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Turks and Caicos is one of the most popular destinations for Americans, and it’s no surprise why. The sparkling ocean is turquoise blue and the idyllic beaches seem to go on as far as the eye can see. Another draw for tourists is the plethora of hotel and resort choices—from family lodging to romantic hotels to all-inclusive resorts and private cottage rentals.
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A sunny place like Turks and Caicos may be on your list of possibilities for winter travel. If you go, here’s what to look for in a comprehensive travel insurance package. Travel insurance for Turks and Caicos trips costs an average of $160, according to Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider.
Turks and Caicos Entry Requirements
Tourists arriving in Turks and Caicos are required to show proof of a travel insurance policy that will cover Covid-related medical costs, including hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions, air ambulance and quarantine.
There is no mandatory quarantine upon arrival, although you must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test that was taken no more than three days before arrival. Visitors are entirely responsible for the cost of a self-isolation quarantine if they test positive during their stay in Turks and Caicos.
In addition, all visitors who are age 16 and over must be fully vaccinated. Visitors under age 16 don’t have to be vaccinated but kids ages 10 to 15 still have to have a negative Covid-19 test.
According to Bailey Foster, a spokesperson with Trawick International, you must make sure your travel insurance plan does not exclude Covid-19 medical costs, so be sure to check with your insurance company before you buy a plan.
Here are additional requirements to enter Turks and Caicos:
You will need to complete a pre-travel authorization form from the Turks and Caicos Islands Assured Portal.
You need to upload proof of a negative Covid-19 test from a recognized facility no later than three days prior to your arrival.
You will need to fill out a health screening questionnaire.
Buying Travel Medical Insurance for a Turks and Caicos Vacation
When you travel abroad, your U.S.-based health plan may provide limited or no coverage in other countries. And Medicare isn’t accepted in Turks and Caicos. So even without the requirement for entry, having a travel insurance plan with robust medical coverage is a good idea. Check with your U.S. health insurance provider to find out what sort of global coverage you have.
Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider, recommends at least $50,000 for medical coverage and at least $100,000 for medical evacuation.
Travel medical insurance is important to have, even beyond Covid-19 coverage. For example, if you are snorkeling near the beach and are bitten by a jellyfish and develop a reaction, your travel insurance company can arrange care for you at a medical facility. Travel medical insurance covers these medical costs, along with an ambulance if needed and prescription medicine.
Emergency medical evacuation coverage can be arranged by your travel insurance company if you need a higher tier of care for more severe problems such as food poisoning, a broken leg or a head injury. In these cases, a nearby medical clinic may not be able to provide specialized care. If needed, your travel insurance company can arrange an air ambulance to take you to an appropriate hospital.
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Consider Trip Cancellation Insurance
Beyond the required medical and emergency evacuation coverage, a travel insurance policy can provide valuable benefits that aren’t required for entry into Turks and Caicos, such as trip cancellation, trip delay, trip interruption and baggage insurance.
Turks and Caicos can be a costly trip. And sometimes a trip can be unexpectedly ruined. For example, if you own a small business and there’s a fire in the building a few days before your trip, this can qualify as a reason to cancel under trip cancellation insurance. With a trip cancellation claim, you can be reimbursed 100% for non-refundable and prepaid deposits.
Other reasons typically covered by trip cancellation insurance include injury or illness to you, a family member or travel companion, a death in your family, severe weather, civil unrest and terrorism.
Not all reasons are covered. For example, if your sister says she won’t watch your dogs while you travel, this is not a covered reason. Check the policy for the list of reasons covered for cancellation.
If you want the most flexibility when traveling, buy a plan that allows an upgrade to “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage. This add-on typically adds 50% to your insurance cost and will generally reimburse you for 75% of trip expenses. To make a CFAR claim you must cancel the trip no less than 48 hours before departure, but you can cancel for any reason not listed in the base policy. For example, if you decide you don’t like the Covid-19 test requirement for Turks and Caicos, you could make a CFAR claim.
As with many tropical destinations, there is a risk of hurricanes in Turks and Caicos during many months of the year.
If there is a storm that causes your flight to be canceled, you can file a claim for reimbursement if you have travel delay insurance. For example, if you miss a prepaid kayak excursion or a chartered boat tour, this falls under travel delay coverage.
During hurricane season, there are a few things to remember about travel insurance. You can’t buy travel insurance and make a trip cancellation claim once a storm has already been “named.” The policy must be in effect before the storm is official if you want to make a cancellation claim for bad weather.
And your insurance won’t reimburse you for what’s called “loss of enjoyment,” says Lisa Cheng, spokesperson with World Nomads, a travel insurance company. If your experience doesn’t meet your expectations, you can’t make a claim. “Maybe a few trees were knocked down at your destination or the weather was windy and rainy, preventing you from heading out on a boat ride. Such situations aren’t covered,” explains Cheng.
Travel insurance will generally cover expenses related to hurricanes, however, when your accommodations are inhabitable or if your flight was delayed for a certain period of time because of severe weather, says Cheng.
An airline mechanical issue that causes a delay is also usually covered.
Read your policy to see what the required delay time is before benefits kick in. Travel delay coverage usually requires a delay of three to 12 hours. Once you reach that mark, extra expenses like a hotel room, meals or other costs can be reimbursed.
Erica Lamberg is a personal finance and travel writer based in suburban Philadelphia. She is a regular contributor to USA Today and her writing credits include NBC News, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, Oprah Magazine and.