Travel Insurance: Why You Never Want to Travel Without It

travel insurance

Many people think that travel insurance is just an additional cost when traveling or that it’s something that only people who are already ill or have medical conditions should be concerned about. Most people think this way because they don’t realize that they can be more at risk when they are out of town than when they are in their own city or country. Having travel insurance is a way to mitigate the risks when you are away from home. It is always better to be prepared for anything than be sorry later.

Why Do You Need Travel Insurance?

People who are on a trip tend to do things that they don’t normally do like go on city tours, ride public transportation, eat new types of food, go swimming or engage in other recreational activities.

For example, people are more likely to have the stomach flu or food poisoning when they are in new places. Their risk becomes higher than normal because they are put in new situations.

As well, the cost to fly a deceased person home from a foreign country is extremely expensive.

Different Types of Travel Insurance

Physical and health risks are not the only things that people should be prepared for when traveling. People are also at risk of theft or loss of property when they are out of town.

Aside from becoming ill or getting into an accident, there is nothing more aggravating and stressful than losing your luggage or your travel papers and money when you are in another city.

Travel insurance can not only cover medical emergencies and hospitalization, but also baggage or travel document theft or loss, trip cancellation or interruption, and accidental death and dismemberment. Some travel insurance providers even provide rental car insurance.

What You Should Look For When Buying Travel Insurance

Depending on the nature of your trip, you can opt for basic coverage or customize your insurance coverage to fit your travel situation and requirements. Most travel insurance providers have standard coverage plans and customizable coverage plans to suit your preferences.

In all if not most cases, travellers purchase medical and hospitalization coverage in order to be prepared for medical emergencies. Medical services or hospital treatment can be expensive and many medical providers or facilities may prioritize patients who have insurance.

Having travel medical insurance ensures that you are given medical attention and don’t have to shell out a lot of cash in case of accidents or medical emergencies during your trip.

Medical insurance can include medical repatriation coverage. This ensures that in case of medical emergencies, you can be sent home for medical treatment.

Most travellers also purchase trip cancellation or interruption coverage. This type of coverage ensures that you are reimbursed for your travel costs in case your trip is cancelled before your scheduled departure or if your trip is disrupted during its course due to a risk covered by this item.

Most travel insurance plans also include baggage insurance to cover theft, loss or damage to your property during your trip. This includes your luggage, personal effects, travel papers, and currencies.

Some insurance companies can provide you with civil liability coverage as well. This refers to protection for you in case you accidentally damage property or accidentally hurt another person during your travel. Rental car insurance can fall under this category.

How to Obtain Travel Insurance

There are several ways for you to purchase travel insurance. If you have an existing insurance policy or even credit card coverage, you can check them out first to see if they already include coverage when traveling. You can ask your insurance provider or simply read through your insurance document.

If you are purchasing travel insurance for the first time, you need to decide what type of travel insurance you really need. You can read about different coverage plans and decide which ones you need while thinking about your travel itinerary—your destination, travel duration, activities you are planning to do while on your trip, etc.

You can also check with your travel agent about travel insurance. Many airlines or travel agencies partner with travel insurance providers to make it easy for their clients and for themselves.

You can also do your own research online and purchase a travel insurance package from the numerous insurance providers that you can find on the Internet.

Are you taking a trip soon? Will you be purchasing travel insurance?


    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 02/20/2013 5:18 a.m. #

      I just got back from a cruise and we did purchase travel insurance. It's definitely worth it in my opinion, and I'm also a big advocate of all my fellow Americans purchasing insurance, even young adults who think they are healthy and nothing will happen to them!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 2:41 p.m. #

        It is worth it for the peace of mind and for the one time that you just might need it.

        I've actually been on a cruise where a man had a heart attack and had to be airlifted by helicopter off of the ship at midnight. It took over 2 hours and one of the things I thought about was how much that was going to cost him or his family.

    • Holly@ClubThrifty

      Holly@ClubThrifty 02/20/2013 5:21 a.m. #

      We didn't purchase travel insurance for our last trip, but we probably should've. It would really suck to be out all of our money with no recourse to get it back.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 2:45 p.m. #

        Or to have to pay for medical care or to transport a deceased person if that had happened. A cancelled trip isn't the end of the world, but a medical issue can do a lot of damage to our finances.

    • AverageJoe

      AverageJoe 02/20/2013 5:48 a.m. #

      Travel insurance is fantastic (and inexpensive). I'd only add this: make sure you go with a name-brand company. The only problems I've ever seen with travel insurance have been when people used an insurer with a bad track record. Often people compare prices of insurances but forget to check the ratings of the company.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 2:46 p.m. #

        Excellent point, especially if someone is looking for a cheap rate. Personally I always buy our travel insurance from either our bank or our current medical benefit provider.

