Do you need travel insurance?

Written by
Peter Dunn

You've budgeted and saved and you are going on a trip. It's an exciting time and you are ready to relax and not worry about your finances for a few days, but don't relax just yet. Have you purchased travel insurance?

Travel insurance sounds like either a scam or something only overprotective senior citizens need, but it's not. It can be a great protection for yourself and your trip.

Here's the most common travel insurance experience, it begins with you purchasing a flight online. By the time you finally get to the checkout you've gone back and forth ten times making sure you've selected the right time, flight, day, seat, and price. It's stressful and you just want to be done. You've clicked 'No, thanks' to seventeen offers for hotels and rental cars by the time you finally start to see the light at the end of the flight purchasing tunnel. Then it pops up, the travel insurance option. You skim it, but then decide it sounds like a waste of money/it's too confusing/you're tired/ too many options and you move on to confirm your purchase.

And maybe you don't need it. If you are traveling within the US and your flight costs are minimal, adding on travel insurance probably isn't necessary. Just know there is a very minor chance you'll miss your flight for some unforeseen reason and you won't be able to recoup those costs. Also, it's smart to check your out-of-state health insurance coverage before you leave. But if you are spending thousands of dollars on a flight to Bora Bora and your health insurance doesn't cover out of the country expenses, $70 for travel insurance is totally worth it. It will not only provide you with peace of mind, but it's a smart way to protect yourself and your financial investment in the trip.

Take for example one of my employees. When planning her trip to Europe she added travel insurance on a whim. It was $45. Cut to her in an emergency clinic in a foreign country after an accident, putting $1,200 of medical expenses on a credit card. But when she came home she filed a claim with her travel insurance company and a few weeks later she got a $1,200 reimbursement check. Turned out to be an intuitive whim.

Most travel insurance plans will cover you from the following circumstances:

Trip cancellation

Trip interruption

Trip delay

Emergency evacuation/repatriation

Medical expenses

Lost/stolen baggage

Flight accident protection

Just like any insurance you purchase, you hope you don't have to use it. You don't buy car insurance hoping you'll get into an accident just so you can get back some of the money you invest. No, you buy it for peace of mind and for the off chance something does go wrong. My advice? Buy travel insurance and hope you never have to use it.

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