Found a great flight deal? Was that vacation package what you were looking for? And now you have the option of adding trip protection or travel insurance. Is it really worth the extra money?
The short answer is: sometimes. Let me explain…
There are situations when buying travel insurance is a wise move:
- If you or a family member has an underlying medical issue. If you already know there is the potential for a medical emergency, coverage might benefit you. Traveling while pregnant is a good example. Just watch out for policies excluding pre-existing conditions. Also, there are coverages that include trip interruption due to a medical emergency of a loved one not on the trip.
- If your health insurance plan would not cover a medical procedure abroad or medical evacuation. The US State Department recommends this coverage, especially if your health insurance isn’t great. Most standard US health policies will reimburse you for emergency medical expenses while out of the country. If you do decide to buy travel insurance, make sure to verify the policy limits since they are often low- like 10k.
- If the idea of handling an emergency on your own is overwhelming. Many travel insurance policies include a 24 hour concierge service that will assist you in the event of an emergency. They can help with finding a hospital or medical provider and aid in getting you back home.
- If you are a frequent traveler. There are annual policies available that are more affordable than specific trip coverage. If you travel often and don’t want to worry about something going wrong, this coverage might be for you.
- You are traveling with something expensive or irreplaceable. If there is more than standard clothing and personal items in your suitcase, the extra protection might be worth it. While an airline would typically reimburse you for lost baggage, it would be for the depreciated value and only up to a certain amount.
- You are traveling to a remote or dangerous area. There are policies that cover infectious diseases, natural disasters or terroristic activity. Sometimes a trip needs to be postponed or cut short.
Reasons to decline trip insurance:
- Travel insurance can add significantly to the cost of your trip, especially if you are traveling with multiple children.
- The policy will only apply to a “covered” loss. Read the fine print. Policies can vary and you might think you have coverage for something you do not.
- You might be covered elsewhere. Check out the benefits offered by your credit card. Many offer their own trip insurance, free of charge. Just make sure to purchase the trip on the card that offers the perk.
- Trip cancellation may only be up to a certain amount. If your trip cost $10,000, a coverage limit of $3,000 might not be worth it.
- You can’t possibly anticipate everything that could go wrong. Part of the excitement of travel is encountering the unknown but there is inherent risk in that. Having a travel insurance policy doesn’t ensure safety or an easy trip.
- Be wary of travel insurance sold by travel agents. They usually get a commission and could recommend what would benefit them the most instead of what you need.
- Ask questions- what if you are laid off from your job, would the policy pay for trip cancellation? What about if one of your kids gets sick prior to the trip? Would everyone in your party be covered or just the sick one? If you choose to buy travel insurance, make sure the policy is tailored to your specifications.
- Don’t just accept the first thing you are offered. That trip cancellation option you can purchase with your plane ticket? It might be covered under a more general policy and may not be needed.
- Check out multiple insurance marketplaces like squaremouth and insuremytrip to shop for a good deal.
If you do decide to purchase travel insurance, don’t be impulsive. Read the fine print and make sure you know what you are buying. Take the time to find the right coverage for you. Happy Travels!