Do I Really Need Travel Insurance?
When booking tickets with an agent over the phone, in person, or even online, a customer is always offered the option to purchase travel insurance. In that moment of decision, when you are already spending so much on the travel, accommodation and activities for your trip, it can seem like a real kick in the pants to dish out even just a little more for travel insurance. But when it comes to insurance, a little bit can go a long way.
What Is Travel Insurance For?
Travel insurance is meant to protect you from unforeseen circumstances including:
• Cancelling your trip
• Cutting your trip short (trip interruption)
• Lost/stolen baggage
• Cancelled flights due to severe weather
Where Can I Get Travel Insurance?
There are a number of places to purchase travel insurance: from your airline or cruise carrier, and independent travel agency, membership organizations like CAA or AAA, your bank or even through your credit card.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?
Travel insurance usually costs about 5 percent of your total trip cost. So if you are taking a trip for $6000, your insurance should cost around $300.
Four Types of Travel Insurance Coverage
Trip cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance will reimburse you for non-refundable travel costs, including your flight and/or hotel, if your trip is cancelled, seriously delayed or cut short because of illness or natural disasters, or carriers going out of business. Protection is offered up to the maximum amount of your trip purchase. If illness is the reason for your delayed/cancelled/shortened trip, make sure you have a doctor’s note to support your claim.
Baggage and Personal Items Insurance
If your luggage is delayed, lost or stolen, travel insurance can help cover the cost of replacing your belongings. Check with your carrier for exact amounts, but reimbursement usually runs around $500 per lost bag and $100-$300 for delayed luggage.
Emergency Medical Insurance
Medical emergencies can happen abroad just as they can at home, and this is one of the most important types of travel insurance you can get. Coverage rates vary depending on the insurance provider and they can cover everything from a minor doctor’s visit, prescription medication and even major surgery.
Accidental death or dismemberment Insurance
This insurance is specifically meant to cover costs associated with the death of someone on a trip, or someone suffering a life-impairing accident (like losing their eyesight).
So Do I Really Need It?
If you are travelling abroad, it is highly recommended to invest a little money in travel medical insurance. It is likely that your domestic health insurance won’t cover your health care costs in another country. Travel insurance is also recommended when a large portion of your expensive trip is non-refundable.
In most instances, it is worth considering how much it would hurt financially if you didn’t have travel insurance. For a last-minute $99 domestic flight, travel insurance probably isn’t worth it to you. But if you have invested in a pricey Caribbean vacation for a few weeks, some type of travel insurance would offer a certain peace of mind in case something did go wrong.