Do I Really Need Travel Insurance?
Do the current attacks and events have you a little nervous about travel? It may be time to reconsider travel insurance.
This is a question that has personally confused me over the years. First, how do you know if you need it? Second, how do you pick it?
I think the answer is there are a few “ifs” and a lot you need to check out. Fortunately, it’s getting much easier to know whether you need it, and then to find the right coverage.
What to consider…
Where are you traveling?
If you’re headed to the coast with the kids for a weekend you probably don’t need travel insurance. Headed down the road to visit Grandma? Same answer.
If you are traveling over 100 miles, have to prepay for tickets, expensive events, or a tour, you may want coverage.
Keywords are “prepaid” and “non-refundable”. You can’t get insurance to reimburse you for money you haven’t spent.
If you are flying, you may want coverage in case there are flight delays or baggage issues.
Sit down with pen and paper and add up trip costs that are non-refundable. Things like pre-paid flights, hotel, all-inclusive packages, tour packages and event tickets. This will show you the travel coverage that you need.
International has more considerations. It’s more expensive and insurance coverage that you have may not cover you.
- If traveling internationally, you may want to supplement your health insurance. This may also cover emergency medical evacuation. Medicare does not cover international travelers.
- Are you a regular traveler? You can purchase coverage that covers all your travels in a year. There are some restrictions and caveats.
- Another way to save on insurance is to cover all family members traveling together on the same policy.
- Be aware of the limits and exclusions on the policy.
- Think about extra coverage – for failure of an airline, cruise ship or travel
- Activity coverage. There are a lot of common tourist activities that are only covered if you request this. You may not ride an elephant or camel at home, but tourists do this. One woman was badly hurt falling off a camel.
- Winter sports are a lot of fun but can lead to accidents. You need these covered, just in case.
- “Cancel for any reason” this covers you for all eventualities. This covers you for things that are foreseeable but unavoidable. If you are traveling with a known medical condition, it’s the only way you can get reimbursed for last minute cancellation.
- What about coverage through my airline reservation? Do some comparisons. These generally are much more restrictive and harder to receive reimbursement on.
Will you be driving internationally? Most travel policies do not cover international car rental. Your existing auto insurance may not cover this. Some credit card benefits do cover international car rental – check it out. But there are specific restrictions you need to be aware of. Reading the fine print is the only way to know.
When you start making reservations, you need to find desired coverage right away. Most companies require you to purchase coverage within 10-21 days of making your initial purchase. If you have additional purchases to make, contact the company.
Once you have decided what you need, you need to go to an insurance comparison website. Three of the leaders are:
I recently used Squaremouth based on a travel insurance review that I read. The company is top rated and has 44,795 travel insurance reviews. They made it easy to compare coverage and find exactly what I needed. And the price was less than I was expecting to have to pay.
[Note: I have no financial interest in Squaremouth and receive no reimbursement from them.]
Take documentation with you
In addition to your travel documentation, be sure to take copies and contact information for:
- your travel insurance policy
- international health care coverage
- credit card details on international car rental if applicable
Proper insurance coverage will allow you to relax and travel knowing you have it covered.