What happens if you need to cancel—or worse, you need medical attention while you're away?

By Helen Sondag
July 25, 2019
destination engagement couple red and white lighthouse
Credit: Liz Banfield

Your honeymoon flight, hotel, and tours are booked, your bags are packed, and you're ready to jet off for your first trip as newlyweds. But what if a snowstorm or family emergency gets in the way of your post-wedding getaway, leaving you with non-refundable charges? Or perhaps you find that "in sickness and in health" comes sooner than you planned and you're dealing with an unexpected illness or injury abroad? In both cases, travel insurance can help.

Jack Ezon can attest to the importance of travel insurance-and not just because he's the founder and managing partner at New York City travel agency Embark who specializes in destination celebrations. He's also had to use it himself. "On my honeymoon, my wife fell off her mountain bike going down a volcano in Bali," he tells us. "We ended up needing medical care twice-both in Bali and later in Thailand. Not only did the insurance company help us find the best care, but it also paid for it where our regular insurance would not." Here's everything you need to know about travel insurance as it relates to your honeymoon.

There are different types of insurance plans.

Travel insurance plans run the gamut from basic (will only cover cancellations for a specific reason) to upgraded (meaning you can skip the trip for whatever reason and you'll get up to 80 percent of your money back). "I call this a 'bad hair day' policy, as you literally can wake up and use the excuse that you had a bad hair day and cancel within 48 hours of departure," Ezon explains. Rates vary as well, based on age, cost of the trip, and the plan. "Many companies even provide complimentary coverage for children under 18," he says. "This is ideal for people who have families or are younger. If you buy insurance through a tour operator or cruise line they usually have a set price based on the trip; they do not discriminate on age, which is great for people who are older in age. However, a younger couple would most likely be paying more for this."

Insurance can cover cancellations, missed flights, and lost bags.

There are mostly pros to purchasing insurance. The only "con" would be cost-but it's a worthwhile investment, even if you don't need to use it. "For the nominal cost you get a huge benefit that comes with peace of mind," Ezon says. "Not only does it allow you to cancel your travel plans based on a multitude of reasons, but many policies cover your costs incurred for missed flight connections, delays, and lost bags."

Insurance also covers medical assistance you might need.

Did you know that your health insurance probably won't cover care in a foreign country? But depending on the issue and the level of coverage you chose, your travel insurance probably will. "If anything goes wrong, you will be covered," Ezon says. "Many policies also include Medivac or a similar air evacuation service for emergencies to fly you to your preferred hospital. That in and of itself can cost $500,000 or more."

You should shop around for a quality carrier.

Travel agencies like Ezon's typically partner with preferred carriers; in his company's case, it's Arch RoamRight. "Find a highly rated insurance company with good customer service reviews that offers comprehensive plans to guests for all leisure travel in order to help them to protect themselves and their investment," Ezon advises. "That's because you can buy any policy you want, but if you don't have an amazing advocate to actually help you collect on your claim, the whole policy can be basically useless."

Remember to purchase insurance early.

Travel insurance isn't something you can put off until just before the honeymoon. Most carriers require that you insure within 10 to 21 days of putting down a deposit. "That is the window most policies have to cover 'preexisting conditions' and 'anytime cancel' ability," Ezon notes. "You can always add to the policy later. A preexisting condition can be anything that existed before you bought the insurance that is related to why you are canceling. It can even be something like being pregnant."

While travel insurance is a good idea for all trips, it's particularly important when traveling internationally. "If you are heading to an American city in a quiet period, you will probably be able to beg for your money back, but if you cancel at a resort during peak season, it will be very unlikely," Ezon explains. "I always recommend getting trip insurance with a good medical plan when you travel to foreign countries."


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