When considering whether or not to buy travel insurance for a trip outside the country, ask yourself these questions: What’s the chance you’ll need it? Are you a risk taker or risk aversive? How much is your peace of mind worth?
Among the financial risks of traveling are accidents, illness, missed flights, canceled trips, lost luggage, theft and emergency evacuation. These unfortunate circumstances can end up costing you a fortune.
Very often, travel insurance is sold as a package that combines different types of coverage. That may be an economical choice, but carefully review those packages to see if they are really worth your while — they could include items for which you’re already covered or for which your risk is minimal. In that case, you may want to purchase an “à la carte” plan.
Here are some of the basic types of coverage provided with travel insurance:
Trip Cancellation/Interruption: If you are pre-paying for a cruise, tour, activities or nonrefundable airline tickets or hotel reservations, this coverage can reduce the risk of losing money if something goes wrong. Covered reasons may include: sickness, weather catastrophe that cancels your flight or damages your destination, or being laid off from work. Note: trip cancelation is if you cancel before departing; trip interruption is if you begin your trip and have to cut it short.
Medical: If your health insurance doesn’t cover you while outside of the country or you are a Medicare participant, you need coverage when you travel. Most travel medical/health insurance will cover illnesses, injuries and hospital visit.
Emergency Evacuation: If you have to be medically evacuated back home from a faraway land via airlifts or medically equipped flights, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Baggage Protection: Depending on the coverage, this can reimburse you for your personal belongings if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged. In the event that your baggage is late due to a delayed flight, your coverage may include reimbursement for additional expenses such as an extra night in a hotel, meals or change of clothes.
Hey, stuff can happen, whether you plan on it or not. Sometimes the best-laid plans are waylaid by unforeseen circumstances. So, before making assumptions about travel insurance coverage, know whether your credit card provides any travel insurance, what your health insurance covers, and what the refund policies are for your cruise line, airline or tour company. Safe travels!