We all love getting away from it all and going on vacation. Amid the excitement of planning and preparing, there is often the question of whether travel insurance is needed.
First, let's take a look at the types of travel insurance available. There are two main types of policies you can buy – single trip and annual insurance. As the names suggest, single trip insurance covers you for one trip, whereas annual insurance covers you for multiple journeys within a set period.
Travel Insurance Basics
There are various types of travel insurance coverage, many of which offer different features. The one you purchase will depend on factors such as where you are going, what you will be doing on vacation, and the length of your trip.
The most common options are:
- Evacuation. At times, the world can be an unpredictable place, and there is political and social unrest in many countries. This is why it is important to buy evacuation coverage if you are traveling to such a place. You might also want to consider that natural disasters can happen anywhere, at any time too. Of course, some places will be more prone to natural disasters due to their geography and climate. Evacuation insurance can help alleviate the financial strain of getting out of harm’s way.
- Medical. Your standard health insurance typically covers emergencies when you travel abroad but will not cover illnesses, such as a bad stomach bug. You will want to see what your health insurance covers and possibly purchase medical travel insurance for additional peace of mind.
- Baggage. Nothing is worse than losing your baggage before you even reach your vacation destination. Baggage coverage takes some of the strain out of replacing your gear.
- Cancellation. If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, cancellation insurance will help you recoup your hard-earned money. It also covers cancellations that occur if airline delays make you miss an event, or if the tour provider goes bankrupt.
- Death and dismemberment. This policy option provides your family with a payout, should you die during your vacation.
In addition to the benefits listed above, travel insurance can offer you real peace of mind to have coverage should the worst happen during your vacation.
Certain groups of travelers may benefit more from buying travel insurance. These include:
- Thrifty travelers. These are individuals who cannot stand to lose a significant amount of money should their trip be canceled or similar.
- Nervous travelers. Having insurance in place will provide peace of mind.
- Package tour and cruise customers. Tour operators and cruise lines are not so lenient when it comes to missed vacations and voyages.
- People with lengthy and/or complex itineraries. If one part of a tour doesn’t go as planned, the remainder of the trip can be negatively affected, and even missed.
- People on trips outside of the United States. Many overseas medical providers will want you to pay upfront for your care, so adequate insurance can take care of this.
- People on Medicare who are traveling internationally. Medicare won’t usually cover events that occur in other countries.
Is it Worth It?
Travel insurance provides you with real peace of mind, so it is ideal for you if you are a worrier, if your trip cost a lot of money, or if you have a legitimate concern about the vacation destination.
In considering different policies, there are some “benefits” that you probably won’t need, such as death coverage. In fact, a decent life insurance policy is a better option if you have concerns regarding your mortality.
Also, if you have booked a short, inexpensive, and domestic trip, it is unlikely you will need insurance. Many travel insurance policies do not cover some pre-existing medical conditions either, so if you are considering purchasing medical insurance, be sure to investigate the coverage thoroughly.
Sometimes, other insurance you have or your credit card may already provide the coverage you need. That is another important aspect to check before you spend money on a new travel insurance policy.
Travel insurance is a good idea if you need peace of mind when you are on vacation, especially if you do not have any other back up.
If you are planning on trying out some extreme sports, on visiting a developing country, or anything else in between, it might be worth taking out travel insurance. However, the concept of risk is one that varies from person to person, so whether or not you take out travel insurance can be a very personal choice.
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