Group Travel organizers are charged with many different tasks as they move from planning stages through the welcome home phase. From program design and marketing to registrations and final documents, the hats are many. One important hat is the having the overall responsibility to your group. Luckily, you have others to help.
If you are the group organizer or organization planner, what protection should you provide for your travelers? Whether you are relatively new in this role or seasoned pro, it is a good idea to revisit your protection on an annual basis. Group travel insurance covers a variety of areas and each has its own purpose.
Liability coverage is essential for an organization
Liability insurance provides protection for a major event or your partner's negligence and can be essential for your organization. Be sure to work with travel providers that have professional errors and omissions insurance for any catastrophic occurrence so your organization is protected. Check that they have Commercial General Liability, with umbrella liability insurance with a limit of $5,000,000 per occurrence and in the aggregate. You should also ask to have your organization added as additional insured on these policies.
Coverage types for group travelers
What coverage do you need as a group traveler? There are many types of coverage available with travel insurance plans, but here are the major categories to consider. Each type, depending on the policy, has different terms so it is critical to review the details.
- Trip cancellation - provides reimbursement if you have to cancel for a covered reason (like illnesses, financial hardship, terrorism, hurricanes, and more).
- Baggage coverage - provides a certain amount when your bag is lost, stolen or destroyed.
- Baggage delay – provides funds for essentials when your bag is missing and en route.
- Trip interruption - provides funds for emergency travel and reimbursement of unused trip costs if you have to leave for a covered reason.
- Missed connection - reimburses each traveler up to a certain amount when they a connection and need alternative travel arrangements.
- Emergency medical coverage - provides for emergency medical care when a person in your group is sick or injured on your trip.
- Evacuation coverage - provides coordination and payment for evacuations to receive medical treatment elsewhere.
Choosing the right coverage for your program or group
Group travel insurance can be costly, so not all of these types are necessary. Consider these factors when choosing coverage types:
- A tight tour schedule – Most tours do not stay in one location very long, so it may be costly to “catch up”. Any delay from a late flight can easily happen, so missed connection coverage might be prudent.
- Remote destinations - Remote areas often don’t have medical facilities nearby and if anyone in your group is injured or very ill, you’ll want medical coverage or evacuation insurance to get them treated.
- Cruises and Land Packages - Expensive trips that are pre-paid far in advance are a risk you have to cancel. Cancellation coverage is a good investment to recover your investment if you have to cancel but be sure to understand reasons covered.
- Traveling with seniors or children – The ages of travelers should dictate the need for coverage as very young and older travelers are more likely to need medical attention.
- Traveling during hurricane season – This year brought weather issues front and center. Your trip can be affected not just by the area you are going to but the larger disruption of delaying flights, closing airports, and more.
Where to go for coverage? Who can help?
If your organization does not have a group travel insurance program, first check with your travel provider as they should offer a program for your group travelers. In some cases, they may even have coverages included in your program costs. For example, Holbrook Travel INCLUDES key travel protection for all group participants for accident and medical expenses, lost baggage and emergency evacuation. It is common to have trip cancellation and trip interruption as optional coverage at the travelers’ expense. An important note: trip cancellation for medical reasons is often only allowed if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days (usually 10-15) from making your initial trip deposit.
Questions? Your travel provider should be able to walk you through your choices or recommend travel insurance providers. Two of the best options include Travel Insured and Travel Guard (AIG).