Travel Insurance is the topic we all like to ignore–until it is needed, that is.

Why should you consider insuring your vacation? The answers are as varied as the people booking the tours, and the unpredictable natural events that shape the world and the regions we visit. While most vacations happen without a hitch, consider some of the problems travelers have faced this past year – airlines going on strike, unforeseen personal health issues and mass airport closures due to natural events. We have seen it all, and travel insurance is what helped protect each of them so they did not lose their vacation investment.

We strongly encourage you to consider the “Cancel for any reason” insurance as many natural disasters are not covered in the basic trip cancellation policies.

Here is what we suggest:

  1. If you are interested in purchasing Travel Insurance, here is the website for the insurance company we recommend (for US citizens ONLY):
  2. If you need a “pre-existing medical condition waiver” or would like to purchase “Cancel for any Reason” insurance, make sure to check the boxes next those items when viewing the list of available policies on SquareMouth’s website. To qualify for these benefits you must purchase the policy within 14 days of making your reservation with Nichols.
  3. The policy we personally recommend is offered by TINLEG
    • If you already have Travel Insurance, please review it and make sure you are protected against Trip Interruption, Trip Cancellation and Trip Delay. You might also consider adding insurance to cover all of your travel costs such as: flights, trains and additional hotel nights not included in the trip.
    • An alternative is to check with your own travel agent or any other insurance resources you have dealt with in the past.

For Canadian citizens, this travel insurance company has been recommended to us: .

***IMPORTANT*** For travel insurance purposes, please be aware that if you are ill or injured and file a claim, your doctor’s note MUST come from a local doctor in the country where you are traveling. It can not be written by a friend or traveling companion who is a doctor.

Please remember, travel insurance cannot be purchased after the fact. You cannot wait until your flight is cancelled or there is a debilitating health issue, and then purchase Travel Insurance to protect your flight and vacation.

The information below applies only to the company we recommend: TinLeg via SquareMouth.

When you should purchase a travel insurance policy is dependent on the specific benefits you are looking for.

Standard Trip Cancellation policies can be purchased up until the day before your departure. Some time-sensitive benefits (“cancel for any reason” & “pre-existing medical exclusion waiver”)must be purchased within 14 days of your initial booking date. Additionally, some  International Medical policies can be purchased after you have started traveling.

Cancel For Any Reason is an optional upgrade offered by some policies that provides reimbursement for prepaid and nonrefundable trip costs if a trip is cancelled for a reason not otherwise specified as covered on the policy.  

In order to be eligible for Cancel For Any Reason upgrade, you must purchase the policy within 14 days of your initial booking date, and insure 100% of your prepaid and non-refundable trip costs.

Cancel For Any Reason provides up to 75% reimbursement of your trip costs, and requires the trip be cancelled in its entirety at least 2-3 days before your departure, depending on the policy. This benefit can provide coverage to cancel for a reason not otherwise specified as covered on the policy. Cancel For Any Reason typically increases the premium by about 40%.

Please be aware that this benefit coverage and eligibility requirements differ per policy. Always check the policy certificate to verify what the specific Cancel For Any Reason coverage is within the plan you are interested in.

Typically, travel insurance providers define a Pre-Existing Condition as a medical condition that has been diagnosed or treated within the policy’s look-back period.

A Pre-Existing Condition is any medical condition that has been diagnosed, treated or experienced a change within the policy’s look-back period. Depending on the policy, the look-back period is typically 60-180 days prior to the effective date, but can be 12-36 months prior to the effective date.

Conditions that are stable during a policy’s look-back period are not considered pre-existing and can be covered under standard Emergency Medical coverage.

Pre-Existing Conditions are typically excluded from coverage on travel insurance policies. This can apply to medical and cancellation benefits. However, the Pre-Existing Condition benefit can provide coverage in the event of unforeseen recurrences or worsening of Pre-Existing Conditions.

The Pre-Existing Condition benefit is a time-sensitive benefit, and in order to be eligible you must purchase the policy no later than 14 to 30 days after your initial booking date. Some policies can also provide this coverage as long as the policy is purchased before your final trip payment is made. Additionally, some policies may require you to insure 100% of your trip cost in order to be eligible for Pre-Existing Condition coverage.

If your trip cost increases after you have purchased your policy and you would like to insure the increase, you may contact your provider directly to make this change to your coverage. Contact information will be found in the confirmation email you receive after purchasing a policy.

In the event that your trip cost increase results in additional premium owed, you would simply pay the difference at the time the change is confirmed. There are no penalties or fees for adding to your trip cost.

Most policies do not require you insure all of your trip cost. However, if your policy includes benefits such as Cancel for any Reason or Pre-Existing Condition coverage, some providers will require you insure 100% of your trip cost. Please refer to your policy for more specific detail.

If you need to file a claim, please contact the Claims Department as soon as reasonably possible.

Be prepared to provide:

  • the benefit provision(s) that are the basis of the claim (i.e. Medical Expense),
  • the name of the company that arranged the Trip (i.e., tour operator, cruise line, or charter operator),
  • the Trip dates and
  • the insured trip cost amount.

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