Any seasoned traveler knows that buying travel insurance is a must. Since the 9/11 incident, the number of travelers purchasing travel insurance has grown five-fold from the 8 to 10 percent record in 2001.
Common reasons for buying travel insurance among Americans include the cost of the trip (44.4%), family health and welfare (41.3%), and types of trips they are taking (39.7%).
Though the U.S. government highly recommends purchasing travel insurance to its citizens, only a few actually know if getting one is really a good deal or a total ripoff.
To help you make an informed decision, there are things you need to know about travel insurance when weighing your options.
What Is Travel Insurance
There is always risk involved when traveling. There is the risk of getting sick, figuring an accident, having valuable items stolen or lost, missing flights, and — in extreme cases — losing a life.
Purchasing travel insurance though gives you some peace of mind. For one, it helps minimize the chances of financial loss due to the aforementioned risks.
Essentially, there are five primary types of travel insurance offered. Most often, they are purchased in combination:
- Flight Insurance: Flight insurance is fundamentally a life insurance policy that covers you if unfortunately, you die during a trip.
- Cancellation Insurance: This type of insurance covers your expenses in case your trip gets interrupted due to some unforeseen reasons. It covers the non-refundable fees paid for the trip.
- Baggage Insurance: Your luggage may get delayed, lost, or damaged during a trip. Thus, comes this insurance coverage. Most travel insurance policies have this, but most often too, jewelry, electronic gadgets, and other highly valuable items are excluded.
- Medical Insurance: Generally, medical travel insurance picks up and pays for healthcare costs that your primary healthcare policy does not cover. Say you are covered by Social Security disability claims benefits for certain medical conditions, you would still need this type of insurance for occurrences outside of disability claims coverage.
- Evacuation Insurance: In the event of a covered emergency, evacuation insurance covers the cost of transport to the medical facility. However, excluded from the coverage of this type of insurance are dangerous activities.
It is highly recommended by travel experts that when traveling, you purchase a comprehensive kind of travel insurance coverage.
When You Do Not Need It
Think of your vacation as an investment. If you put it that way, of course, you would agree that it is not okay if you are losing money. Nonetheless, if you are spending just a small amount of money on a trip, having such an investment insured is not worth it.
Domestic Travels: Skip It
If you are just taking domestic trips, getting travel insurance is not necessary. Traveling within the country is not a costly investment. An average domestic trip for 4 days only costs $576 per person. More often too, people tend to have everything planned out weeks in advance.
Furthermore, most medical insurance could cover up for any emergencies that might occur during the trip.
Credit Card Company Offers It: Skip It
Before you go ahead and purchase any travel insurance, you might want to check first your credit card company. Some of them in fact offer travel insurance as one of the perks.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has trip interruption insurance that could reimburse up to $10,000 in case of any trip cancellation or whenever such trip is cut short due to covered reasons.
If you have such type of coverage, you may no longer have to purchase additional travel insurance.
When You Need It
As a general rule, you need to purchase travel insurance when going outside of the country.
International Travels: Buy It
International vacations are more expensive than domestic ones. On average, an American who takes an international trip for about 12 days usually spends $3,242.
Also, most international travelers book trips outside of the country several months in advance. And it is for a good reason — to get the best deal on an international flight.
Considering the advance preparations and costs, one should definitely take into consideration a comprehensive coverage that would cover you in various situations.
Medical Reasons: Buy It
Traveling to remote regions sounds like an exciting prospect. However, if something goes awry that requires medical attention, it might be difficult to get and could be very expensive.
To avoid these out-of-pocket expenses, it is highly recommended to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy instead.
It is only you who can weigh whether the price of travel insurance is worth the peace of mind it offers. If so, ensure you shop around to get the best deal on a travel insurance policy. Learn to read the fine print and be very discerning.