Travel insurance, like all insurance, is a necessary evil. It’s something you buy that you hope you don’t have to use. The two main reasons to buy travel insurance are one, to protect your investment, and two, to protect yourself.
If you are planning to spend several hundred or several thousand dollars planning your dream vacation, if something unforeseen happens and you are unable to travel, you want to be able to recoup your investment. Most cruise lines and tour operators will offer travel insurance but you may or may not be able to get cold hard cash back. Depending on the policy you may only be insuring your trip with future credit. It is important to review the specific details of these policies.
The cost for travel insurance is usually based on the age of the traveler and either how long you will be traveling or how much the trip costs. A number of premium credit cards have limited travel insurance benefits, usually up to $3,000-$5,000 dollars. Using a credit card to purchase airline tickets can be beneficial. I actually had a client last month, who was able to get refunded from his credit card company for airline tickets he was unable to use because he had to have unexpected surgery and was no longer able to travel.
The second reason to buy travelers insurance is to protect yourself. Who are you going to call in case of emergency when you are an ocean away from friends and family? Most American health insurance only covers you when you are in the United States. If (g-d forbid) you fall and break your arm in a foreign country, any costs associated with that injury while traveling and when you return usually is not covered by your standard health insurance. If something happens while traveling and you need to be Medevaced back to the United States – trust me, that is a cost you want an insurance company to cover! If you are under 35 and traveling for a week, a medical only travel insurance policy can cost as little as $22 but potentially save you thousands of dollars in charges if you were to need medical services.
All insurance is tricky. With travel insurance, you want to make sure the policy is backed by a reputable company and I sincerely encourage you to talk with a local travel agent about the best policy for you. You want to talk to someone who has been through the process and can tell you which benefits you need and what policy will work best for your unique situation.
No one wants to buy insurance. But the stories that I (or any other travel agent) can tell you about the unexpected, is why we all tell our clients not to leave the country without it.
Staci Lichterman, founder of Pop Culture Travel has more than 14 years of experience in the travel and hospitality industry. Lichterman was ranked as one of the top-ten agents at American Express travel and has received sales recognition from other luxury brands. Lichterman, a passionate traveler, experienced event planner and customer service guru founded Pop Culture Travel to help take the confusion and hassle out of planning a trip. For more information visit popculturetravel.com/