This blog post was updated on April 30, 2020.
A lot of planning goes into a trip. From booking flights and hotels to planning what you’ll wear, there are a thousand things to consider. And while most of the planning is fun, there are a few serious factors to consider before you finish packing — such as travel insurance. Most people barely know what it is, let alone if they really need it. That’s where we come in: we’ve got everything you need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of travel insurance.
Understanding Travel Insurance
At the basic level, travel insurance provides you with coverage should the unexpected occur. If you get sick while traveling or there is some sort of emergency, travel insurance can literally be a lifesaver. Should you lose your luggage or end up needing to cancel your trip, insurance could end up keeping you from losing thousands of dollars. Basically, it can be a great way to breathe easy while you travel, knowing that you’re covered in case of a crisis.
Before you decide to shell out a hefty sum for travel insurance, you should do a little research. All travel insurance is not created equal; different policies cover different things, so make sure you find the one that’s right for you. Some factors to consider include the number of people traveling (and whether any are children), where you’re going, how long you’ll be staying, and what sort of activities you’ll be enjoying. Answer as honestly as possible, to ensure you get the policy that best fits your specific needs.
The Price Is Right
So, do you automatically need insurance every time you hit the road? Not necessarily. If your insurance doesn’t cover aspects of the trip, it might not be worth the overall cost — particularly if you can get coverage elsewhere (but more on that later). Do you have a preexisting medical condition? Make sure that’s covered too, or you could incur some unexpected costs. At the end of the day, weighing the cost of insurance against the risks of going without depends on your specific circumstances. That being said, most people tend to not bother if the cost of the trip is under $5,000.
While it’s generally considered acceptable to skip out on insurance if you’re traveling locally, for international travels it’s a must. Even if the cost of the trip is under the aforementioned $5,000, the risks of overseas disasters should make you think twice about skipping insurance. Should you end up stranded without your passport in parts unknown, travel insurance could end up being your ticket home.
Ensuring a Good Time
If you’ve decided your trip would benefit from travel insurance, there are seemingly endless options on plans — which can often seem overwhelming. Generally speaking, your best bet is going to be to buy insurance directly through providers, online. That cuts out the middleman and grants you some freedom in picking the perfect package. Take your time when choosing your coverage; do you need evacuation coverage or a cancellation policy? What specific concerns do you have about your trip? By taking the right precautions beforehand, you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your trip.
Check Your Credit
Remember when we mentioned other ways to get coverage? Your credit card could be one of them. Many popular cards offer coverage add-ons. Call your company and ask them for the details, and what exactly their coverage includes. You can often get great discounts and deals this way. But be careful: some credit card companies only honor trips purchased with their cards — or will expect you to get a specific card to cash in on the deals.
Have any travel insurance tips that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!