Do you really need travel insurance?
With summer upon us, many are planning family vacations and other adventures over the next few months. If you’re among those trailblazing travelers, particularly if you’re planning an international trip, you should be thinking about travel insurance.
We’ve heard it all before: What if I buy it, but I end up not needing it? What if I need it, but I didn’t buy it?
Travel insurance is just like other forms of insurance. It’s a safe investment that protects your monetary well-being. The bottom line is, if you wouldn’t drive a car without car insurance, you should think twice about traveling without travel insurance. Here are some scenarios we’ve seen first-hand.
1. The Expensive Trip
Imagine that you’ve saved and budgeted your money for years. Finally, you booked that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe for you and your significant other. But your flight was delayed, and then your bags were lost. Travel insurance can cover all of these unforseeable complications, so your hard-earned trip isn’t ruined.
In fact, Christopher Elliot of USA Today suggests getting travel insurance whenever you are spending more than $5,000 on a vacation. He calls this “a big-ticket purchase.” Of course, this number might be significantly higher or lower for you. Ultimately, though, if you are investing quite a bit of money into a vacation, when things go wrong, it can feel catastrophic. Travel insurance protects you and your investment.
2. The Delayed Trip
The list of reasons for which your flight can be delayed is seemingly endless. Mechanical issues, security problems, the weather, congested airline traffic, and late arrivals of other planes are just some of the common reasons. Unfortunately, some delays last several hours and sometimes even overnight. While airlines are obligated to get you on the next available flight, they are not required to provide other compensation. Travel insurance can pay for things such as food and lodging for the night.
Think about the time of year you are traveling, the likely weather in the areas where your flight will be taking off and landing, and that airport’s history of delays. You may find it is worth paying for travel insurance just to make sure that you do not end up spending the night sleeping in the airport, or paying extra money to book a hotel for the night.
3. The Complex-Itinerary Trip
Doesn’t it seem like the more complex something is, the more likely it is that something will go wrong? Well, the more places you have on your itinerary, the more likely something could go wrong on your trip. With more connections and more area traversed, there’s simply more opportunities for items to be lost or stolen. Travel insurance isn’t regional, so it has you covered.
4. The International Trip Without Adequate Medical Insurance
Even if you have good medical insurance in the United States, you may not have the same great coverage if you take a trip to China, Germany, Australia, or another international destination. For example, with very few exceptions, Medicare will not cover medical care or supplies outside of the United States and its territories.
Many other health-insurance companies have their own policies concerning whether or not they will cover you abroad, as well as what services are they’ll cover. It is a good idea to check with your health-insurance provider before your trip so you can get a better understanding of your international insurance coverage.
Of course, medical insurance might not be much of an issue if you are in good health and you are going to a relatively safe destination. If, though, you anticipate potential health problems or if you are going to a more dangerous location, it is worth considering travel insurance to cover any potential medical expenses.
Plus, even if you are good health, medical expenses cannot always be anticipated. If your insurance does not cover you in another country, your safest route is investing in travel insurance. Lack of sufficient medical-insurance coverage in another country could end up costing you thousands of dollars.
5. The “Maybe” Trip
Although you cannot always anticipate a change in plans, if you think there is a potential that you will either need to cancel or reschedule a trip, it is a good idea to make sure that you have travel insurance to avoid higher cancellation or rebooking fees. Yes, it will cost you slightly more for you tickets upfront, but it could save you money in the end.
6. The Dangerous Trip
Although there are a number of reasons you may need to make changes in your travel plans, one reason would be a potentially dangerous situation at your travel destination. The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consumer Affairs, actually has a place on their website where you can view Alerts and Warnings for international travel destinations. But keep in mind that if you knowingly go into a dangerous country or region, particularly one where the U.S. government has warned citizens to not go, your travel insurance will likely be void.
We understand that not everyone wants to buy travel insurance and not everyone feels like travel insurance is necessary. If you should decide that travel insurance is right for you, for any of the mentioned reasons, or for reasons of your own, it is important to remember three things.
- Keep your paperwork. Whether you suffer an injury, have to file a police report, or have other issues on your trip, having the appropriate paperwork readily available can help to ensure your travel insurance covers all expenses and is able to do this in a timely fashion.
- Travel insurance is not a ticket to do whatever you want and leave common sense behind, expecting your travel insurance provider to cover for you. This does not mean you cannot participate in activities such as bungee jumping, mountain climbing, or scuba diving with sharks. You would just need “extreme sports coverage.”
- Not all travel insurance is exactly the same. Different policies cover different things. For example, some policies allow you to cancel or reschedule no matter the reason, while others are more strict.
Overall, one simple principle to operate by is this: The greater the coverage, the greater the initial cost, but the larger the payoff in the end if something does go wrong. It is important to check with your insurance agent to see what is and what is not covered by your policy. Our agents will work with you to find the policy which fits best with your needs and will work to clarify any confusion.