Travelers worldwide are often riddled with this question when booking a trip—should I purchase travel insurance? When already spending a large sum of money on a vacation, it can be easy to question if an additional cost is worth it. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering if travel insurance is the right decision for you. We’re here to help! In this guide, you will learn when travel protection might come in handy.
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a pre-purchased plan to guard a traveler against unexpected losses and risks that they might encounter while away from home. For example, last-minute cancellations, delayed luggage, or medical emergencies are all items covered by insurance. However, benefits will vary depending on the policy purchased. In general, an insurance package might not cover every possible situation but will encompass typical scenarios that travelers experience.
Below slides give you a bird’s eye view into how travel insurance can be a life saver for your travels:
- Trip cancellation protection. Travelers will get reimbursed should they decide to cancel a trip due to sickness or injury. This protection also covers instances when a connecting flight is missed or a natural disaster takes place.
- Personal items and baggage. If your bags get stolen, delayed, or lost, this type of insurance can compensate you for missing items.
- Travel accident insurance. When traveling abroad, accidents can happen, just like they do at home. Unfortunately, many healthy insurance plans only cover medical costs in your country of residence. With travel accident insurance, ambulance rides, doctor visits, hospital admission, and prescriptions will typically be provided for on your trip abroad.
- Dismemberment or accidental death. Should anyone in your group suffer a life-altering accident, this type of insurance can pay up to $500,000, depending on the gravity of the situation.
- Comprehensive insurance. This plan includes all the essential cancellation protection along with coverage for dental or medical emergencies. It could also provide for disaster evacuations. In short, it’s a combination of medical and travel insurance.
How much does it cost?
Insurance for a trip usually costs anywhere from four to ten percent of the total price of your overall, non-refundable travel expenses. For instance, insurance for a $5000 trip would likely cost between $250 to $500. These travel insurance rates will be affected by variables such as age, length of travel, the number of travelers, and coverage type. For instance, a 65-year-old vacationer would likely need to pay higher costs for travel insurance. However, if you’re on a trip with minors, they might be included in a plan for free or at a reduced price.
How it works
Travel insurances commonly provide reimbursement to cover financial losses after your claim is validated. To do this, you must submit certain proofs and documents required by the insurance company, which they will then verify.
Say, for example, you purchased a trip cancellation protection. Two days before your scheduled departure, you fall sick with chest pain and a high fever. Upon checkup, you are found to have pneumonia and advised to cancel your trip. While the flight or cruise might refuse to give you a refund, having this insurance can help you recover the money you invested on vacation.
Other insurances will pay upfront if you need emergency treatment or transportation. You may also be eligible for a fixed payment for baggage and travel delays, depending on what the purchased plan covers.
When do you need travel insurance?
Experts suggest buying travel insurance when going out of the country, especially trips extending for several weeks or months. Overall, going out of the country will generally cost more than domestic travel. An international trip typically lasts twelve days and costs over $3000 per vacationer. With the additional time and money you’re already spending, you are more likely to benefit from buying a comprehensive insurance package to cover the variety of unforeseen events that can occur when overseas.
If you are an adventurer planning that one-of-a-kind trip to the Alps or the Inca Trail, travel insurance could be more of a necessity. Medical help, especially internationally, can be tricky for foreigners. Many countries won’t honor your existing health insurance card, so expect to pay upfront. Travel protection can cover your transportation to a medical facility, hospital stay, and the costs of going home. Compared to the potential for a massive expense for such emergencies, travel insurance is worth buying.
While cruises are often a relaxing experience, we believe they are one of the most viable candidates for comprehensive insurance coverage. Travers pay large sums upfront, typically go on an international journey, and face a variety of medical and natural disaster risks. We recommend a comprehensive plan for cruise travelers, especially if traveling during hurricane season. This is a wise way to protect your vacation investment and yourself from potential mishaps along the way.
When do you NOT need travel insurance?
You don’t want to buy travel protection if there isn’t a pressing need for it. Here are a few examples where you can skip the insurance altogether.
Cheap, domestic trips
When traveling domestically, your health insurance would likely cover any medical emergencies you might encounter. Additionally, if you find a discounted fare to a nearby state, upfront costs will be low and thus, there’s less risk involved in skipping insurance.
Remember, lost baggage won’t be covered, but that can be avoided if you stick with a carry-on and personal item. To avoid impact from uncovered delays, either book a direct flight or leave extra room on a layover in case of delay.
Check your credit cards
Several credit cards include travel insurance as a perk. Certain Citi credit cards have cancellation and baggage protection, while Chase Sapphire Preferred offers trip interruption insurance due to severe weather or illness. You can check with your bank about cards with built-in insurance and how you can score one, so you don’t have to shoulder additional costs for travel protection.
If you know your rights as a passenger, you might not be tempted to buy basic cancellation insurance. For example, you are entitled to get a seat on the next flight available should your booked flight get canceled. Having a basic cancellation plan won’t make a lot of difference in rebooking quickly.
Buying travel insurance
If you decide to go ahead with insurance for an upcoming trip, we recommend adding travel protection within two week of placing a deposit for your vacation. Weigh in the pros and cons as thoroughly as possible, but don’t stall longer than necessary as rates could change, or you might miss out on additional perks and benefits.
Moreover, we recommend reading over the insurance document after you’ve purchased a plan. Most policies have a 15 day period to review your coverage. After this time, premiums are likely to be non-refundable.
If you are an avid traveler, an annual travel insurance package might be the best choice for you. This could potentially save you thousands of dollars by bypassing the additional costs of adding a protection plan every time you book a trip.
Travel insurance: to get or not to get?
The fact is that you won’t need insurance on each trip you take. There is a high chance of your vacation going smoothly without a hiccup. However, you can’t wholly ignore the potential mishaps and when more money is involved, it is often worth it to protect your travel investment.
If you are ready to hop on a plane or cruise for your next vacation, make sure to check out Rentaltrader.com to help you settle the details of your trip. Our knowledgeable staff can guide you through booking and provide expert advice on travel insurance and other necessities for your travel. Make sure to fill out our Rental Trader web form or call us so we can discuss how we can help you!