting a travel insurance plan?  Please call us.  MH Ross agents are available by phone 24/7 and are happy to answer your questions.

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Considering Travel Insurance? Consult a U.S. Passport

U.S. Passport and Travel Documents

Changes to health care laws are having a large impact on domestic health insurance, but there are deeper implications for international travelers.  When planning a trip abroad, it is important to know whether your current health insurance will cover you during the trip in order to determine how much travel insurance coverage is appropriate.  This advice is even written into the “IMPORTANT INFORMATION” section of U.S. passports:

“3. HEALTH INSURANCE  Medicare/Medicaid does not cover healthcare costs outside the U.S.  Does your insurance apply overseas, including medical evacuation, payment to a hospital or doctor overseas, or reimbursement to you later?”

Understanding how you are covered for medical emergencies abroad with your existing insurance is a key step to finding the right travel insurance plan.  Travelers who already have medical coverage during the trip may save money by choosing travel insurance with a lower medical limit.  Conversely, knowing there is no international coverage will help you evaluate different plans’ coverage and price to find the best value.  As the U.S. passport information site warned, Medicare/Medicaid does not cover outside the U.S., making travel insurance with emergency medical coverage imperative for travelers using those medical programs.

Even if your domestic health insurance has adequate coverage, travel insurance can still reimburse deductibles, copayments, and additional out of pocket expenses.

Perhaps the most important consideration is whether an emergency medical evacuation is covered.  Helicopter airlifts and medical jets in a foreign country can often be omitted from traditional health insurance plans.  These services cost multiple thousands of dollars, sometimes in excess of $100k.  A medical evacuation can have a dire financial impact for a traveler without proper insurance.

If you have any questions about travel medical insurance, or would like help finding the right plan for you, please call us.  We are available 24 hours per day and happy to help.

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When Your Upcoming Safari Is the Site of Recent Terrorism

Sun Setting on African Safari

You’ve planned and saved for a vacation of a lifetime taking a safari tour through several African nations.  The departure date is nearing, and you’ve just read news about a terrorist attack where you plan to travel.  Should you still take the trip?  What are your options?  It is recommended that you check your travel insurance policy to see if you are covered to cancel.

MH Ross policies include Trip Cancellation coverage.  This can reimburse the unused expenses of your trip that are not refunded if you have to cancel due to a covered reason in the policy.  The covered reasons include situations that are unforeseen and out of your control.  Most policies include a covered reason for a terrorist attack.  This means there was a terrorist attack in a city on your itinerary within 30 days of your departure.

If you have a trip to Kenya scheduled soon, you may have coverage under Trip Cancellation.  Josh Levs and Holly Yan wrote for CNN about the terror attack in Kenya.

“A total of 147 people were killed Thursday, according to the official Twitter account of Kenya’s National Disaster Operation Centre and Kenyan media reports. The agency also said 79 people were injured and 587 people were evacuated.”

The attack occurred on April 2nd, 2015.  If you purchased your prior to that date, and your itinerary included Garissa, Trip Cancellation coverage may be available for this incident.

Of course, if you experience a situation like this during your trip, you should call the local authorities, then the policy emergency assistance number as soon as possible.  The emergency assistance provider will work with local authorities to make sure you receive the necessary transportation and treatment.

For those of you still in the travel planning stages and concerned about future attacks, consider a policy with Cancel For Any Reason coverage.  This reimburses you a portion of your loss, and you don’t have to explain the reason for canceling the trip, even if that reason is concern about possible future attacks.  To qualify for this coverage, shop early for the travel insurance, since this benefit is only available for 15 days from when the first trip payment was made.  Make sure to insure the full trip cost, and remember the last opportunity to use Cancel For Any Reason is at least two days before the trip.

If you aren’t sure whether to buy a policy or want to file a claim, please contact MH Ross customer service.  Agents are available 24 hours a day and are happy to answer your questions.

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How To Plan The Perfect Honeymoon

How To Plan The Perfect Honeymoon

You’ve booked your caterer and florist, but what about plane tickets? One of the highlights of wedding planning is the honeymoon. It’s a chance to get away and celebrate with your new spouse. Whether you’re planning a getaway to dig your toes into the sand or tour museums and ancient ruins to learn about a different culture, a honeymoon should be a blissful, post-nuptial escape. Consider these helpful tips including how registering for your honeymoon and travel insurance can keep the planning process enjoyable and stress-free:

Talk it out. Does your significant other like adventure travel, while you have your heart set on a tropical honeymoon? Compromise plays a big part in any successful marriage, and your honeymoon is the perfect opportunity to work on compromising. Be upfront and honest about your ideal honeymoon. Once you and your partner have discussed your expectations, do your best to find a destination that suits both of you.

Plan ahead. Why add to the stress of wedding planning by worrying about planning your honeymoon at the last minute? Getting a head start on your honeymoon plans allows you time to budget and get any necessary documents. Planning ahead also allows you to secure that “one-of-a-kind” room or experience that many resorts offer to make your honeymoon extraordinary.

Register for it. Wouldn’t you rather have your ideal honeymoon instead of another gravy boat? Honeymoon registry sites like Honeyfund and Wanderable give your wedding guests the opportunity to help you with the cost of your honeymoon in lieu of a traditional gift.

Stay organized. It’s important to keep all of your travel information – flight details, hotel reservations, rental car confirmations, etc. – in one place so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of other wedding details. Consider leaving a copy of your travel information with a friend or family member too. It’s always a good idea to have at least one person know exactly where you’ll be staying.

Don’t rush. Don’t book your flights to leave the morning after your wedding. Make sure you have plenty of time to spend with friends, family and your new spouse (okay, and get some sleep), and leave a couple of days after your wedding.

Travel smart. Most people think, I don’t need travel insurance, this is my honeymoon and I will never cancel. There are thousands of circumstances that cause you to cancel your trip, return home early or require you or your partner to seek emergency medical treatment while traveling. Our travel insurance plans also provide 24/7 worldwide assistance services that can help you with everything from restaurant referrals to help rebooking hotels and flights to coordinating emergency medical care.

Share the good news. According to Shermain Rorigues, Concierge Supervisor at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, you should let the hotel staff know at the time of reservation that you’re celebrating your honeymoon to take advantage of the many courtesies hotels offer for guests traveling on their honeymoon.

What is your advice for planning the perfect honeymoon? Leave your tips in the comment section below.

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