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Good job on trying to decide whether to buy travel insurance for your upcoming Alaska vacation! This trip you are about to embark upon is not your typical annual week-long vacation. Whether you are staying in a hotel in Anchorage or hiking the peaks in Valdez, it is a significant investment. It may be the only time in your entire life you will get a chance to hang out in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Although we will work hard on this site to save you as much money as possible on your Alaska vacation, chances are you will still spend between $4,000 and $10,000 per person if you are planning to make the most of this trip.
I am a penny pincher, and normally I wouldn’t recommend spending money on travel insurance, but this is a big trip. And it has a big price tag. So, I am going to step outside of my box and recommend that you protect that investment with a good travel insurance plan.
What is Travel Insurance?
That’s the very best question to start with when considering travel insurance for your Alaska vacation. Generally, travel insurance covers four major events related to your vacation. So, let’s run down a bullet list of what most travel insurance covers.
- Trip Cancellation
- Travel Delay
- Medical Emergencies
- Lost or Delayed Luggage
1. Trip Cancellation
The number one fear as people plan to take a large vacation is that some circumstance will lead to a trip cancellation and the financial investment will be lost. This is a rational concern.
Travel insurance generally covers most forms of trip cancellation. The good news is that if you purchase a quality insurance plan, 100% of your trip can be refunded in most cases.
Common Cancellation Coverages of Alaska Vacation Travel Insurance
- Injury or illiness of you, a traveling companion, or a family member.
- Death of you, a traveling companion, or a family member.
- Severe weather that may prevent you from reaching your destination.
- An attack by terrorists at your travel destination.
You may also be covered for trip interruption. If your plan doesn’t include it, you can often choose this option for a small additional fee. This is coverage for something that may happen while you are on your trip. It returns a portion of your trip cost. You may also be interesteed in a “cancel for any reason” rider, which will return a large portion of your trip expenses that may not be covered under the four major circumstances listed above.
Make sure to research the normal coverages of the plan you are looking at and always ask about the additional coverages if you are interested in more comprehensive options.
2. Travel Delay
This may be one of the best coverages to have on your upcoming vacation to Alaska. Flight delays, cancellations and missed connections happen often when you are taking a trip as distant as Alaska. You have no control over what happens with airline scheduling. As a matter of fact, even the airlines may not have control over delays. It is a fact of air travel.
Mechanical problems, inclement weather and other factors can cause delays leading to hotel stays, extra food expenses and more. Once I even missed a connecting flight due to a visit by POTUS (president of the US) at the airport where my flight was connecting.
This feature of your travel insurance may even cover a vehicle breakdown, accident or severe weather on your way to the airport. Ask your Alaska travel insurance provider what coverages are available in the policy.
3. Medical Emergencies
Depending on your health insurance plan, you may or may not have trouble getting adequate healthcare covered on a trip out of town. The emergency medical coverage included in travel insurance gives you confidence in your travel.
You want to ask about two types of coverage when inquiring about your Alaska travel insurance plan. Make sure your selected policy includes emergency medical care and medical evacuation.
Emergency medical care covers your care in the case of both illness and injury. Medical evacuation can provide for transportation to a health care facility and even pay your way home if it becomes necessary to get you back to the place you live.
4. Lost, Stolen, or Delayed Baggage
In all my travels to Alaska and other locations, I have only once experienced lost luggage. I hope it is my last! If you have had the hassle of lost or delayed baggage, you know that it can not only be a huge frustration, but it can also increase the overall cost of your trip.
Make sure the policy you purchase for your travel insurance covers lost, stolen and delayed baggage costs. You can expect that travel insurance will cover individual items up to a certain amount, usually ranging from $250-500. If you have large items with you, you may want to look at other options like homeowners insurance to cover those.
What About Airline Travel Insurance?
Airline travel insurance is designed to mostly cover the plane trip and does not specialize in comprehensive trip coverage. I recommend a travel insurance policy specifically tailored to your needs. The plans the airlines offer also tend to be much less cost effective. Before you click the box on the airlines website, seriously consider your other options.
3 Top Travel Insurance Companies for Your Alaska Vacation
I have picked out three travel insurance policies that offer you great benefits to cover your investment in your Alaska vacation. The following descriptions include the AM Best rating for each policy. AM Best has been rating companies’ financial stability for 130+ years. Here is an overview of the three.
AM Best A++ Rating (highest possible rating)
Travelex has one of the top travel insurance plans on the market. And Travelex focuses exclusively on travel insurance, which makes them experts in the field AM Best has high confidence in their financial stability.
Travelex is new to the market. They were founded in 1996 when they bought out the travel insurance department of Omaha of Nebraska. Travelex is passionate about the travel industry and base their business on relationship with their clients. They even offer a travel planning consierge service available to all customers.
Travelex offers six travel insurance plans to meet your needs.
- Travel Basic
- Travel Select
- Flight Insurance
- Business Travel Insurance
- Cancel for Any Reason
- Rental Car Insurance
You can also customize any of these plans with their variety of upgrades.
AM Best A+ rating
Allianz has been in the insurance market since 1896. They are a trusted source for many different types of insurance. Allianz offers travel insurance that has good features, including coverage for up to one year, which is unusual in the travel insurance market.
Allianz offers four options for the single trip and four trips for their annual plan which covers muliple travel arrangements. We will focus here on their one-trip plans since that fits your needs.
Here are the four plans offered by Allianz:
- Cancellation Plus Plan – simple cancellation and interruption plan
- Basic Plan – all of above and emergency medical and lost luggage
- Prime Plan – all of above and free child coverage plus additional funds for lost and damaged bags and more cancellation options
- Premier Plan – for international travellers
AM BEST A rating
Although Travel Guard is a little lower on the AM Best rating scale for financial stability, AIG is a long-standing insurance company that has been a leader in the insurance market since 1919. I am confident in AIG’s ability to serve you well with their Travel Guard brand.
AIG Travel Guard offers three plans to customize the right coverage for you.
The Platinum Plan is an all-in-one policy with all the bells and whistles, including 24/7 travel assistance services. The Gold plan offers most of the features listed in this article and is a good medium-priced plan. The Silver Plan is a good basic budget-friendly option for the business traveler or vacationer who want just the essentials.
AIG Travel Guard also offers some services that you may not find elsewhere. For example, if you lose a bag on an airplane, they have the Bag Trak to help you find and retrieve more quickly.
Conclusion on Alaska Travel Insurance
Those are my top 3 suggestions for travel insurance for your epic Alaska vacation. There are many other ways to shop for Alaska travel insurance. For example, there are a few sites, like Aardvark Travel Insurance Comparison site, that ask you a few questions and help you find the right option for you.
However and whether you choose to protect the investment in your Alaska vacation, I am certain that you are going to have the time of your life and be blown away by the sites and people in the “Last Frontier.”
Share your story of when you were glad you had insurance or wished you would have gotten it below in the comments.