Getaway Day: Four Tips For Insuring Unique Trips

It seems like a lot of the “Millennials are different from the rest of us” hubbub has calmed down as that vaunted and much-studied generation begins to (gasp!) age, but it’s an indisputable fact that Millennials are traveling in different ways than the generations that preceded them.

According to MMGY’s excellent “Portrait of the American Traveler,” Millennials are 8 percentage points more likely to go on adventure trips than even Generation X’ers (and a whopping 39 points more likely than Boomers) and a couple of percentage points more likely to participate in “unique guest experiences that reflect local culture.”

(Millennials are also overwhelmingly more likely to get Harry Potter tattoos and go to theme parks, but that’s another, much-less-publicized story.)

Millennials are in a life stage where when they travel they want to stay at Airbnbs, ride Ubers, and craft their own travel experience, like it was an IPA or something.

And if you think that’s going to change as Millennials ease into their minivans-and-diapers years, sorry. As MMGY’s Steve Cohen told us in a recent BHTP Connexions podcast, when it comes to Millennials following in the footsteps of their parents, “Travel seems to be a little bit different.”

Elephant-back treks are just one of your travel options for a safari. (Daniela Harrison photo.)
Millennials are much more willing than other generations to invest in experiential travel. (Daniela Harrison photo.)

Millennials seem to be more willing than previous generations to invest in experiential travel, and that means a continued shift to more unique trips that travelers create and curate themselves, only occasionally (and preferably), with the help of a travel advisor.

So where does that leave travel insurance?

It seems logical that a move away from packaged tours and cruises would mean fewer insured trips. However, two observations:

  • That hasn’t yet been the case; and
  • It shouldn’t be the case.

Travel-insurance sales are on pace to break all records, and unique trips … well, look at it this way: If you had a car that was unique and special, and you had spent a lot of money on it, would you not buy insurance for it because it wasn’t just set in front of you at the dealership with the admonishment to “sign here”?

Yeah, no.

If you’ve created a unique trip and want to protect it, the process isn’t as simple as it would be if you’d bought a cruise from a travel agent. Here’s what you need to know to protect your trip properly.

Reykjavik is a winning combination of the scenic, the historic, and the hip.
Decide what you want to cover on your trip — your flights, other transportation, lodging, tours, or all of the above. (Sharyn Alden photo.)

Know what you want insurance to protect. Look at where you’re spending your money, and the critical points of your journey. Flights are going to be critical in most cases. You’ll want those protected, ideally with the one-two punch of AirCare and ExactCare from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. (Hey, it’s true.) Do you feel you need medical coverage, emergency evacuation, or trip-cancellation protection? If you’re absolutely sure you don’t, walk back your purchase to AirCare. It’s the best $40-ish you ever spent.

Enter your trip details accurately, especially trip cost. When travelers buy travel insurance themselves, they’re often thrown by the request to “enter trip cost.” Are they looking for everything from the candy bar at the Basel train station to the street food in Prague, plus tips? No. Add up the big-ticket items that you’ve already paid for: travel (planes, trains and ships, mainly), lodging, and meals. If you’re going to make up those parts as you go along, that’s fine; just realize that if you interrupt your trip an insurance company is not going to pay you for a train trip you were going to take but hadn’t yet paid for. Along those lines …

Nice camera -- but do you have the receipt? You're going to need it, if it gets stolen when you're traveling.
Keep receipts for big-ticket items you bring with you — and keep them in several places.

Save receipts. Before you leave, gather up any receipts for items you’re taking with you. Leave the originals home in a safe place; take pictures of them with your phone and save a copy of the pictures on your home computer, or on a cloud drive. If the receipts are online, make PDFs of screen grabs and store them the same way. If you lose your luggage or have trip issues, having the receipts handy will greatly speed your claim-payment time (which, in BHTP’s case, can be a matter of days – five times faster than the competition).

Shop around. Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip are two popular sites to comparison-shop. Just remember: price isn’t everything, service matters, and getting paid fast and your way is really important when you’re on the go.

Have assistance and claims contact information handy. Download the insurance company’s app if they have one. (BHTP does.) Otherwise, know how to contact your insurance company if you need travel assistance or have a claim. Insurance-company travel assistance is one of the most ho-hum things in the world – until you need it. And maybe the surest way of not needing it is to have all the information about it with you at all times. (It’s not a scientific fact or anything. That’s just how it works out.)

Insuring any big trip is one of the smartest things you can do. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a Millennial, a Boomer, or any age in between.

Questions about travel insurance? Contact us.

Author: Kit Kiefer

As content engineer for Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, I have one of the world's great jobs. Not only do I get to write about travel, but I get to edit the work of fantastically talented contributors from around the world. Plus I get all the maple syrup I can drink.