Everyone’s familiar with insurance. In most states, you need to have some kind of auto insurance, even if it’s cheap auto insurance if you want to drive. You’re also required to have some kind of medical coverage if you live in the United States.
So when it comes to insurance, you get what you have to and you probably don’t spend too much time contemplating it.
Travel insurance, on the other hand, is optional. So you can decide for yourself when you need it. But do you? There are undeniable perks to having travel insurance, but at the same time, it costs money. You probably don’t want to spend more than you really have to.
Read on to see the benefits of travel insurance so you can decide if it’s worth it for your situation.
Cancel Your Trip Without Losing Money
Your travel insurance policy will list the covered reasons you can cancel your trip. While the list below is not a guarantee or extensive, these are some of the commonly covered reasons for canceling:
- Death (some policies include the death of family member)
- Natural disasters like hurricanes
- Terrorism in your destination city
However, there are some exceptions, even to this pretty standard list. You’ll need proof of illness, and sadly, your weak and raspy voice won’t be enough. A doctor’s note should suffice. Similarly, if you’re canceling due to a death, you’ll need proof of it.
If you’ve made a blueprint for your vacation plans to visit Florida with just two days away from your departure, and the news stations are fixated on the imminent hurricane headed right to where you’re going, it’s too late to buy travel insurance and have it reimburse you because of the hurricane. You need to purchase it well before the hurricane is forecasted.
Similarly, you can’t purchase travel insurance after an act of terrorism in your destination city and expect it to cover your costs when you cancel your trip.
You can purchase “cancel for any reason” coverage from some insurance companies. Those policies are pricey, and there are stipulations. There’s usually a minimum time before the trip that the cancellation has to occur, and reimbursement is typically less than 100 percent.
Any time you request reimbursement for trip cancellation, you will need receipts for what you paid for. Keep a file (paper or digital) where you put a record of all your trip-related expenses.
If you accidentally miss your flight, you’re probably going to have to work things out with the airline, even if you do have travel insurance.
Some credit cards offer travel insurance as an included perk, so check with your credit card company. You can do this by logging into your account online or by contacting customer service by phone to see if they have anything to offer.
If they do provide coverage, make sure to book your trip using that particular credit card.
Sickness and Injury are Covered
Even if you have health insurance, if you’re traveling abroad and you get sick, then you’ll probably have to pay medical expenses out of pocket.
Travel insurance sometimes has a medical plan worked into it, but you’ll likely need to purchase a specific medical travel insurance policy to make sure you’re covered. If you’re a generally healthy person, this coverage won’t be very expensive, probably just a few dollars a day.
Medical evacuation coverage is often combined with medical travel coverage. Evacuation coverage will pay for transportation to a hospital and transportation home if medically necessary.
Here are some important factors that you need to keep in mind:
- Travel medical insurance covers unexpected injuries and illnesses. It won’t pay for treatment for any chronic conditions you have.
- There will likely be a deductible, which you need to be able to pay should you require medical services.
- Travel medical coverage is the most important type of insurance to have if you’re traveling abroad.
If you’re traveling within the United States, chances are that you’ll have some insurance coverage through your insurance company’s partners. It’s best to know beforehand, so you should call your insurance company’s customer service for more information.
Generally speaking, for U.S. travel, you likely won’t need medical travel insurance. You can even take precautionary measures to keep yourself healthy while traveling to cut your risk down even further.
Reimbursement for Money Spent on Events
If your trip includes a big sports game or a special concert, or any major activity, you can make sure that it’s covered.
When you look for travel insurance coverage, you’ll need to factor in the costs of your pre-purchased tickets and also make sure the policy covers events. Remember to plan the price of travel insurance when you’re building your travel fund.
Last-minute ticket purchases won’t be covered. Your policy will only cover what was already paid for when you bought your policy. So if you’re planning on traveling for the Super Bowl, make sure you get your tickets before you get your travel insurance.
Luggage is Covered
If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of standing at the luggage carousel and waiting for suitcases that never come, you can understand how having insurance coverage for lost luggage could come in handy.
Without the things you packed, you’ll need to buy new essentials. If your bag is delayed, delayed luggage insurance will cover the essentials you need until you receive your bag. However, if you plan ahead and keep a change of clothes and toiletries in your carryon luggage, you’ll probably survive just fine until your luggage arrives.
If your luggage is stolen or permanently lost, the travel insurance will reimburse you for your lost goods. However, more often than not, your homeowner’s insurance will cover lost or stolen luggage. If that’s the case, there may be no need for you to purchase duplicate coverage.
At the same time, if your homeowner’s insurance deductible is $1000 or more, making a claim will probably not be worth it. In that case, a lost luggage travel policy may have a much lower or no deductible.
Travel Insurance Could be Worth the Money
Overall, travel insurance could cost as much as ten percent of the cost of your trip. If you believe your risk of having an issue is low, you could probably skip travel insurance. But if you’re taking the trip of a lifetime with many variables, it’s probably worth it to insure your purchase.
Any time you travel internationally, you should get a travel medical policy. It would be unwise to risk the consequences of not having medical insurance and needing medical care.
Having the right kind of insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that if disaster strikes, at least you won’t go broke. Consider these benefits of having travel insurance and take the time to make the right decision for you.
About the author:
Melanie Musson is an insurance expert and writer for AutoInsuranceEZ.com. She loves to travel with her husband and their four children. Their home is in the Rocky Mountains, so even when they’re not traveling afar, they take plenty of adventures nearby.