Do you have car insurance? Home insurance? Health insurance—life insurance?! If you are responsible (and have the means), you most certainly do. So let’s assume that, since you’re reading a travel blog, you do in fact have the means to purchase insurance.
When’s the last time you purchased travel insurance for a trip?
That long, huh? Well let’s go over what travel insurance is and why it’s a good idea to purchase some for your next trip!
What It Is
Travel insurance is just what it sounds like: insurance that covers your travel. Not only does it cover trip interruption and cancellation, it also covers your health costs abroad. (If you are insured under an American health insurance company, your health insurance almost certainly doesn’t cover anything out of the country.) Travel insurance also covers lost luggage, and emergency evacuations, as well as often offering a host of non-insurance related perks like travel assistance for finding a hospital/doctor nearby.
Basically any problem that might occur on your trip can be covered by travel insurance.
Why You Need It
I’m not here to try to sell you a product—I just want you to understand how important travel insurance can be. The tourism industry is run by businesses—businesses that have very strict policies about cancellation. They don’t care if you have to cancel your trip because a relative died, or you lost your job, or you got called up for jury duty.
Unless you purchased insurance, all the money you invested in your trip goes bye-bye (and you don’t even get to go on your trip).
But that’s just the trip cancellation part.
Accidents can happen on even the best trip.
They don’t even have to be serious—you could twist your ankle on a cobblestone in Italy. Maybe your body hasn’t adapted to the germs at the destination you’re visiting and you get sick—it happens! If you’re traveling within the US it’s not too big of a deal to get sick on a trip. Your health insurance should cover an ER visit (after your deductible) no matter where you are in the country.
But that’s not the case abroad.
If you want your medical costs to be covered when you travel, travel insurance is a must! In the event that you get really sick or injured and it’s necessary to get you back home ASAP, it can take tens of thousands of dollars for medical evacuation. Yes, I said TENS OF THOUSANDS. I don’t think you’ll get that ill or injured on a trip, but neither of us has any way of knowing that, and it would not be worth the risk.
Why You Wouldn’t Need It
I always advocate purchasing general travel insurance that covers trip cancellation/interruption and medical expenses/evacuation. But sometimes insurance policies offer more than you actually need.
There are companies devoted to selling only travel insurance, and they offer a whole host of travel insurance options. Some travel insurance policies include the option to add flight insurance in the event of a crash. This is generally unnecessary because credit cards and airlines often have their own insurance to cover any losses. The same goes for baggage coverage—if your baggage gets lost your credit card’s insurance will generally cover it.
(But always check with your credit card and airline before making insurance decisions!)
Travel insurance companies (and rental car companies) also often offer car collision insurance, but if you have personal car insurance (and if you’re renting a car, you’d better), your car insurance will cover any damage to a rental car or damage caused by a rental car.
Cruise lines and tour companies offer insurance, but often it’s incomplete. Their insurance covers any liability they have in the event that they cancel a tour/cruise or go bankrupt. They’ll also reimburse you in some way if your trip gets interrupted. But if you’re more concerned with missing your trip because you might get sick or jury duty, their insurance won’t cover it. And that’s when it’s best to go with a third-party travel insurance company.
Always read insurance fine print thoroughly before making a decision.
I can’t make the decision to buy travel insurance for you!
Now get out there and go!