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Uncertain Times Driving Up Demand Of Trip And Health Travel Insurance

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Americans are on the move, traveling, despite the pandemic, by air and by cruise ship. Many of the trips are high-priced vacations.

Kyle Bruening from CruiseFinders, a Broward County travel agency says "health Insurance is only a part of travel protection insurance."

Health insurance and travel insurance may be the last thing on your mind when you are dreaming of that deserted beach in the Bahamas, but more and more travelers are requesting their travel agents hook them up with travel insurance.

"Travel insurance is always a good idea anytime you go out the county regardless of a global pandemic being in play or not," said travel agent Kelly Lord.

Lord, who runs the "Vacation Ever After" travel agency, says the pandemic has driven up the demand for travel and health insurance in the uncertain world of travel where flights and cruises are interrupted, canceled and travelers are getting sick.

"You can definitely have travel insurance to cover cancellation, interruption, any kind of medical. Medical evacuation is where it gets expensive," Lord told CBS4.

A basic fact: Most American health insurance policies nor Medicare covers you if issues arise while vacationing outside the U.S. And then there are the cancellations or need to cancel.

"You need to take 'cancel for any reason,' 'CFAR,' insurance out," said Bruening, who sells high-end travel packages.

That type of policy protects your investment in a cruise or overseas vacation.

Travel agents warn without insurance the cruise line will likely not refund you money and if you are sick or injured on board. And what's little known, according to maritime attorney Jim Walker, "The ship board medical treatment sometimes costs the cruise guest money. There is no question, your health insurance does not insure your medical expenses you incur on a cruise ship. It clearly excludes that."

Walker says you really need to talk to an insurance specialist or even a lawyer to make sure you are covered especially if on the trip you are going to be zip lining or scuba diving, which are often excluded in travel insurance packages.

"Insurance companies have many exclusions, limitations, you have to make it clear to your insurance broker that they sell something that covers all the risks," said Walker.

This reminder from a major travel insurance provider: "If you have to pay for a medical evacuation, it can be costly. The average emergency medical evacuation costs can set you back $25,000 within North America and up to $100,000 from Europe.  In more remote locations, a medical air evacuation can cost as much as $250,000."

Rule of thumb experts say is you should expect an adequate insurance plan will cost anywhere from 4%-10% of your trip cost.

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