This week’s post comes to us from Andrew, a writer at LendEDU, a consumer education website and financial product marketplace. Many thanks to Andrew for sharing his knowledge of travel insurance with us!
Everyone loves the idea of an amazing vacation. Traveling can allow you to spend time with your loved ones and see the world. You can sightsee or relax on the shores of a beach. Vacation can be beneficial for your mental and physical health and it can help you recharge.
Of course, all the benefits of travel don’t come without a cost. According to research, the average vacation costs $1,145 per person (creditdonkey.com). A family of four could count on spending an average of $4,580 for a vacation once everything from airline tickets and hotels to car rentals is calculated.
So what if you book your trip ahead of time and aren’t able to go for some reason? Maybe there’s an illness or emergency in your life, or perhaps there’s a natural disaster where you were planning to go.
Is that money lost or is there something you can do to protect yourself as you’re making travel plans?
What Is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is an optional add-on that you can buy when you’re planning a trip. Companies that offer this insurance often provide numerous types of coverage, all with varying protections. There are plenty of reasons to get travel insurance, as it can cover minor problems like delayed luggage or it can cover big issues such as cancelling a trip suddenly at the last minute.
For the most part, travel insurance is intended to cover things you couldn’t have anticipated would happen. If you book a trip when there’s already a natural disaster headed toward your destination, your losses won’t be covered by travel insurance. However, if you book a year in advance and then there’s a hurricane anticipated to hit your destination, you may be covered for some or all of the trip cost.
You can purchase travel insurance from individual companies. If you do this, you would typically plan your trip and then purchase a policy based on your costs.
Most policies will charge a premium of anywhere from 5 to 7 percent of the total cost of the trip. When you’re purchasing a policy, you can choose the level of coverage you want. For example, you may be able to opt into a more expensive cancel-for-any-reason option.
The following are some of the types of coverage that might be available with travel insurance:
- Trip Cancellation Coverage – may cover pre-paid expenses that aren’t refundable, but most insurance companies have a list of covered reasons, so read the fine print carefully.
- Trip Interruption Coverage – covers you if something happens while you’re on your trip.
- Medical Emergencies Abroad – is coverage that is extremely useful if you’re outside of the U.S. where you may not be covered by your health insurance.
- Emergency Evacuation Coverage – applies to airlifts and medical flights that might be needed to return home, if sick or injured.
- Baggage Coverage – covers luggage that’s lost, damaged or stolen.
- Baggage Delay Coverage – covers the cost of items needed while you wait for your baggage.
- Travel Delay Coverage – covers the cost of a delayed flight, such as staying in a hotel for the night.
Before buying travel insurance from an individual company, check and see what’s offered by your credit card companies. Some credit cards will offer access to trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and other perks like collision insurance if you’re driving a rental car. You may be able to save some money by buying travel insurance only for the gaps left by your credit card company, so be sure to do your research.
What Are the Pros and Cons?
The following are some of the pros of travel insurance:
- If you’re traveling outside of the U.S. and need medical care, it can be incredibly expensive without travel insurance. Even minor medical care can lead to costs that add up quickly.
- Travel insurance can give you peace of mind and make planning and taking a trip more pleasant.
- If you choose the right type of coverage, you won’t have to pay for a trip that you aren’t able to go on for certain reasons. If you are one who plans trips well in advance, this can be especially appealing for you.
Cons of travel insurance can include:
- It can add several hundred dollars to the cost of your trip.
- You have to read the fine print carefully because you may not be covered for things you think you are.
- You may pay for something you’re already covered for through your credit card.
Is It Worth the Money?
Travel insurance can be worth the money. If you’re traveling internationally, it’s likely worth it. There are unforeseen events ranging from natural disasters to civil unrest that could impact your trip. Plus, if you need medical care in a foreign country, travel insurance may be very useful. Even with credit card travel insurance perks, there are a lot of things that can happen during international travel that might only be covered with a dedicated travel insurance plan.
However, if you’re traveling inside the U.S. or you’re going to be taking a trip that’s mostly refundable within certain parameters, travel insurance may be an unnecessary additional expense. For example, if you’re driving to your destination and your hotel is fully or partially refundable, travel insurance might be an extra expense that you don’t need.
Post written by Andrew from LendEDU – a consumer education website & financial resource. His travel experience mainly involves escaping to the Adirondack Mountains for some winter hiking!
Every vacation is unique and each will require you to consider the need for travel insurance. There are plenty of resources online to help you make the best decision for every trip. Many thanks to Andrew from LendEDU for the helpful information.
Do you usually travel with travel insurance? Let me know in the comments!