March 1, 2022
Before COVID, travel insurance was often dismissed as an unnecessary expense. But now, we’ve seen how quickly plans can go south (and we’re not talking about southern sunny destinations). Those unexpected changes can cost unprepared travelers. With summer on the horizon, many of us are starting to think about making travel plans—and deciding whether it’s worth purchasing travel insurance when we book.
Depending on the company and the policy you choose, travel insurance may cover you for:
You can buy insurance directly from a travel insurance company or through your travel agent. Online booking sites, airlines and cruise lines usually offer an option to purchase insurance, as well.
If you buy directly from a travel insurance company, you may be able to choose from a variety of options, such as: single- or multi-trip or year-long policies, coverage for yourself, or coverage for your whole family. Cost, of course, depends on the policy and level of coverage selected.
Before you start your search
If your trip is refundable and you’re traveling within the U.S., travel insurance may not be needed. Even if your trip isn’t 100% refundable, it may not be worth the cost to cover an inexpensive flight and hotel stay.
Check to see if you have travel coverage through the credit card you’ll use to pay for your trip. Some credit cards provide coverage in case your flight is delayed or canceled, your rental car is damaged, or your luggage is lost or delayed.
However, there are some circumstances in which insurance is generally recommended, such as:
Important point about international travel: You might want to consider a standalone medical insurance policy, even if you already have travel protection from a credit card. First, check with your U.S.-based health insurer to see what’s covered, since hospital costs in some countries can run $10,000 or more per day, while costs for emergency medical transport home can exceed $100,000.
However…even if your health insurance covers you outside the country, individual doctors may not accept it. Without travel insurance, you’d have to pay the bills out of pocket and get reimbursement from your healthcare insurer.
What’s not covered?
Exact exclusions vary depending on company and policy, but some issues that might not be covered include:
What about COVID, which is still a factor in our lives? While some travelers who already had a policy in effect before the pandemic were grandfathered into coverage, it’s possible that it won’t be covered if you haven’t purchased insurance yet. Check with the insurer for details.
One last caution: Buy when you book your travel, to be sure it covers any pre-vacation issues that could jeopardize your trip.
Most of the time, your travel will go off smoothly, but it never hurts to be prepared. Just remember:
Finally, make your plans and enjoy your vacation, secure in the knowledge that you’ll be protected no matter what happens.
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