Travel Insurance…don’t leave home without it!
A waste of money? A necessary evil? A wise precaution?
Why you should (almost) always get travel insurance:
On our link to this page we said “don’t leave home without it”. It is one of those things that, if you end up not needing it, you think it was just a waste of money, but if you ever need it, and did not buy it.…. you will really regret it. It can save you, literally, thousands of dollars.
Let’s face it, most of us don’t really understand insurance policies…they’re boring and confusing.
Here are some important reasons that you might need travel insurance:
1. Travel insurance helps to avoid some very expensive cancellation penalties imposed by airlines, cruise lines and tour companies in case you have to cancel your trip for certain reasons. And many of these travel insurance providers now offer a “cancel for any reason” option (for a higher premium, of course).
And if you get sick overseas and need to fly home, that can really get expensive, costing anywhere from $25,000 to #100,00. You can read more here.
2. Accident or illness while traveling overseas: Most travel insurance covers illness overseas, which are not covered by Medicare or most private insurance companies. This is something most people think about, but can be a financial disaster. Here is one example:
True story: someone fell down and broke a hip in Jerusalem. After a hospital stay of over 10 days she was flown back to the U.S. The insurance covered the hospital stay, plus the flight home. And that flight alone could have cost thousands of dollars! Medical evacuation is included in most plans.
3. If there is a death or illness in your immediate family and you (and your traveling companion) need to cut the trip short and return home. Insurance will help cover the cost of plane fare, etc. Or the incident may occur just prior to departure and your cancellation penalties are already in effect.
4. You or a traveling companion become ill before the trip and have to cancel. Most insurance plans will cover all cancellation penalties. These penalties can be as much as 100% of what you paid depending upon how close you are to departure. So you stand a chance of losing everything that you invested in your trip.
5. Lost or mis-directed luggage: Most policies allow a certain amount should you become separated from your luggage.
True story: someone traveling on a trip from Fatima to Avila to Lourdes and on to Paris. Her luggage did not arrive in Portugal at the beginning of the trip, and since they were only in the same place for one or two nights, it took over a week to catch up to where she was. Travel insurance would have provided re-imbursement for clothing and other items that she had to buy along the way. Unfortunately, she did not buy insurance and so had to pay for all these necessities out of her own pocket.
The big question: Which travel insurance policy should I buy?
There are many good travel insurance providers out there and we encourage you to shop around. Each company offers several different plans so do your research to be sure you get the one that fits your needs.
Next question: Where do I buy travel insurance?
A note of caution on where to buy: when taking out travel insurance buy directly from the insurance company. You have more choices, better coverage and probably a better price than if you buy from a cruise line or tour operator.
And, if you are booking a cruise, we have found that most policies offered by cruise lines are more expensive and often do not provide all the benefits of plans purchased either from a travel agency or directly from the insurance company. Also, if for some reason your cruise is cancelled (ship needed repairs, etc.) the cruise line may offer you a future cruise, but is unlikely to just give you a refund. For this reason we do not encourage buying insurance through the cruise line, buy the policy from the insurer and make sure it covers cruise cancellation.
Confused? Well, if not, then you are one in a million!
Want to make it easy? Check out Squaremouth.….you can compare plans from hundreds of top-rated companies, read reviews from real customers, and get the one that is best for you, all from a company with a #1 reputation. Note: we do get a small commission if you buy from them, which helps us keep the lights on, but we would recommend them anyway.
Want to know more about travel insurance? Check out this page.
A special Note about travel insurance and transportation strikes:
If there is a transportation strike, you may….or MAY NOT….be covered. This especially applies to Europe, where strikes are often announced weeks–or even months–in advance.
In order to be covered, the rules are a bit different (and, of course, somewhat confusing). If, for example, an airline strike that is scheduled for July is announced in March, then you will have to have bought your travel insurance prior to March in order to have coverage for any travel delays caused by the strike. This is true for just about all travel insurance companies, so check with your company in advance.
And another note about hurricanes:
Coverage varies, but in most cases you cannot cancel your trip just because a hurricane is on the way. Most companies will cover you up until it becomes a named storm, but not after that. So don’t expect to be covered once the storm is named…it is too late to take out trip insurance then.