Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Traveling is my greatest passion and inspiration. It’s such an exhilarating, freeing experience, but with just like with anything else in life, there is a financial issue to ponder. Yes, it’s true that traveling can be pricey, but there are many ways to save on your next vacation. From using free travel apps that help you save to finding ways to save at hotels or even giving camping a try instead, there are plenty of things to do to try to keep costs low. But what about if you got sick while traveling to another country? Or a sudden death in your family caused you to cancel your trip? These unexpected events can end up severely and negatively impacting your finances. That is exactly why I wanted to explore the option of purchasing travel insurance. Before you make the purchase, here is a little about what travel insurance is, what it covers, and what to consider:

What is travel insurance?

Just like your purchase insurance for your health, car, home, rental property and other pricey objects such as a boat or expensive jewelry, you can purchase an insurance coverage plan while you’re traveling to protect your investment. Plans vary drastically and can cover a variety of different aspects.

What does travel insurance cover?

As said above, plans can vary drastically. Here are some of the items that can be covered:

  • Trip cancellation: You may not think that you’ll ever have to cancel your long awaited vacation, but there are things that can happen in your life. A change in your job, accident, sudden illness, or even a family death can change things quickly. Besides things happening in your life, there are things that can happen outside of your control completely. Severe weather and natural disaster like hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms, can cancel your trip. Even rare occurrences like a terrorist attack or a hotel, airline, cruise company, or tour group filing bankruptcy. Being insured will cover any payments you have made in advance.
  • Ending your trip early: The same way something can occur right before you leave your trip to change your plans, an unforeseen event can happen during it as well. If you have to end your trip early, this would cover the expenses from the unused time.
  • Medical and dental coverage: Breaking your leg while hiking, getting bitten by an exotic bug, food poisoning from a new cuisine – many times adventure can also mean a risk. Some travel insurance plans can cover any costs of visiting a doctor or a hospital stay.
  • Lost luggage: I think it’s everyone’s fear while watching the sea of luggage twirl around the conveyer belt at the airport, that theirs won’t be there. I know I always feel a huge sense of relief when I see my luggage. If your luggage is lost, your insurance can cover the costs of what was inside.
  • Theft: No matter where you’re traveling, there’s always a chance that a theft can occur. I can’t tell you how many countless stories I’ve heard of a mysterious vanishing of jewelry in a hotel room or stories of stolen cameras, purses, and wallets.
  • Delayed travel: Similar to what would happen if you had to cancel your trip or end your trip early, there’s also a possibility that your travel will be delayed. Last winter while traveling home from Florida, a massive snow storm redirected my flight to Detroit. If I would have had travel insurance, it would have helped the situation go much smoother. Depending on the specific plan, it can cover your accommodations if you are stalled somewhere and additional traveling expenses.

But aren’t I already covered for some of those things?

The answer to this question is a bit of a gray area: maybe. You may actually be already covered for many of these things. The best place to start is by calling and finding out exactly what you are, and aren’t, covered for. Here’s where to look first:

  • Homeowner insurance or renter’s insurance: Your homeowners insurance may cover your possessions even out of the house so things like your luggage, purse, or wallet can possibly be protected under the plan. Call and ask specifically as it may depend on where you’re traveling to.
  • Car insurance: Your current car insurance coverage may cover you when you’re driving other cars. This would mean that you can skip the pricey car rental insurance if you are renting a car or other vehicle.
  • Credit cards: If you are charging your trip, it may be eligible for travel insurance covered by your credit card company. Call your credit card to see what exactly is covered. My car rental insurance was completely covered on my credit card for two weeks so I didn’t have to buy any through the company.
  • Health and Dental Insurance: You may think you’re already covered, but this is one time where you would never want to just assume you are. Your health and dental coverage may not be eligible in a foreign country, or even in another state in the U.S. Besides the actual cost for the medical attention, if you needed to be flown home, that can be covered by your travel insurance.
  • An additional cost to a purchase: When I was purchasing plane tickets last spring, I was asked if I wanted to pay a $10 upgrade for each ticket as insurance, which I opted out of. Had I paid that fee, I would have been able to change my flight or cancel it with no charge. This is also true of hotels. Many times the cheapest hotel rate is the one that is paid in full or does not offer a cancellation policy.

Costs and Considerations

Travel insurance can cost as little as 5 percent of your trip’s total cost. The best thing to do is first see what you are already covered for by your current insurance plans, credit cards, and the policies of your airline, hotel, cruise, and every other company involved with your travel. Be sure to shop around for your travel insurance plan, and buy what’s right for you.

Would you ever or have you ever bought travel insurance? Have you ever wished you would have purchased travel insurance during a vacation?

2 thoughts on “Do I Need Travel Insurance?

  1. Paul

    My issue is two-fold. One it’s horribly over priced. Two if event arisses I’ve got another negotiation. Have I paid 5% to cover a 1% possibity and subjected myself to the brain damage of dealing with a person who’s job is to say “no”. There is always risk. Insure that that is life threatening or net worth threatening. IMHO

  2. Jennifer

    I bought travel insurance once. It was $30 for a two-week trip, which didn’t seem terribly unreasonable. I don’t normally purchase it, but with this trip, if we were delayed even a day on the outbound travel, we would have missed out on a (non-refundable) $600 trek. Thankfully we didn’t have to use it, but it was nice having that peace of mind!

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