Many college students are looking forward to one week off their school and to relax on a spring break. While they are busy shopping the latest swimsuit, making flight and hotel bookings, purchasing travel insurance is not on their mind for the most of them. College students, who are typically teenagers and in their early twenties often think that they are young and healthy and therefore they are invincible or bullet proof. However, there is a high probability of something going wrong with their spring break vacation and therefore, it is very important to purchase spring break travel insurance.
Even though young students may not be worried about something going wrong on their fun vacation, their parents should be worried and should consider purchasing spring break travel insurance. Many parents would like to think that their child is decent and would not participate in any strange or careless acts. However, when they are young and surrounded by hundreds of other young people who want to have fun, certain unexpected things may happen. Anyone can purchase the insurance for their family members, irrespective of their permission.
Whether the student has health insurance through their parents or independently, most domestic health insurance plans would not cover abroad or even if they did, the treatment would be considered out of network which may mean high deductibles, coinsurance and out of pocket maximums. In any case, it would not cover emergency medical evacuation or repatriation of mortal remains.
Risks and Coverages
A proper spring break travel insurance may provide many important coverages:
- Trip Cancellation Coverage:
Spring break vacationers have no flexibility in their travel. They have just one week of vacation. If they can't travel during that week, they can't go a week before or after. Therefore, if they need to cancel the trip due to covered reason, travel insurance can provide trip cancellation insurance. However, if U.S. Department of State has issued a warning or advisory against traveling to certain places such as areas in Mexico (popular spring break destinations), trip cancellation due to that reason would be excluded. But if you have purchased cancel for any reason travel insurance, you can cancel your trip even outside of the normally covered reasons and may get the refund for a cancelled trip.
- Trip Interruption Coverage:
While spring breakers are enjoying their vacation, many things may go wrong back at home such as family members getting sick or injured because their cars skidded off icy roads or flooding may occur. In such situations, you may want to return home early. A proper travel insurance can provide trip interruption coverage to get you home sooner by paying to get flights rescheduled.
- Emergency Medical Coverage:
A young and healthy person may think that he/she is not going to get sick while on vacation but young people at spring break are vulnerable to sudden illness or accidents. Many unforeseen things may happen that may require a visit to the emergency room or hospital and you may end up getting thousands of dollars in bills or some places may even refuse to treat you, such as:
- stepping on broken glass while walking barefoot on a beach or at the swimming pool
- insect bites or snake bits
- eating strange food from unknown and questionable places
- falling from water vehicles such as jet skiing or while parasailing
- falling off water slides or getting injured from broken or rusted slides
- getting bitten by sharks or stingrays
- falling off from a broken zip line
Emergency rooms at places like Cancun or other popular destinations in the Caribbean are full of such young patients at the time of spring break.
- Baggage Loss Coverage and Baggage Delay Coverage:
Loss or delay of baggage may not be such a big deal for young travelers, but it is useful to have such coverage in case you need it.
Young people on spring break are likely to visit nightclubs or other secluded or undesirable places where they may be pick pocketed, robbed, their money stolen or losing their passport. Wealthy and careless young students easily stand out. Travel insurance can provide emergency assistance including emergency cash transfer or assistance and helping with getting the passport replaced.
Emergency Medical Evacuation:
Emergency medical evacuation is the transportation to the nearest place where adequate medical care can be given. If you are seriously sick or injured abroad while on spring break, emergency medical evacuation can cost a lot of money. E.g., emergency medical evacuation from Cancun, Mexico to Miami, Florida may cost $50,000 or more. Travel insurance plans can cover emergency medical evacuation. Once you are medically stable, they can also transport you back home.
- Travel insurance can provide other valuable coverages such as missed connections and travel delay.
While spring break travel insurance provides numerous important coverages, it is worthwhile to understand many activities that would be excluded from coverage that might commonly occur while at spring break.
If you get sick or injured under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs such as falling down or DUI, no travel insurance plan would cover your medical bills as you are willfully putting yourself at risk. That is true even if you had consumed just one beer or had only one puff of marijuana. Therefore, you should drink responsibly and not use any illegal drugs. However, if you get injured due to activities of someone under alcohol or illegal drugs, you may be covered.
Travel insurance would exclude coverage for incidents while you are engaged in illegal acts. Therefore, if you start a fight with another student in the bar or get beaten up by a police officer while trying to steal from a convenience store, travel insurance will not cover anything.
Most people make online bookings now a days for their vacations including their accommodations. It is possible that they were lured by fancy photographs but when they reach the destination, their accommodation is not up to the expectations and may turn out to be ugly or run-down. That is not a covered reason for travel insurance to help you pay for finding alternate accommodations. Only time travel insurance can help would be if the place is unihabitable.
Most travel insurance plan cost is based on age and trip cost. As college students are young and their trip cost would typically be low, travel insurance would be very inexpensive. It is better to call an insurance company with 24/7 emergency assistance than try to call your parents at 2 AM who can't help much immediately being far away. Therefore, while taking a vacation for spring break, you should always consider purchasing spring break travel insurance.