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Visiting Hawaii, especially during peak travel times, may require that you pay in advance for hotels, tours, private excursions and transportation. That money could be at risk if travel plans change unless you have a robust travel insurance policy.
Travel insurance can cover prepaid and nonrefundable trip deposits if you have to cancel a trip unexpectedly due to a problem listed in your policy. And the best travel insurance policies provides comprehensive package of coverage for trip cancellation, delays, medical problems during the trip, and more.
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Trip Cancellation Insurance
An unexpected event could derail your Hawaiian plans in an instant. A serious illness or injury could befall you or a family member and force you to cancel the vacation.
Trip cancellation insurance may be invaluable in such situations. Trip cancellation insurance typically will reimburse your costs if death, illness or injury occurs to you, a travel companion or a close relative.
Other problems covered by trip cancellation insurance generally include:
- Sudden job loss
- Severe weather
- Serious family emergency
- Military deployment
- Your travel supplier goes out of business
- Unplanned jury duty
A travel insurance policy won’t reimburse you for all cancellation reasons. For instance, deciding a nearly 12-hour flight from New York will be too long or being bummed that you can’t get a free upgrade to business class aren’t problems covered by trip cancellation insurance.
If you want the highest level of flexibility to change your mind about traveling, consider upgrading your basic travel insurance policy to include “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) travel insurance.
A CFAR add-on will increase your travel insurance cost by about 50%. But CFAR coverage will give you the flexibility to cancel your trip for any reason, as long as you cancel it at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure. If you meet all the requirements outlined in the CFAR policy, you can file a claim to recover 50% or 75% (depending on the policy) of your nonrefundable trip expenses.
Trip Delay Insurance
The travel delay insurance within a comprehensive policy can provide some financial relief if your Hawaiian trip is delayed by something like a connecting flight issue.
If you have to stay a night in an airport because of a flight delay, you can file a claim for meals and necessities to tide you over for the night. Severe weather and airline mechanical issues are other common reasons for delays that your travel delay benefits are likely to cover.
Keep your receipts so you can submit them when you make a travel delay claim.
If the delay causes you to miss the first night at your prepaid beachfront cottage in Maui and a luau that is nonrefundable, you can file a travel delay claim to recoup the money you paid in advance.
Most policies have a waiting period before your benefits begin, such as three or 12 hours. Trip delay insurance also typically has a per day and total maximum benefit limit per person.
Read your travel insurance policy carefully. Keep your receipts so you can submit them when you make a claim.
Trip Interruption Insurance
If you need to return home from your trip in Hawaii due to a reason listed in the policy—such as the sudden death of a loved one,—your trip interruption insurance can cover a last-minute plane ticket home.
You can also recover prepaid, unused and nonrefundable trip expenses. For example, if you prepaid for a snorkeling trip on a chartered boat, trip interruption coverage can cover the lost money.
Travel insurance won’t cover every reason for cutting a trip short. For instance, if the forecast calls for rain for the majority of your beach vacation and you want to return home sooner than planned, you will have to pay your own way.
‘Interruption for Any Reason’ Travel Insurance
“Interruption for any reason” (IFAR) travel insurance is one way to get travel interruption coverage without having to worry about exclusions and restrictions. Having this coverage allows you to file a trip interruption claim no matter why you went home early.
You must insure 100% of your prepaid and nonrefundable trip costs to get IFAR coverage and it reimburses 75% of the insured trip costs. You generally have to buy IFAR coverage within 15 to 20 days of your first trip payment or deposit.
IFAR insurance typically adds 3% to 10% to the cost of travel insurance. IFAR benefits don’t apply right away: You must be a specified amount of time into your trip, such as 48 or 72 hours. Check the policy details to find out what the required time period is to be eligible to file an IFAR claim.
Medical Expense and Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance
Your U.S. health insurance plan covers you if you need medical attention in Hawaii. Still, travel medical insurance can be beneficial. If you select a policy with “primary” travel medical insurance, the travel insurance plan will pay out first, up to its medical limits. This can be handy if your regular health insurance plan has a huge deductible.
While excellent medical care is available throughout the islands, you might not have immediate access to the right emergency care when traveling in more remote regions of Hawaii.
If you are injured or fall ill while in a remote place, “you might require immediate transportation—through a number of different conveyances—in order to get you to an appropriate medical facility,” says Scott Adamski, spokesperson with AIG Travel.
Medical evacuations can be very expensive, but the right medical evacuation travel insurance can reimburse those costs, up to your policy limits. Coverage levels vary by policy, but travel insurance may have medical evacuation coverage of up to $1 million.
Taking a Cruise Around the Hawaiian Islands
Taking a cruise to Hawaii may have its own issues, such as unexpected delays and disruptions. Meghan Walch, spokesperson with InsureMyTrip, which offers cruise-specific insurance, says one way to cover prepaid costs is cruise insurance.
Such coverage can vary by policy, but Walch says this type of coverage might reimburse expenses related to:
- Returning home early.
- Shipboard service disruption.
- Prepaid excursion costs.
- Missed connections.
Some policies also offer ship-to-shore coverage, which pays for you to get to a hospital from the ship when you need medical attention.
Baggage Loss Insurance
Baggage insurance will reimburse you the depreciated value for lost, stolen or damaged luggage, up to your policy limits. These benefits may be especially valuable if you’re island-hopping flights via smaller planes.
“Delays on these smaller island-hopping flights pose an increased chance for baggage loss, so it’s best to have a plan that includes coverage for baggage delay and baggage loss,” Adamski says.
Baggage insurance extends to your belongings during your trip. If your personal items are lost, damaged or stolen, you can file a claim.
Note that you usually have to file a claim with the airline or your home or renters insurance before filing a baggage insurance claim. If you’re not fully compensated, your baggage insurance can make up the difference.
Baggage insurance is likely to exclude some items, such as designer jewelry and rare art.
Baggage delay insurance allows you to recoup money you pay for toiletries and necessities to keep you comfortable if your luggage arrives after you do. Baggage delay benefits kick in after a required waiting period, such as 12 or 24 hours.
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Consider Adventure Insurance Upgrades
You may also add more coverage to your travel insurance policy if you plan to take part in extreme sports while in Hawaii.
“If you plan on hiking through Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park or attempting to surf at Honolua Bay beach, you may want to consider extreme sports and adventure travel insurance,” Walch says.
Read your policy documents so you understand what activities or adventure sports are excluded.