Whether you are planning your first trip abroad or just a weekend excursion to the mountains, you should ask yourself whether or not you need travel insurance. While it’s not required, a lot of travel sites push customers to purchase travel insurance. It’s rare to not see some type of “Protect Your Trip” line item at the end of your list of travel fees. But when is it necessary, and when is it just optional?
There are some circumstances where travel insurance is recommended. If you are booking a group vacation or an international trip, it is usually a good idea to spend the extra money on travel insurance.
Travel insurance is also a good idea for older travelers, those with a history of illness or a large group of small children. You never know when a medical issue will arise that may prevent you from being able to go through with your plans.
Most American travelers don’t need travel insurance for short domestic trips. For a week-long stay at Disney World or a romantic weekend trip, the extra expense is probably not necessary.
It is supposed to cover your expenses if you miss your flight or lose your luggage. In some cases, it also provides reimbursement if you cancel your trip due to illness or natural disaster. Many credit card companies offer the same protections as airline’s travel insurance. So, for domestic flights, you are likely already covered. Check with your credit card company before deciding whether or not to buy the extra insurance coverage.
The insurance provided by tour companies typically includes some sort of medical insurance as well as coverage for things like missed flights, lost luggage, or replacement attraction/excursion tickets. Make sure to read the fine print, the buyer may still be liable for a small portion of whatever is being replaced.
Typically, travel insurance provided by tour companies and cruise ships will include a cancellation provision. This allows you to cancel your trip, depending on the company and type of trip, up to 60 days before departure with just a minimal transaction fee (usually the cost of the insurance).
Remember, travel insurance is just that: insurance. It is only going to help you if something happens that requires it to kick in. Plus, not all travel insurance is created equal. Consider all your options carefully before adding it to your next adventure.
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