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The Dominican Republic is known for its lush tropical foliage, its stunning white sand beaches and its all-inclusive resorts. Part of a major island known as Hispaniola, the Dominican can also be affordable to visit whether you’re traveling as a couple, vacationing with friends or planning a trip with the family in tow.
That said, there are myriad reasons to buy travel insurance when you’re planning a trip to this part of the world. Not only can bad weather create major issues when it comes to your safety, but you never know when a major life event might get in the way of your travel plans.
If you’re planning a vacation to the Dominican Republic, it makes sense to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy as soon as you pay your first trip deposit. Read on to learn what to look for in a policy and how different types of travel insurance coverage work.
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Dominican Republic Travel Insurance Requirements
The Dominican Republic no longer has any specific entry requirements regarding Covid-19. The random Covid testing for passengers and crew upon arrival in the Dominican Republic we saw last year has also stopped.
However, all people entering or leaving the Dominican Republic must complete a free electronic entry and exit form.
Travel insurance for the Dominican Republic is not required by the country, yet it can make a lot of sense for visitors who want to protect the financial investment they made in their trip.
Travel Insurance Coverage for Bad Weather
Daniel Durazo, spokesperson for Allianz Partners USA, says weather is a particular concern any time you’re traveling to the Caribbean, especially during hurricane season.
Weather is unpredictable and many travelers don’t know that it’s too late to purchase travel insurance that covers hurricanes after a storm has been named, he says. As a result, visitors heading to hurricane-prone vacation destinations from June to November should make sure the travel insurance policy they are purchasing has sufficient hurricane-related travel insurance coverage.
“Insured customers who purchase their travel insurance before a storm is named may be reimbursed for pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs if they need to cancel due to severe weather conditions covered by their plan,” he says. As an example, he adds that Allianz’s OneTrip Premier plan includes mandatory evacuation coverage and a hurricane warning as a covered reason to cancel or interrupt a trip.
Daniel Durazo adds that, while the chances of a hurricane getting in the way of your vacation may seem small, Allianz Partners USA received more than 5,000 claims from customers who were dealing with weather-related events during hurricane season last year.
Travel Insurance for Medical Emergencies in Dominican Republic
Ross Thompson, CEO of Covac Global, says there are a few key items travelers should keep in mind when they buy travel coverage for the Caribbean. The first is a high-quality medical evacuation plan, he says, mostly because many hospitals in the Caribbean and Central America are owned by the doctors who work there. As a result, there are significant incentives to keep foreign national patients there as long as possible for treatment.
Travelers will want coverage that does not require them to be hospitalized in those countries, instead allowing them to be medically evacuated directly home for care. That’s where medical evacuation coverage comes into play, and why it’s so important.
Medical evacuation travel insurance helps pay for the cost of emergency transportation—for instance medevac services—to the nearest adequate treatment center. In some cases, that may be a facility at your destination, or if your condition warrants it, you may need to be flown back home.
However, some medical evacuation travel insurance plans include “hospital of choice” coverage, which allows you to decide where you want to be taken if you have a medical emergency while you’re traveling and need to be evacuated.
“Make sure your medical evacuation benefits get you home and not to the nearest best hospital,” he says. “If something happens, you want to get home ASAP.”
Travel Medical Insurance for the Dominican Republic
In addition to coverage for medical evacuation, you’ll also want protection in case you become sick or injured during your trip to the Dominican Republic. Durazo says that, if you end up in a situation where you need healthcare, there may be situations where you have to pay or provide proof of payment on the spot.
Travel medical insurance compensates costs for X-rays, lab work, doctor and hospital bills and medicine if you’re injured or get sick during your trip.
“If you’re not prepared to pay all your medical bills out of pocket, this is a very important reason to buy travel insurance with appropriate medical benefits,” he says.
With this in mind, it makes sense to purchase Dominican Republic travel insurance that comes with elevated travel medical insurance benefits for emergency medical care and even emergency dental care. For example, the most generous travel medical insurance plans provide $500,000 per person for emergency medical expenses, but you can find ample coverage of $250,000 in some plans.
Travel Insurance For Trip Delays, Cancellations and Interruptions
With international travel, there’s always the potential for problems to happen leading up to your trip, while traveling to your destination and during your vacation. That’s where trip cancellation, trip delay and trip interruption travel insurance come into play. A comprehensive travel insurance plan will include all three types of coverage.
Trip delay insurance for missed connections
Durazo says that longer international flights could lead to increased potential for missed connections should any delays occur, and that having a travel insurance policy with travel delay coverage may help cover some of the added costs incurred while you are stuck waiting around.
It’s important to note that trip delay insurance has a waiting period. A delay may need to be greater than six hours, for example, before coverage kicks in. After the waiting period, you will be covered for additional expenses incurred (such as an airport hotel because your connecting flight was canceled) and losses (such as the first night of your pre-paid hotel in the Dominican).
Trip cancellation and interruption protection
You should also make sure your travel insurance plan includes trip cancellation insurance and trip interruption insurance with adequate limits. These coverages provide reimbursement for your pre-paid, non-refundable expenses if you need to cancel your trip or come home early, because of a problem listed in your policy.
