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Everyone hopes for a flawless, easy vacation. But what if something goes wrong far from home? That’s when you need travel insurance. On the other hand, most of the time, you aren’t going to use it. So how do you know? Read on for the basics on what it is, when you need it, and when you don’t.
Travel insurance is an additional insurance policy covering travelers in certain situations while they’re away. There are two basic types of coverage. One covers just your flight. The other covers various emergencies you might encounter such as medical traumas, natural disasters, terrorism, and more. The exact situations covered will depend on the policy you purchase. You can purchase plans through independent providers or through your travel provider. But why would you want to add another expense to your travel budget? Well, some kinds of travel are riskier than others. Let’s look at when travel insurance is a must-have and when you might skip it.
Travel insurance covering flights only is not generally necessary. Yes, flights can be delayed or even canceled, but as a paying customer, you have rights in these situations. If your flight is canceled, the airline will likely put you on the next available flight, so extra insurance wouldn’t make a difference. Save your money and upgrade to business class!
Domestic travel does not typically require travel insurance. If you’re just doing a short (or short-ish) domestic trip where you can rely on your own health coverage, you’re unlikely to encounter any issues you can’t handle. Save your money for a dinner out! However, if you’re going to be climbing Denali or engaging in extreme sports in remote areas, consider medical or evacuation coverage to supplement your existing health coverage.
Some credit cards offer travel insurance as a benefit. Check your wallet to see what you have, if you’re covered and for how much. If your card covers more than the cost of your trip, you could be all set. But keep in mind that coverage varies by card. If you have specific concerns, get all the details before you decide.
We highly recommend travel insurance for international travel. These trips are typically much more expensive than domestic travel, so losses may be much higher. People also plan these trips far in advance. That’s great for getting the best price but it raises the chances you may need to change or cancel your plans. Coverage for international travel can help. International travelers are also at greater risks for medical issues. More on that next.
When you’re far from home and far from familiar medical facilities, travel insurance is a very good idea. In addition to the risks of international travel listed above, international travelers are often far from medical treatment. Add the risks of food poisoning and illness from eating from street vendors in Mumbai or breaking your wrist falling off your motorbike in Thailand, and medical costs could really add up. And if you need to be evacuated in the event of an emergency, it can easily cost up to $50,000 (Source: US State Department).
Like international travel, cruises are also expensive and need to be booked far in advance. In addition, a vacation at sea is at the whim of Mother Nature. Hurricanes, rough seas and other weather issues can leave your ship landlocked. Finally, we’ve all heard stories of seasickness and ship-wide stomach viruses that leave travelers miserable. Why take chances? Get insurance for your cruise.
We hope you have a great vacation with the peace of mind insurance can provide. For more tips on what to do when things go wrong on vacation, click here.
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