Are you buying the right travel insurance?

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It has probably happened to you one time or another. You plan a great vacation, only to be faced with something going wrong.

While travel insurance can reimburse you for lost luggage or canceled flights, more extensive plans can help if you get sick or injured, or need to come home early unexpectedly.

There are several options of travel insurance that are available before you leave on a dream vacation.

Dale Cody's photos remind him of the gorgeous views he saw rock climbing in Thailand, but there is one portion of the trip he will never forget.

"I was in serious trouble. I had a huge fever, chills, freezing cold, then broiling hot in a tropical climate. All my bones and joints just ached like crazy," Cody said.

He came down with a mysterious infection so he went to a small private clinic.

"One of their main concerns was, Are we going to get paid?" Cody said.

Luckily he had purchased travel insurance for his trip, and once his conditioned worsened, the insurance company stepped in to help.

"Behind the scenes, the insurance company worked to arrange a stay at Bangkok Hospital at Phuket, which is a world class hospital," Cody said.

He never imagined the $360 premium he paid would pay him back in ways beyond covering medical bills.

"I highly credit the insurance company with taking all the actions that I was unable to take because I was so sick to save my life," Cody said.

Having a health advocate to deal with foreign medical care is one of the many benefits of travel insurance because regular health insurance may not cover services outside the U.S.

"About 20 percent of people whose trips have been impacted by a medical emergency or other type of emergency had travel insurance. That means that 80 percent of those impacted did not," said Linda Kundell, spokesperson for the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.

Kundell says a slew of lesser known coverage options include reimbursement for being stuck on the tarmac and missed connections. You can also use it if your trip was interrupted, delayed or canceled because of an illness or injury that affects your or a family member on vacation or at home. It will even cover medical evacuation back to the U.S.

"If you have to be medically evacuated, it can cost up to $100,000 or more," Kundell said. "And plans that also add on or include assistance services, such as help with lost passports, legal advice."

Experts say certain credit cards offer free travel insurance, but those policies may not be comprehensive.

Industry experts caution against buying travel insurance from an airline, cruise company, or tour operator because you are not covered if they go bankrupt.

"For a very inexpensive trip, let's say a $1,000 trip somewhere, you might not want to get travel insurance. Travel insurance is really better for those trips that you cannot afford to lose the value of, for example, a $10,000 cruise," said George Hobica, president of

Travel experts recommend several websites that can help compare the different plans available and the pricing, which is generally based on the cost of the trip.

For information on travel insurance company comparisons:
Square Mouth - Compare Travel Insurance
Lonely Planet Travel Insurance
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