Acceptable reasons for canceling your trip or for calling it quits in the middle typically include:
- Injury or sudden illness of you or your traveling companion, as documented by a licensed physician
- Death of you, your traveling companion or a non-traveling family member
- Severe weather or strikes that cause travel services to cease
- Unforeseen natural disasters at home or at your destination that make either uninhabitable
Travel interruption insurance also helps pay for a last-minute flight home when you cut a trip short due to an emergency listed in your policy.
Baggage and personal belongings coverage
A travel insurance plan that includes baggage loss and delay coverage can reimburse you for lost luggage or incidental expenses you incur if your baggage is delayed.
This coverage also pays for personal belongings that are lost or stolen while traveling. Note that baggage insurance is usually secondary coverage (meaning you’ll have to file a claim with the airline or your homeowners insurance first) and reimbursement will be for the depreciated value of your items.
Also be aware that not all of your belongings will be covered by baggage insurance, so be sure to read your policy for exclusions and coverage limits for personal possessions. There is also usually a waiting period before baggage delay benefits go into effect. For instance, this could be six or 12 hours, so review the specified time in your policy.
Read your policy coverage limitations and exclusions
Don’t assume every situation is covered, Durazo says. Instead, “do diligent research based on your needs and make sure you read your policy thoroughly to understand what exactly the specific travel insurance policy you purchased covers.”
Travel insurance policies generally have a free look period of several days or weeks, during which you can ask for a full refund. Take advantage of that time to examine your plan and make sure it meets your needs.
If you need help understanding your benefits, contact your customer service team and ask all the questions you want.
Featured Travel Insurance Partners
Medical & evacuation limits per person
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Should You Consider “Cancel for Any Reason” Travel Insurance?
It can also make sense to purchase “cancel for any reason” travel insurance (CFAR) if you’re unsure your Dominican Republic vacation will come to fruition.
This type of insurance reimburses you for a percentage of your pre-paid travel expenses if you cancel your trip for any reason at all—even if you just decide not to go. A typical reimbursement level for CFAR insurance is 75%, but some policies cap reimbursement at 50%.
Adding CFAR coverage to your travel insurance plan typically increases the price by 50%. For the extra expense, you gain the flexibility to cancel your trip for any reason, as long as you do so at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure.
You usually have a limited time frame to add CFAR coverage to your base travel insurance plan. It’s generally within 14 days of making your first trip deposit, but the length of time varies by travel insurance company.
“Interruption for any reason” travel insurance
Like CFAR, “interruption for any reason” travel insurance (IFAR) is add-on coverage you can buy typically within 14 days of making your first trip deposit. You can return home early from your trip, regardless of the reason, and be reimbursed up to 75% of your pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs. Note that you usually must be at least 48 hours or more into your trip for IFAR benefits to apply. Purchasing IFAR coverage typically adds 3% to 10% to the cost of your travel insurance.
Related: Advantages to buying travel insurance right after you book your trip
Travel Insurance for All-Inclusive Resorts
Since many people visit the Dominican Republic to relax in one of the country’s many all-inclusive resorts, it also makes sense to purchase travel insurance with this type of stay in mind.
For starters, a travel insurance policy can help families get the non-refundable down payment for their resort back if their trip has to be canceled for a reason covered by their policy.
Some travel insurance for the Dominican Republic also automatically covers children, which is important to know if you’re planning an all-inclusive stay with the family.
Travel insurance plans that offer free coverage for kids
Get Help When You Need It
While there are many different languages spoken at hotels and resorts in the Dominican Republic, including English, it’s worth noting that it is a Spanish-speaking country. With that in mind, it’s always good to book travel insurance with a 24-hour assistance hotline or a mobile app.
Most travel insurance companies’ assistance staff includes travel and medical experts who can help with problems you encounter in the Dominican, whether you get sick or you find yourself dealing with a natural disaster.
They generally can provide translation services while traveling abroad, which can be a lifesaver if you need help but can’t get your message across due to a language barrier.
How Much Does Travel Insurance for the Dominican Republic Cost?
The average cost of travel insurance can vary by quite a bit, depending on the total cost of your trip. A Forbes Advisor analysis of policies recently purchased for travel to the Dominican Republic revealed an average insured trip value of $4,039, an average trip length of seven days and an average travel insurance cost of $186.
Here are a few quotes for a seven-night trip to the Dominican Republic from several of the best travel insurance companies. The quotes below are for a couple (two 40-year-olds) traveling from Illinois in February of 2023 with a total trip cost of $4,000.
As you compare travel insurance policies for the Dominican Republic, make sure you are looking at options with similar coverages and policy limits. Also note that you’ll typically get a more robust travel insurance plan with more types of coverage if you’re willing to invest more than the bare minimum.
While Dominican Republic travel insurance may seem like an added cost you don’t need to deal with, you’ll sleep better at night knowing your trip is protected. Hurricanes can throw your travel plans out of whack in a hurry, and a major illness or a missed connection can do the same.
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