When To Purchase Travel Insurance

When To Purchase Travel Insurance

When it comes to traveling, especially for fun like a vacation to an exotic destination, the last thing anyone wants to be worried about is the “what ifs.”  You know, what if my flight is delayed or canceled?  What if my luggage gets lost? What if, what if, what if?  There is a myriad of things that can go wrong when you travel. It’s how they are resolved that can make the difference between whether you enjoy the trip or are stressed the entire time.

I am a planner.  I plan our household budget, dinner with friends or family, everything, especially vacations.  When it comes to planning our holidays, I dig deep into the destination, cost of food and lodging, transportation, things to do, everything.

The one thing I failed to plan on, however, was the “what ifs.”  That was until we began traveling internationally, and the subject of travel insurance came up.

I had never really given much thought to traveling insurance, which was somewhat amusing since, at one point in my career, I traveled quite a bit for work.  I had my luggage lost a couple of times or my flight delayed due to bad weather, but I figured that was just part of flying, and it wasn’t that big of a deal to me.  I never thought much about what would happen if I got sick or injured since my health insurance would cover that.

Whether or not to purchase travel insurance is a personal choice.  Some people feel it is an unnecessary added expense, while others think it is an absolute must.  When considering purchasing travel insurance, there are a few questions that you need to ask:

  • Is it a foreign or domestic trip?
  • How much do you have invested in the trip?
  • How much are you willing to lose if the trip gets canceled

Domestic travel, driving to your destination, and staying with family may not be a great reason to purchase travel insurance.  Now, if you are going to fly, or perhaps spend a month driving the country and seeing the sights, that could be a different story.

Depending on the cost of the trip and whether or not you purchase a non-refundable ticket, you may want to invest the money in a trip cancellation policy.  If you spent $149 on a non-refundable ticket, purchasing insurance would be a waste of money.  You would be missing out on coverage for bags and delays, but ultimately, it’s not cost-effective to purchase a policy.  Now, if you spent $600 on a non-refundable ticket, you may want to reconsider.  A good rule of thumb is if you are not willing to lose more than what you spent on pre-paid and non-refundable expenses should something happen, then you may want to consider it for a domestic trip.

Now, when traveling internationally, I believe that you should always get a travel insurance policy.  As I said before, even if you have health insurance, it more than likely will not cover you in a foreign country and, heaven forbid if something happens, and you need medical attention. That could end up being significant out of pocket expenses that were not in your budget.

When we travel internationally, we always purchase a policy that has emergency medical, dental, trip cancellation, and emergency evacuation coverage.  Most plans include the trip cancellation/evacuation coverage in them, along with the medical, but you can purchase a policy with only the medical coverage if you choose.  Researching the destination and typical weather conditions at the time of year you plan to travel can help in your decision as to whether to purchase cancellation insurance or not.

Since we both SCUBA dive and typically travel to destinations in the Caribbean, having the insurance gives us an added peace of mind. Not only are we covered for medical emergencies, but should a storm build and our trip is canceled, or we need to evacuate in a hurry, we aren’t out all that money.

Another option is to check with your credit card company.  Some have an opportunity to purchase a policy through them for a discounted rate or, in some cases, provide the coverage free.  Many airlines offer plans as well when you book the flight, and it is worth comparing with others to get the best policy for the best price.

You can purchase travel insurance policies with various types of coverage, and I highly recommend you research them before deciding to ensure you get the exact kind of coverage you need for your peace of mind on your next trip.  There are a lot of companies that provide travel insurance policies, and it is super easy to research them online.

If you’re still on the fence about whether to purchase a travel insurance policy for your next great vacation, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What if I need to cancel the trip?
  • What if my flight gets canceled?
  • What if a natural disaster damages my destination? (not just hurricanes but blizzards, floods, volcanoes, anything can happen)
  • What if I get sick or injured on my trip?
  • What if my baggage is damaged or lost?
  • What if my passport is lost or stolen?

These are some of the what-ifs that a travel insurance policy could cover.  It’s ultimately your choice to purchase travel insurance, but given the amount of time and money you spent on the perfect vacation, why risk it with the what-ifs?

To learn more about the many options you have for travel insurance, check out this post from our friends over at ComsumersAdvocate.  They did exhaustive research on all the top travel insurance brands and what each provides.

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Lynnette Vyles

Lynnette is a California native transplanted in Cypress, Texas, where she lives with her husband Charlie and dog Nyk. With a love of the ocean, beaches, travel, road trips, and helping keep our planet clean, she hopes to inspire you to get out and see the world.

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