Three out of four insurers to reduce their rates.
Washington, DC—Today, the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) announced the 2022 approved individual and small business health insurance rates. As a result of the Department’s review, most insurers decreased their initial rate proposals, which will save District residents more than $16 million.
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Whether it's a mini-break or an international tour, taking a trip requires planning and can cost a lot of money. Unexpected circumstances like injury, illness, flight delays or natural disasters could cut a trip short, leaving you with unforeseen costs. There are insurance options to help keep you financially protected
Cost of travel insurance: Travel insurance usually costs between 4-10% of a trip's price. For example, for a trip that costs $5,000, travel insurance could range from $200 to $500 depending on the coverage.
Types of travel insurance: There are several types of categories of travel insurance including:
- Trip cancellation. Reimburses pre-paid travel expenses if you are prevented from taking your trip for a reason covered by your policy. It is typically included in every comprehensive policy. You will usually receive reimbursement if your trip is cancelled for: unexpected illness or injury of you or a traveling companion that deems you unfit to travel; hospitalization or death of non-traveling family member; weather or common carrier issues; unforeseen natural disaster at home or the destination; a legal obligation such as being called for jury duty or serving as a witness in court.
- Travel medical and major medical. Provides protection if you become ill or injured while traveling. Travel medical insurance provides short-term medical coverage.
- Emergency medical evacuation. Provides coverage for services such as air evacuation and medical transportation to the nearest adequate medical facility then home if warranted. This type of coverage is useful if you're traveling to a rural area without easy access to medical facilities. In the event a person passes away during travel, repatriation coverage will cover for the insurer to handle the necessary transportation.
- Accidental death and dismemberment. Provides coverage to beneficiaries if you die in an accident on the trip or pays a sum to you if you lose a hand, foot, limb or eyesight from an accident. Some plans only apply to an accident that occurs on an aircraft.
- Baggage loss. Reimburses for loss of baggage or personal items.
- Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) policies. These policies are more expensive and typically only reimburse you a percentage of your travel costs. The reason for cancellation is not relevant. There is usually a time frame for when cancellations are allowed, and you must insure all of your pre-paid and non-refundable expenses. CFAR policies are usually added as an extra option in addition to trip cancellation coverage.
Epidemics and Pandemics
Travel insurance policies typically exclude epidemics and pandemics. According to Allianz Global Assistance, a travel insurance provider, "Trip cancellations and trip interruptions due to known, foreseeable, or expected events, epidemics, or fear of travel are generally not covered."
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a known global event, meaning that, depending on your policy terms, the likelihood varies that policies purchased now will cover changes in plans or cancellations for that reason. Review your travel policy to find out which exclusions apply.
There may be coverage if a specific country imposes travel restrictions. Some airlines and tour companies will allow cancellations outside of an insurance policy. Additionally, travel policies with medical coverage may cover any illnesses or hospitalizations that occur during a trip, but you need to review your policy to see if your policy is one of them.
Check the language in your policy to find out what is and is not covered.
How to Protect Yourself
Determine if travel insurance is right for you. Ask yourself:
- What are the chances you'll be impacted by severe weather or another event?
- How willing are you to take risks?
- How much are you willing to pay for a back-up plan?
- Do you have questionable health or is a loved one ill?
If you cannot afford to cancel and rebook your trip or your health insurance doesn't cover you abroad, you should consider travel insurance. You typically don't need travel insurance for short trips close to home.
Know the coverage limitations, exclusions, and fine print: Each type of insurance has its coverage limitations and exclusions.
- Travel cancellation: Exclusions might include canceling your trip due to being detained by customs or having to cancel due to a work obligation. If your flight is delayed, you may or may not be covered. Some policies only cover trip cancellation claim if you lose more than 50% of your scheduled trip length due to a covered delay. You also must make a good faith effort to continue your travels using alternative means. A "Cancel for Any Reason" policy is an option for broader coverage but reimbursement is usually for less than the full cost of the trip.
- Travel medical and major medical insurance. Find out if your policy requires you to obtain prior approval before seeking medical care. Also check if any pre-existing medical conditions will exclude you from coverage.
- Emergency medical evacuation/repatriation: Coverage may not cover you if you're participating in an activity your insurer considers dangerous such as sky diving. There are specialty insurance products for some activities, such as SCUBA diving.
Be sure to ask about coverage limitations or exclusions before you commit to buying an insurance product.
Don't wait until the last minute: Travel insurance is intended to protect travelers against sudden and unforeseen events. If, for example, you are heading to Florida in two days amid hurricane predictions, purchasing travel insurance at the last moment isn't likely to help you. Typically, if you buy travel insurance after a winter or tropical storm is named, your plan won't provide coverage for claims related to that event.
Homeowners will cover your possessions during a trip: Most homeowners insurance policies cover personal property lost or stolen during a trip. Check with your home insurer to see what they cover while you are traveling. If you have expensive items, you might want to purchase a to add to your current homeowners policy to cover those items.
Top Three Things to Remember
- Read your policy to determine if travel insurance covers the types of events that you want to cover.
- Review the policy thoroughly. Ask about any coverage limitations or exclusions.
- Remember, your homeowners policy should protect your possessions while traveling. But if you have expensive items, consider purchasing additional coverage.