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 02/20/2013 6:01 a.m. #

      Thanks, Sicorra, for this informative post. I never really knew much about travel insurance or understood why it was so important until now!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 2:48 p.m. #

        I think it provides that added sense of security to know that if anything at all should go wrong you are covered for it.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 02/20/2013 8:03 a.m. #

      Travel insurance is a great way to put your mind at ease when planning a big trip. We've bought it for both of our cruises and will again in the future. Both times involved us flying internationally and dealing with that on top of the hotel stays and cruising it is well worth the cost.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 2:50 p.m. #

        I agree John! We buy it for every trip too. On cruises you never know when a virus will break out and you could end up incredibly sick, or you could go on an island excursion and be in an accident. That too has happened many times.

    • Grayson @ Debt Roundup

      Grayson @ Debt Roundup 02/20/2013 9:23 a.m. #

      I tend to use it on all of my expensive trips. We did it on our cruise and anything that is booked out way in advance just in case I need to cancel. It is really inexpensive and can be a lifesaver.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 2:51 p.m. #

        Booking it to cover the expense of your trip is important as you never know when something will change in your life, but to me the more important part is the medical coverage for accidents or sudden illnesses.

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 02/20/2013 10:32 a.m. #

      I view travel insurance as one of things you might grumble about needing to purchase and then are so grateful when you have it. For big international trips, it really is a must-have. As you mentioned, there are so many things that could wrong and you will be grateful that you were covered. People always think of big, catastrophic events (which certainly could happen) but often times it small things, like food poisoning, that get you. Great post!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 2:54 p.m. #

        Exactly, food poisoning can quickly ruin a trip. The stories of things that have happened to people are so sad and many times it is those people that do not have coverage and then have to borrow the money from friends and family, and quite quickly too.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 02/20/2013 10:33 a.m. #

      I have had good and bad experiences with travel insurance. Mostly what is covered or not. I was sick on one trip and left one night early and they reimbursed a hotel night. I lost a camera lens in a taxi, but had to leave the city. Because I could not file a police report, I was out of luck. I think you really have to think this one through because the coverage is very specific.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 2:58 p.m. #

        True, and it is very specific when it comes to medical as well, which can sometimes be more scary then the actual bad event.

    • Mackenzie

      Mackenzie 02/20/2013 10:50 a.m. #

      I've never utilized the option of travel insurance before, but that was before reading this post. I will now :)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 2:58 p.m. #

        It is something to consider for sure.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 02/20/2013 11:17 a.m. #

      I don't travel much but if I do I'll definitely get some insurance. I know people who have had a loss while traveling and their insurance saved the day.

      Thanks for sharing this information with us Sicorra. Hope you're having a great day.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 3:01 p.m. #

        It is just so important and hopefully always works in your favor. A young couple from our city went to Mexico a few years ago on a last minute vacation and some how the wife was on the elevator in the middle of the night and was severely beaten. They took her to the hospital there for surgery and then her family chartered a private jet to fly her home. Must have cost a mint.

    • CarolB

      CarolB 02/20/2013 3:05 p.m. #

      Thanks for the tips. I am a 50-50 travel insurance purchaser. Meaning, I buy it when I book higher end, pre-paid vacations, or if traveling outside the US, but I don't buy it for other "air-hotel-car" only trips. You do have to be careful with where and with whom to purchase it from. I recently compared prices for purchasing the insurance policy direct from a cruise line with that of our own insurance company's version. I was shocked with how much more the insurance through the cruise was than our insurance company! And it wasn't as good.

      Do you have a favorite place to purchase travel insurance? I've mostly used USAA, our insurance company - to date I've found them to have the best rates.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 02/20/2013 3:24 p.m. #

        For the cruise I wonder if their insurance cost more because the insurance companies pay huge commissions to travel reps. I typically buy a full coverage package, including medical, from the bank we deal with.

        But forget insurance. Where have you cruised? I could talk about cruises all day long :-)

    • Catherine

      Catherine 02/20/2013 7:13 p.m. #

      I've heard terrible horror stories about not having it that I always make sure I have it, it's pretty cheap and totally worth it! One thing to remember though, since I found this out...if you are Pregnant and in the end of your last trimester you will likely be denied trip insurance. We were going to go to Maine when I was 35ish weeks pregnant and couldn't get coverage for me given how late I was! We called 3 places, and were only looking for coverage for 3 days...

    • 02/20/2013 7:28 p.m. #

      A few years ago a couple of co-workers went on vacation to the Atlantic coast. They were going during hurricane season, but it was a slow storm year. They didn't buy any insurance, but the day they left for the trip a hurricane was barreling for their destination. They wished that they had purchased and went another time.

    • KK @ Student Debt Survivor

      KK @ Student Debt Survivor 02/21/2013 7:12 a.m. #

      I'd never purchased travel insurance before, but did so when I was booking tickets for my grandparents. Because they're older you never know when something might happen and they might not be able to travel.

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