Do I Need Travel Insurance?

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Last Updated on June 1, 2021 by Mark P.

Your bags are packed, you’ve dropped your furry friends at “doggy daycare”, and your neighbors have happily agreed to collect your mail when you’re gone.

You’re all set for that trip of a lifetime.

Then, it hits you — do I need insurance?

Ok — let’s be honest — you probably don’t think about that. For most people, insurance is not top of mind when there are delicious cocktails and sandy beaches only a plane ride away.

That said, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about insurance as you shuffle off your shoes and stagger through airport security.

What if you get sick? What if there’s a natural disaster, like the current Covid-19 Coronavirus? What if you miss your connection?

No one wants to think about this, of course. But the sad reality is that sometimes these things do happen.  If you’re willing to set aside some time and money, travel insurance can give you peace of mind. So, let’s consider the options:

1) Basic Travel Cancellation Insurance

This type of policy covers the basics. If you’re unable to travel because of an illness, missed flight, or injury, these plans make you whole. They’ll also reimburse you for that all-too-frequent inconvenience — lost luggage.

2) Comprehensive Travel Insurance

Similar to comprehensive auto insurance, these policies come with more bells and whistles. They cover the same situations as the basic — lost luggage, illness, missed flights. But they include additional benefits too. If you suffer a medical or dental emergency, these plans provide coverage. These plans can be particularly necessary when traveling abroad — where medical facilities, prescription medication, and doctors may be scarce and expensive.

So, when should you look to purchase one of these plans?

Well, it depends.  If you’re an American and traveling within the US — it’s probably unnecessary. If you have health insurance, it generally covers emergencies across state lines. You can always check with your coverage provider to be sure.

If, on the other hand, you are traveling abroad, insurance can be crucial. Medical care and costs vary wildly, depending on where you’re going. And while many US insurers do cover costs incurred internationally, it’s no given. In addition to the actual cost of care, medical evacuation can be a cost ranging in the TENS of thousands of dollars. Hiking to a remote location in the Amazon can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but falling ill in the wilderness can incur an immense cost.

So, let’s say you do decide to buy a policy. Where are the best deals?

First, check with your credit card company — they may offer travel insurance as a benefit. After that, your existing insurers (health, life, auto) may offer travel plans at a discounted rate to current members. If nothing else, check with them to see what you’re already covered for during your trip. Finally, check with your travel website. The average cost for an add-on policy is around $164. And while it might mean you have to trim your budget; it might also help you rest a little bit easier.