A Guide to Every Traveler’s Question – Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

The average American has 10 days of paid vacation per year. Letting those days go to waste can be devastating to those who spend 50 weeks a year fantasizing about the other two. That’s why so many wonder, “Should you buy travel insurance?”

The answer can be tricky. Travel insurance isn’t required like car insurance and it’s not as commonly spoken about as life insurance. Because every trip is different, there’s no blanket answer. But here’s how to figure out if coverage is the smart choice for your next excursion.

What is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is a protection plan that can be purchased before a trip or vacation. It protects against the financial risks and losses associated with being on the road (or an airplane, boat, etc.).

Travel insurance plans are all different, but you should be able to find one that protects you from one or several of the following potential occurrences.

  • Damaged, lost, stolen, or delayed luggage
  • Trip delay resulting in accommodation expenses
  • Injury or illness resulting in treatment, hospitalization, and/or evacuation
  • Trip cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness or weather

This is just a small selection of incidents travel insurance covers. If you’re looking for coverage, speaking with an insurance agent is the fastest way to find a plan that includes the perils you’re more concerned about.

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

It’s normal to be nervous about purchasing travel insurance. While you want to make sure your investment is covered, you don’t want to waste resources that could be applied to the trip instead.

To help you make the best decision, here are three scenarios to compare with your planned trip. Could they happen to you?

Cruise ship cancellation

You’re supposed to board a cruise ship in two weeks, but a hurricane is expected to make landfall. The cruise line has no choice but to cancel the excursion. Travel insurance that covers cancellation can ensure you’re reimbursed for any fees not paid back by the cruise company.

Injury abroad

You’re halfway through your dream European vacation when the unthinkable happens. A car accident leaves you with serious injuries and your health plan doesn’t cover medical costs incurred abroad. Because emergency medical transportation alone can leave you with a six-figure medical bill, travel insurance can help you get the medical attention you need without leaving you in debt.

Weekend getaway

You and your family are planning a weekend getaway to your vacation cabin. Do you need travel insurance for a short trip? In some instances, yes, especially if you’re concerned the trip could be cancelled or weather might play a role. But in this scenario, you’re probably okay without it. Your car insurance should cover you for any road-related incidents while homeowners’ insurance should cover anything that happens on your property (just be sure to double check with the corresponding insurance agents for your other plans).

Travel Insurance Tips

If you’ve decided travel insurance is the right answer for your next vacation, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Don’t base your plan choice solely on cost. The cheapest plan probably won’t cover much but the most expensive might not be the best. Consider perils and payout limits before plan pricing when shopping for travel insurance.
  • Consider purchasing a multi-trip plan if you take several trips a year. This type of plan can mean smaller premiums compared to purchasing several single-trip plans a year.
  • Know who and what family plans cover. Ask your insurance agent if your plan covers your partner and children, and whether you need to be with them for coverage (would they still be covered if you had to come home early?).
  • Always purchase your insurance as soon as you book your trip. Waiting until the last minute puts you at risk for having a claim denied.

The average vacation costs nearly $1,200 per person. Don’t gamble with your time off, hard-earned money, and family memories in the making. Stop wondering if you should buy travel insurance and look into a plan that protects your trip without leaving you strapped for cash. The perfect balance of protection is out there if you need it.

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