Medical insurance, car insurance, home owner’s or renter’s insurance – these are things that you need. But what about travel insurance? When planning a trip and making deposits, when does it make sense to invest in travel insurance, and when can you skip it?
Let’s start by establishing that travel insurance is ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT in certain cases and NOT NEEDED in others. It isn’t a scam, nor is it a necessity. The most important thing when making decisions about travel insurance is assessing your particular situation and whether or not travel insurance makes sense for this trip.
When You Need Travel Insurance
You should definitely consider investing travel insurance if:
- You’re going on a trip that costs over $1,500. Adjust this figure according to your own budget and willingness to spend. But basically, if you’re going on a big trip with a lot of up-front costs, such as a cruise or an international trip, travel insurance is probably a good idea.
- You’re traveling with a large group of people. If you’re traveling with your extended family or a reunion group, there may be an above average chance that the trip falls apart or gets rescheduled. Keep these risks in mind when considering travel insurance.
- You have good reason to believe that the trip could get canceled. Maybe you planned a trip during monsoon season, or maybe you have a work schedule that could shift without warning. If you know you may need to cancel, plan ahead with insurance.
- You’ll be taking medical risks on the trip. If you’re going to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, there’s an above average chance that you might need medical care, which travel insurance usually helps cover.
When You Can Skip Travel Insurance
Generally, you’re wasting your money on travel insurance if:
- Your trip costs less than $500. It would be a bummer to lose your deposits, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
- The chances of cancelling your trip are minimal. If you’re taking a routine trip to visit your parents for a weekend in Phoenix, there’s very little chance that anything will go terribly wrong. For trips like this, the risks don’t justify the added costs of insurance.
Understanding What Your Policy Covers
If you think travel insurance might make sense for your trip, there are several things that you need to keep in mind.
- There are A LOT of travel insurance options. Don’t just go with the option that your airline or travel agent or hotel recommends. Do some searching on sites like com to compare quotes from a variety of companies.
- Read the fine print. Many travel insurance options do not cover pre-existing conditions, and many have restrictions on how much you’ll get back.
- Your medical insurance may not help you where you’re traveling. Keep in mind that, in many cases, your medical insurance doesn’t extend to foreign countries. Travel insurance usually covers out-of-pocket medical expenses up to a certain dollar amount. Some also cover medical evacuations. Again, if you’re going on an adventure trek, this could be very important.
And most importantly, you may already have travel insurance without even realizing it. Some travel credit cards include a certain level of travel insurance. Check with your credit card companies to see if you have any of these perks.
You should also keep in mind that if you need to cancel a trip due to a death in the family, many airlines and hotels will refund your reservations regardless of travel insurance.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.