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Tourism: when should you take out travel insurance?

To travel with peace of mind, a careful examination of your insurance is necessary. Between the protection of your bank card or those of insurers, it is not always easy to navigate. Follow the leader

Before packing your bags, you should take stock of the useful insurance guarantees. It is important to distinguish:
Assistance that provides a service by providing assistance to people in difficulty during a trip (repatriation following illness or injury, vehicle breakdown or accident, etc.);
– Insurance covering compensation in the event of an unforeseen event (cancellation of the trip, theft of luggage, etc.).
Travel agencies, banking networks, insurers … many professionals offer insurance / assistance products. Here’s how to navigate it

Compulsory travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory in some countries to obtain a visa. A certificate is required, in particular to travel to Cuba or Russia

Assistance and travel insurance for bank cards

Bank cards include insurance and / or assistance guarantees applicable during travel. However, they are often overlooked by those who benefit from them. These services are managed by each bank. The amount, scope of guarantees, ceilings and restrictions are therefore different from one institution to another. They only apply to the first three months of travel

The medical assistance service is automatically granted not only to the holder of a bank card, but also to his spouse and his tax-dependent children under 25 years of age. This service generally covers the possibility of repatriation, payment of medical and hospital costs and legal assistance. Be aware, however, that the limits are much lower for standard bank cards than for high-end bank cards: in some cases – for example for medical expenses in North America – they will be largely insufficient. In addition, support takes place only in the event of a prior call to the assistance organization. If you incur medical expenses before notifying the help desk, you will not be compensated

Insurance guarantees are generally very low on conventional bank cards. On the other hand, they are much more interesting on Gold or Premier cards. These guarantees can only apply if you pay for your trip in whole or in part with the card. These guarantees include trip cancellation insurance in the form of a refund of the price paid if the cancellation is due to the death of a family member, hospitalization or an accident before departure. In particular, there are accident cover, breakdown of the rental vehicle, damage to or theft of luggage, civil liability insurance which is particularly useful if you cause damage to third parties, an accidental death and disability benefit, but also assistance in the event of of legal proceedings abroad

Finally, the guarantee of very high-end bank cards includes a financial breakdown, that is to say that we advance you a sum in the event of loss or theft of your bank card, and the provision of a card. provisional bank account in the country where you are staying

Insurance for tour operators

  1. Travel agents and all operators selling trips have a legal obligation to inform customers about the possibility of taking out trip cancellation insurance and / or assistance coverage. We must let you know, but we cannot force you to take it out
  2. This insurance is intended to cover trip cancellation costs for illness, accident, death of a loved one, or for professional reasons. If you have declared health problems in the six months preceding the date you apply for trip cancellation insurance, you may be refused

For the medical assistance component, there is no automatic right to repatriation. A partner doctor of the insurer in the country where you are staying will come and examine you to decide whether to repatriate you. The practitioner may decide that your medical condition or injuries can be treated in the hospital or clinic where you are staying, and find the health facility that will take care of you

For travel cancellation insurance only, count between 1.5% and 3% of the amount of the trip. For example, if you pay $600 for a plane ticket, the cancellation insurance will cost you between $9 and $18 

Practical advice

“Before purchasing travel insurance, the customer must compare with the advantages that he could benefit from with his bank card. It is necessary to check the ceilings (in the event of hospitalization abroad as in the United States where health costs are extremely high), the exclusions (certain bank cards have restrictions as to the length of stays while the specific insurance for long-term trips that we offer via the travel agency cover better), and the conditions of application (such as payment with the card) ”
We advise not to sign an insurance before looking in the general conditions of the contract which has the quality of insured, the field of application of the guarantees, the exclusions, the geographical area of application, the ceilings reimbursement and any deductibles. “Before you leave, write down the references of your insurance contracts and the assistance numbers to call if necessary

Travel insurance from insurers

Instead of purchasing insurance from the travel agency that sells you the ticket or stay, you can purchase your benefits directly from an insurer. From the unique guarantee to the à la carte formula, including the multi-risk travel insurance, there is a range of products so varied that everyone can find something for them. On the program: the travel cancellation guarantee which can cover cancellation costs, the stolen or destroyed luggage guarantee, a civil liability guarantee for damage caused to third parties, individual protection for accidents suffered by the insured and his passengers. And above all medical assistance that will take care of you in the event of a health problem. Legal protection assistance makes it possible to obtain the help of a lawyer on the spot in the event of legal proceedings for an unintentional offense, as well as the advance of the penal bond, a system which consists of asking a person being prosecuted criminally the payment of a sum of money in order to be sure that it will be present during the judgment

The cost of travel insurance taken out with a specialized insurer depends on several parameters: short or long stay, tourism, studies or exercise of a professional activity, and of course the guarantees you wish to benefit from. For example, a simple cancellation insurance costs around 15 to 25 euros. For a contract including more guarantees, it takes between 35 and 150 euros per month

What about travel insurance for your car?

If your car takes the vacation road with you, contact your insurer, before departure, to find out what guarantees and assistance are included in your contract, and if the country of your destination is covered. Check in particular whether you have a defense-recourse or legal protection guarantee so that you can be defended if you are the victim or the author of a traffic accident. You can request an extension of guarantees if those present in your car policy seem insufficient to you