Erica Lamberg – Forbes Advisor
If you and your significant other are planning a trip and considering buying travel insurance, you want to be sure your “plus one” is covered. A solid travel insurance policy can safeguard your trip investment by compensating you for canceled trips, non-refundable costs, medical emergencies and lost personal items.Ensuring both of you are entitled to travel insurance benefits can be as easy as filling out an R.S.V.P. card, but there are some issues to keep in mind, especially if you don’t live together.Here’s what unmarried couples need to know about buying the best travel insurance for their next getaway.Travel Insurance for Domestic Partners and Unmarried Couples
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If you and your partner live together and have the same trip itinerary, you can usually buy one travel insurance plan that covers both of you, says Daniel Durazo, spokesman for Allianz Global Assistance. Be sure to list both names on your plan, so you both receive benefits.Comprehensive travel insurance plans can provide protection for the people listed on the policy by packaging together the following coverages.Trip cancellationTrip cancellation insurance reimburses pre-paid, non-refundable, forfeited costs when you cancel a trip for reasons listed in your policy, such as severe weather or a serious injury.Trip interruptionTrip interruption insurance pays to fly you home and for unused, non-refundable portions of your trip if you curtail your trip due to unforeseen events, such as a family emergency back home.Medical expensesTravel medical insurance covers expenses—up to your policy limits— for hospital and doctor bills, X-rays, lab work and medicine when you’re injured or become ill during your trip.Medical evacuation insurance can help pay for the cost to airlift you to the nearest adequate treatment center.Travel delay insuranceYour travel delay insurance can help pay for meals, lodging and toiletries during layovers when your trip is delayed after a specified amount of time due to unexpected events. For instance, if your flight is delayed due to mechanical problems or severe weather.Baggage and personal effectsBaggage insurance can compensate you for the depreciated value of your belongings if lost, stolen or damaged, up to your policy limits. Be aware that some items, such as cash and gold, are excluded.Baggage delay benefits kick in after a waiting period listed in your policy. This can help pay for necessities to tide you over until your luggage arrives.Do Partners Qualify as “Family” for Your Travel Insurance Benefits?Domestic partners and civil unions are generally defined in travel insurance policies as same-sex or opposite-sex couples who have lived together for a specified amount of time—usually six or 12 months—and who share financial assets.Many travel insurance plans include domestic partners and civil union partners in their definition of family, which means the same benefits apply under trip cancellation, trip interruption and travel delay coverage.In addition to covering you and your traveling companion, these benefits allow you to file a claim if a family member who is not traveling with you suffers from an unexpected incident listed in your policy.For instance, let’s say a family member is critically injured and hospitalized right before your trip. You typically would be eligible to file a trip cancellation claim because an injury to a family member is an acceptable reason for canceling.So, would you be covered if it’s a domestic partner and not a spouse? Yes, if your travel plan lists domestic partnerships as part of its family definition. However, it’s important to note that you will probably have to provide documentation when you file your claim.For example, you may be asked to submit documentation proving you have lived together for a specified amount of time—for instance, six or 12 months. Also, you may have to show that you share finances, by providing copies of a lease or documents for a shared bank account, says Durazo.You may also have to provide an affidavit of domestic partnership, depending on your state laws and travel insurance company.Travel Insurance for Couples Living SeparatelyIf you and your significant other don’t live together in the same house, but live in the same state and are following the same trip itinerary, you may be able to buy one policy that covers both of you.“On policies where the travelers reside at different locations, one insured must be selected as the primary policy point of contact,” says Sarah McWilliams-Guerra, a spokesperson with Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider. “Their information, including address, email and phone number, would be kept on file.”Couples who live in different states and are traveling together usually need to buy separate travel insurance plans. That’s because insurance laws vary by state, so terms and conditions for travel insurance policies can vary by state, says Durazo.“Different departure locations and different flight costs may also mean you need separate travel insurance policies,” he says. “What’s most important is that each person’s name is listed on the travel insurance policy to ensure both people are covered.”Is Couples Travel Insurance Cheaper?Durazo says a joint travel insurance policy is usually less expensive than buying two separate policies.A Forbes Advisor analysis of travel insurance costs found that the average cost of travel insurance for one adult, age 40, is $294 per trip. For two adult travelers on the same policy the average cost is $311. That means a travel insurance policy for a couple is about $277 less than two separate policies.Keep in mind that if one of you is over age 65, the price of your coverage will likely be based on the oldest traveler, so in that case it might be cheaper to buy two separate policies.Generally, your travel insurance cost will be 5% to 6% of your trip costs, according to a Forbes Advisor analysis of travel insurance rates. But if you’re a senior planning a trip, expect to pay 8% to 18% of your trip cost for a senior travel insurance policy.Travel Insurance for Couples FAQWould my travel insurance plan cover my partner as a travel companion?Travel insurance plans cover you—the insured—for unexpected events that happen to you or your traveling companion that trigger a cancellation or interruption of your trip. Your travel insurance coverage does not extend to your travel companion unless their name is on the policy. For a fellow traveler to be covered, they would need to have their own travel insurance policy or be listed as insured on yours.Do most travel insurance plans include domestic partners as family?Many travel insurance plans do include domestic partners and civil union couples in their definition of family. However, some states don’t recognize domestic partnerships, so policies sold in those states may not.For example, the Louisiana policy language for Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice plans excludes domestic partners from its definition of a family member.What if my partner and I have multiple trips planned?If you and your partner plan to travel frequently, an annual travel insurance plan is worth a look.“All your trips are covered under a single year-long policy, providing both convenience and cost savings over purchasing multiple products for each excursion,” says Durazo.More from Forbes Advisor
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