Should you Buy Travel Insurance?
A sudden emergency, bad weather or lost luggage can turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. Travel insurance offers peace of mind, covering cancellations, medical emergencies and more. Check out these common travel insurance scenarios to see if you could benefit from travel insurance on your next trip.
What does travel insurance cover?
Trip cancellations or interruptions
Sometimes, situations beyond your control impact your travel plans. Weather, family tragedies, illness, work and other issues can cause you to cancel, postpone or interrupt your trip.
- Weather or worker delays: Some travel insurance policies offer reimbursement for trips interrupted by worker strikes or the weather.
- Sickness, injury or death: An illness, injury or death of you or a loved one might require a trip cancellation. With the right coverage it won’t cost the policyholder financially.
- Work-related interruptions: If work interferes with your ability to travel, you can cancel and get your money back with the right coverage. The same is true if you become unemployed and can’t afford to take your planned trip.
Many health insurance policies will not pay for services incurred outside of their coverage network. This can leave travelers facing huge medical bills in the event of an issue during a trip. Travel insurance can make up the difference.
- Emergency evacuation: If you suffer from a medical emergency during a trip, your travel insurance may cover medical and ambulance (and even evacuation by plane) expenses.
- Dental coverage: A dental emergency may not be immediately life threatening, but it can certainly ruin a vacation. Be sure that your dental coverage protects you where you’re visiting, or consider including it in your travel insurance plan.
- Pre-existing condition coverage: A pre-existing condition can act up at any time, but many travel insurance policies will not cover them. Ask about pre-existing conditions since premium policies may include this type of coverage.
Anything that interrupts a trip, including missing your connecting flight, could leave you struggling to meet back up with your travel group. Travel insurance picks up the bill for transportation services that you need to keep you on schedule.
- Canceled flight coverage: If your flight is canceled and it causes you to miss a connection, travel insurance can pay for a hotel stay and a new flight as soon as it’s available.
- Easy logistics: When you miss a flight, it can throw your entire itinerary out of whack, but your travel insurance company should be able to do the work to put you back on track.
- Interruption coverage: If something happens at home, and you need to cut your trip short, travel insurance can help cover the cost of return fare and reimburse the unused portion of your trip.
Lost or stolen baggage or belongings
Lost, delayed or damaged luggage can start any trip on the wrong foot. It can also cost an arm and a leg to buy an emergency wardrobe for a vacation.
- Clothing allowance: If your luggage is lost, be sure to ask your insurer about a clothing allowance to help you get through your vacation and replace your missing items.
- Property replacement: It’s not uncommon for people to travel with valuable items like jewelry or personal care products. Be sure to discuss them with your insurance company before traveling to ensure they’re covered for replacement.
- Luggage delays: If your luggage is permanently lost, your travel insurance would probably replace it, but if it’s only delayed, you might need to deal with some interim needs. Insurance could pay for an outfit or two and for toiletries, just to hold you over until your luggage can be delivered.
Typically, travel insurance covers a specific trip, which is arranged in advance. If you decide to extend your vacation, you might lose your travel insurance. With that in mind, consider the following:
- Ask about policy extensions: It’s always a good idea to know ahead of time whether you can also extend your travel insurance coverage if you decide on the fly to extend your trip.
- Long-term and short-term policies: Many travel insurance policies only cover a short time-frame, sometimes only a week or two. If you plan to travel more extensively, be sure to ask about long-term options.
- Limited coverage on extensions: Some travel insurance may allow for limited extensions with little to no extra cost. They may not include all premium services, however, so it’s important to find out what is and is not covered on an extension.