As accidents can sometimes happen even in the most carefully planned trips, it often helps to have travel insurance handy to help cushion the financial blow of situations that involve unexpected illness, a cancelled trip or a lost suitcase. Yet, not every traveler absolutely needs to have it, especially if you’re flying low-budget and at relatively low risk.
Here are some factors to consider when you’re not unsure whether or not to purchase travel insurance:
- Total cost of travel
Is it really worth it to ensure a plane ticket that costs $99? Of course not. However, if you’re spending $10,000 on a honeymoon in Bali or if you’re going to Australia for three weeks, that’s a different story. It all boils down to how much you are spending and whether or not it is an investment that you’ll want to protect.
- International travel
While there are very little risks associated with domestic travel, international travel is a different story. So if you’re planning on traveling between continents, it only makes sense to buy travel insurance to keep you protected. Apart from being able to claim full refunds on your plane tickets if you’re unable to go, it can also cover for your costly medical bills if you get into an accident while abroad.
- Traveling during blizzard/hurricane/typhoon season
Reality is, it is impossible for anyone to predict the weather. However, some times of the year are just trickier than others. For example, January is a primetime for blizzards in North America, while September in the Caribbean is at the heart of its hurricane season. You don’t want to be caught in an airport unable to go home because you don’t have extra cash to pay for the next flight out. Travel insurance could cushion the financial damage if Mother Nature delays or cancels your trip.
- Existing coverage
Nowadays, most companies provide health insurance coverage for their employees’ emergency care while abroad. However it is important to check rather than assume. You should also check whether your home insurance covers for the cost of lost or stolen luggage and belongings, or whether your credit card company provides coverage for trip cancellation or flight delays if you pay for your trip using the credit card.
5. Peace of mind
If the risks of traveling are really bugging you, spending on travel insurance might be a good investment for you if it means being able to relax and not worry about money throughout the entire duration of your trip.
What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
Coverage will vary from company to company, but in general, it protects all travelers from the following disasters that can result in financial hardship:
- Trip interruption or cancellation
As most people book their trips in advance, unexpected circumstances may come up that will change their travel plans. In the event that you get sick, a family member dies or a natural disaster foils your plans, having this coverage allows you to claim for a refund for travel expenses you’ve already paid for months ahead of your original departure date.
- Medical expenses
As traveling can make you more susceptible to acquiring transmittable diseases or more prone to vehicular accidents due to lack of road safety knowledge, having medical coverage while abroad is definitely a wise idea. Even if your insurer does cover some international expenses, out-of-network costs can still add up.
- Lost or damaged baggage / Stolen belongings
Millions of suitcases are lost, stolen or damaged while in transit. And while some airlines offer compensation to their travelers, you can most certainly expedite the claim process through your insurance company. Most insurance providers offer to pay up to the original amount of your bags, while some may even reimburse you if you have to purchase items because your bags were delayed.
If you are convinced that you need travel insurance for you and your family, here are some excellent options to consider:
- Travel Guard offers different travel insurance plans depending on your needs. To make it more convenient, they even have annual renewable plans for frequent travellers.
- TravelEx makes it simple for travelers to insure their travelers. You can either choose from the Basic, Select or Max coverage plans, as well as upgrade your coverage with add-ons especially suited to your plans or activities.
- IMG has been providing travel insurance since the 1990. Aside from a wide array of travel medical plans, they also have packages covering more traditional travel insurance benefits including trip cancellation and lost baggage.
Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your travel insurance:
- Understand your travel insurance needs
In order to get the best travel insurance, you first need to carefully consider the itinerary of your trip and understand the risks you are looking at avoiding. So, if there’s a likelihood that you’re business trip is going to get cancelled, then it makes sense for you to get a “cancel for any reason” add-on in your insurance plan. Likewise, if you’re planning to do a cross-country bike tour, then you should be looking at insurance plans with extensive medical insurance coverage abroad.
- Buy insurance as soon as possible
It is highly recommended that you purchase your travel insurance right after booking your flights. Even though you can wait until closer to departure, there’s a chance something will happen that will affect your plans and you can’t get a travel insurance policy only after you know about it.
- Select an insurance policy that allows to cancel for any reason
Depending on the duration of your trip, you don’t want to get tied down with an annual coverage if your trip will only last for a few days or weeks. It is best to go for an insurance provider that allows you to cancel at any time and without a fee.
In the end, the decision to buy travel insurance ultimately depends on the risks you’re willing to take. However, if you have the extra cash to spare, it is absolutely worth it to help you feel more at peace with your trip!