Long story short: Get the insurance. Or as Laura K. Frazier, founder of Bliss Honeymoons, summed it up: “Unless they are independently wealthy and willing to lose thousands of dollars, they should spend the money and get trip insurance every single time.”
The longer story: I went to travel planners, insurance reps and former honeymooners with your question, and the overwhelming majority came to the same conclusion: This is likely the most expensive trip you’ve ever planned, so travel insurance is essential.
Let’s start with how it’s priced. Steven Benna, the marketing manager for the travel insurance marketplace Squaremouth, says where you’re going isn’t really a factor. What does matter is how long your trip is, how much it costs, how old you are and what you want insured.
There are few different types of travel insurance to consider for your trip:
- A trip cancellation or interruption policy: These plans cover the costs associated with disruptions before or during your trip, such as getting sick or flight cancellations.
- A medical policy: This will cover you for any illness or injury during your trip, plus emergency medical transportation.
- A comprehensive policy: These packages are a one-stop shop to protect your entire honeymoon. These bundles can include coverage for trip cancellations, travel delays, medical emergencies, lost luggage and more. Expect to pay between 5 and 10 percent of the trip cost for these.
- A policy through your credit card: If you booked your trip with a credit card, you may already have some coverage for things like trip interruption, evacuations and lost luggage.
- A “cancel for any reason” policy: An expensive add-on so you can cancel your trip beyond those covered reasons.
If costly parts of your trip are nonrefundable, I’d go with a comprehensive package to protect your investment from the many surprises that could unfold. I heard stories from the travel planners about their unlucky honeymooners. Some were simple, like flights being canceled, throwing itineraries out of whack. Then there were burst appendixes, emergency rehab and deaths in the family. Worse yet, “we had two different couples call off their wedding last year because they broke up,” Frazier said.
If you don’t go for a comprehensive package, at minimum, you’ll want a medical policy. It won’t cover you, however, if you get sick before your trip. Daniel Durazo, director of external communications at Allianz Partners USA, says many Americans are surprised to find they aren’t covered by their personal health insurance when they go abroad. “So if you get sick or injured in Mozambique, you’re going to have to pay for that out of your pocket,” he said. “And you probably won’t be reimbursed by your domestic health insurance company.”
If you’re curious what other travelers have done, the honeymooners I surveyed had mixed feedback. Most said they bought insurance because the trip was too expensive to risk. A handful were very relieved they did, like the couple who got covid and had to postpone, or the spouse who was struck in the head by a falling rock on their trip and needed stitches. Others made sure to book an itinerary that could be refunded. Some said they skipped buying a policy and relied on their credit card’s travel insurance coverage.
Esther Klijn, an adviser with Cire Travel, notes that travel insurance isn’t a perfect safety net and doesn’t cover everything. For example, you’ll need a special policy if you’re partaking in adventure sports like bungee jumping. Most insurers won’t approve your claim if an accident happens while you’re under the influence. And with general trip cancellation policies, you can’t skip the trip for fear of something bad happening. That’s when you’d need a “cancel for any reason” policy, which still only get you a percentage of your money back.
For some of those concerns, you can get an additional “cancel for any reason” policy that will give you more flexibility. However, “it does typically increase the policy’s premium by about 50 percent,” Benna said.
Go into your travel insurance shopping with an idea of what exactly you want covered and read the fine print. As for who to go to, travel advisers say it depends on the trip. But adviser Marisa DeSalvio said Travelex is a favorite for their strong customer service, and Piper Fenton of Remarkable Honeymoons has sworn by Allianz for the last seven years.
If you’re getting sticker shock, I have two words for you: wedding registry. Whether you add a policy as its own line item or factor it in to your budget from the honeyfund, crowdsource the cost from your loved ones.
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