Information courtesy of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) warns District residents to be on the alert for scams during the public health emergency. During times of heightened fear and stress, it is not unusual for people to let their guard down. This may be the case during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Scammers can take advantage of these unusual circumstances to steal your money and sensitive, personal information. Three common ways they do this are through email phishing, charitable contribution requests, and medical supply sales.
A popular scam is known as phishing. Seemingly legitimate emails are sent to potential victims that appear to originate from someone’s employer, healthcare provider, or financial institution. The sender may ask the recipient to open a link provided in the email. In other cases, the email may provide a telephone number that the recipient is urged to call because of a problem encountered with their account. The scammer’s goal is to steal your personal information (e.g., date of birth, address, social security number, and bank and credit card account information) and your money.
Before responding to any emails or telephone calls requesting your sensitive personal information: STOP! Independently verify the telephone number of the company that appears to be requesting your information. Speak with a company representative at that telephone number (not the one provided in the email) to verify the email’s authenticity and contents. Do not click on any links in the email. Clicking on a link may load malware onto your computer, which could result in an account takeover along with a ransom demand to restore your system.
Charitable Contribution Requests
Be vigilant on social media for scams requesting charitable contributions to assist others who may be suffering as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Fraudsters use this technique to take advantage of people’s desire to help others in need.
Medical Supply Sales
Another popular scam involves advertisements on social media and websites for the sale of medical supplies (e.g., surgical face masks, latex gloves, and protective eyewear), or for medications and/or supplements that purportedly cure or mitigate the effects of COVID-19. After the purchaser provides their credit, debit, or gift card information to the scammer, the goods are never delivered. Before sending money to someone offering to sell you goods or services, independently verify the seller’s business reputation by performing a Google search; or by checking with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org, or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at fda.gov.
If you believe you have been a victim of a financial scam or have questions about a solicitation or company, contact DISB’s Enforcement and Consumer Protection Division at (202) 727-8000.
For updates on Mayor Muriel Bowser’s declaration of a public health emergency due to COVID-19, go to coronavirus.dc.gov.
Our mission is three-fold: (1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services firms to the District; (2) empower and educate residents on financial matters; and (3) provide financing for District small businesses.
DISB encourages District residents to protect themselves from scammers assuming the guise of Social Security Administration (SSA) officials.
A growing scam targeting District residents who are mostly of retirement age involves individuals who impersonate SSA officials. They contact victims by telephone and attempt to steal their personally identifiable information along with their money. The victim’s caller ID may display a telephone number identical to the SSA’s genuine number; scammers routinely “spoof” or imitate telephone numbers of official government agencies.
When the victim answers the call, the imposter will likely identify him- or herself as an SSA agent and provide a phony badge number. The bogus agent will then accuse the victim of committing fraudulent activities in connection with their Social Security number (SSN) and threaten arrest or legal proceedings. The imposter may also ask the victim to provide, for verification or confirmation purposes, their home address, bank and credit card account numbers, SSN, and date of birth.
The imposter will often tell the victim that a fine or debt must be paid immediately with either retail gift cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash. If the victim complies with this request for payment, the money is often unable to be recovered.
Although the SSA may call you in certain situations, it will never do the following:
- Threaten you with arrest or legal proceedings
- Suspend your SSN
- Demand immediate payment from you
- Require payment by cash, gift card, pre-paid debit card, or wire transfer
- Ask you to provide gift card numbers and their corresponding PINs over the phone
If you receive a questionable telephone call from someone claiming to be from the SSA, especially from an individual who threatens you with arrest, fines, or legal proceedings, hang up! You can report suspected fraud to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov. You may also contact DISB’s Enforcement and Consumer Protection Division at (202) 727-8000.
Register for this free Financial Literacy Workshop as we discuss the importance of financial literacy in our community.
This event aims to connect the District's veterans with information, resources, and organizations that may be beneficial to a successful military transition. The event consists of an informal discussion that revolves around varying topics including housing, employment, healthcare, and legal services. Upon the conclusion of the discussion, all resource providers in attendance offer feedback on any topics discussed or how they can assist the veteran or their family in a positive capacity.
On May 4, from 2 to 3 pm, make plans to join DISB to hear about innovative alternatives to financing for District startups, emerging entrepreneurs and small business owners. Organizations in the following areas should consider attending:
- Small businesses
Access to capital options to be discussed at the event include programs administered by the Department’s District of Columbia Business Capital Program. DISB will also discuss DC BizCAP requirements and how small business owners and entrepreneurs can utilize the program.
Are you planning to start or expand a small business? Need financing? Join the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking and community partners for a workshop that will help you access resources.
Find out what commercial lenders consider when considering a loan request and how the DC BizCAP Program provides loan support.
- Aaron Fenwick, Program Analyst, Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking
- Grisel Saez, Director, Grants and Programs, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Oswaldo Acosta, President & CEO, City First Enterprises
Join us for the #FinanciallyFitDC: Workshop Series on Black Generational Wealth Building to discuss personal money management, budgeting, credit, savings, emergency planning, student loans, estate planning, life insurance, and more.
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DISB Consumer Resources
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Watch and learn from DISB experts how to protect your financial interests.
DISB reviews health insurance rate filings and welcomes public participation.
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Listen and learn about topics that will help improve your financial interests.
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