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Planning a trip to Disney World is something that millions of Americans do each year—and it’s an expensive proposition. The Mouse Hacking website estimates that a baseline Disney World vacation for a family of four costs about $5,200 for five nights. And that’s for a room at Pop Century. Watch your numbers go up if you book the Grand Floridian, add park hopper to tickets and buy other perks.
In the midst of your excitement to plan this magical getaway, you may not realize that there are aspects to your trip that should be protected by a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
Related: Compare & Buy Travel Insurance
“A trip to Disney World is often associated with a high trip cost between your flights, park tickets, lodging, dining plan and any special event tickets,” says Christine Buggy, spokesperson with Travelex Insurance Services, a travel insurance provider. “It’s safe to say that families save up for this magical experience for months, even years.”
Because of the financial investment of a trip to Disney World, be sure to purchase a travel insurance policy with:
- Trip cancellation coverage
- Trip delay and trip interruption benefits
- Coverage for medical expenses and medical evacuation, depending on how good your own health insurance is
Trip Cancellation Insurance for Disney World
You never want something unfortunate to happen before a wonderful trip you have planned, but these sad circumstances do happen. For example, if four days before your trip you have a devastating house fire, this would typically be a covered reason to cancel your trip and file an insurance claim.
“Protecting this investment with trip cancellation coverage is the financially smart thing to do, in the heartbreaking event your family couldn’t go,” says Buggy. If your hotel is pre-paid or if you have made non-refundable deposits such as a character dinner show, your insurance policy can reimburse you 100% for these non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs.
Common reasons that will be covered under standard trip cancellation coverage include death, illness or injury to you or someone in your immediate family, a serious family emergency, severe weather, jury duty and even a car accident on your way to the airport. Make sure to check the reasons listed in the policy you’re considering.
Disney World is no stranger to hurricanes. “If you can’t leave for your trip due to a hurricane, or if your trip is cut short or delayed because of inclement weather, travel insurance can really save the day,” says Buggy at Travelex. “Keep in mind you need to buy your travel insurance before the hurricane becomes a named storm and often other eligibility requirements may apply.”
It’s important to understand that not all reasons are covered for trip cancellation under a standard travel insurance policy. For example, if your son’s baseball team advances to the district championship, and the big game is during your trip to Disney World, this would not be a covered reason for cancellation.
“If you’re looking for peace of mind, ‘cancel for any reason’ may be a great add-on,” says Buggy. A “cancel for any reason” upgrade to a policy will add about 50% to the policy cost. But it offers the most flexibility to change your plans and cancel. You can cancel your trip up to 48 hours before your scheduled departure and you can generally recover 75% of your trip cost.
Travel Delays in Getting to Disney World
You will likely have a packed itinerary when visiting Disney World, and since you’ve probably paid for experiences in advance, having a safety net in place can protect your investments.
For example, if your flight to Orlando is canceled due to severe thunderstorms and the remainder of flights are full or suspended until the next day, you could be missing an after-hours special tour of Epcot, or a private tour at Animal Kingdom that you paid for in advance. Your travel insurance policy can reimburse you for these non-refundable and pre-paid expenses that you miss because of the weather delay.
Look for the travel delay coverage maximum and delay requirement in the policy. For example, the Gold plan from the John Hancock Insurance Agency provides travel delay benefits of $1,000 per person ($200 daily limit) after only a three-hour delay.
Disney World Trips Cut Short
If you need to cut your trip short and return home for a reason covered by the policy—like a life-threatening illness to your mother at home—your travel insurance policy can cover the cost of a return flight and reimburse you for any unused, non-refundable and pre-paid trip deposits.
For example, if you pre-paid for a hotel suite and it’s non-refundable, your travel insurance policy can reimburse you for what could total thousands of dollars.
Medical Problems While at Disney World
Even though your own health insurance plan may cover any medical needs while in Florida, it may make sense to purchase a comprehensive policy that includes medical benefits, especially if your own health plan has a very high deductible. In these cases, look for a travel insurance plan where the medical coverage is “primary,” meaning the travel plan pays first. Many travel insurance plans have “secondary” medical coverage.
“However, if the Disney World vacation is a domestic trip and you aren’t in need of medical benefits, you may be able to find a less expensive option with no or limited medical benefits, and focus primarily on trip cancellation and interruption,” suggests Megan Moncrief, a spokesperson with Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider.
Travel Insurance for Families
If you are traveling with children, Buggy recommends that you look for a travel insurance plan that accommodates families. For example, Travelex’s Travel Select plan provides coverage for children under age 17 at no additional cost when they’re accompanied by an adult who’s listed on the policy.
“The number of children is unlimited. making it perfect for a family of any size,” says Buggy. “You can even add on the car rental collision upgrade if you’re planning to rent a car on your adventure in Florida.”
Should You Buy Disney Insurance?
You might be wondering: Why not just buy the standard insurance package offered by Disney?
Moncrief with Squaremouth recommends that you compare the insurance offerings available directly from Disney with third-party options. Disney’s Travel Protection Plan provides a wide array of coverage for common travel problems, but you can find more robust coverage limits through travel insurance plans from third parties.
For example, Disney World’s Travel Protection Plan provides up to $25,000 in medical coverage. That may be sufficient for you. But you can buy third-party plans with different levels of medical coverage, often up to $500,000 per person.
If you have particular cancellation concerns, make sure to compare policies, especially if you want upgrades such as “cancel for any reason” coverage. The Disney Travel Protection Plan does not provide a “cancel for any reason” option.