When you spend thousands of dollars on a dream vacation, it can be difficult decision to spend even more on insurance. "Do I really need it? I've traveled forever and nothing has ever happened." Isn't this what often times goes through your mind?
So do you need insurance? Well, it depends, but in most circumstances it is a good idea to protect your travel investment. Think about what could happen....
Many circumstances are simply out of your control, like when a volcano erupted in Iceland and disrupted most air travel to and from Europe. Flight delays happen all the time, which could cause you and/or your luggage to miss your cruise or tour. You break a tooth, someone you are traveling with slips and breaks an ankle on that hike to the waterfalls, or worse has a serious medical emergency that requires hospitalization in a foreign country. Keep in mind that most US healthcare companies do not cover you outside of the US or even on a cruise ship, and many hospitals overseas require immediate payment. Airlines have improved their service and may offer assistance when things go wrong, but in many cases they are not obligated to so. With 24/7 assistance, insurance companies can step in to provide assistance in stressful times.
When traveling within the US and/or close to home, travel insurance may or may not be beneficial. One key factor to consider is any non-refundable expense incurred if you do not have insurance and what your medical coverage offers. If the expense is low, insurance may not be the right option.
However, for international trips, I almost always recommend travel protection. Not having to worry if something were to go wrong is a great benefit. Having an additional advocate on your side is especially helpful, considering the different cultures and laws one must deal with.
The most common travel insurance includes trip cancellation and interruption, baggage protection (lost or damaged luggage), medical and evacuation coverage. Sometimes last minute medical issues can derail a trip. Other times a trip may start on time but may end prematurely due to events beyond your control. Coverage for those unforeseen circumstances. I equate this to car insurance. I purchase auto insurance in the event of an accident. I hope I never have to use it, but I know I'll be glad I have it and an advocate on my side should the need arise.
Expect to pay between 4-10% of the total trip. Rates are based on a combination of total non-refundable portions of the trip, the age of the person traveling and in some cases where you are traveling to. Keep in mind that travel insurance policies are not equal, so compare what each offers (have your travel consultant do this) and find the one that best fits your individual needs. You can purchase insurance directly from the cruise and tour companies, however I suggest the 3rd party vendors. These companies specialize in insurance and usually offer more options at better prices. And you are covered in the event the cruise or tour company goes bankrupt (believe me this happens).
Remember, travel insurance provides peace of mind and financial security so you can enjoy your vacation. Don't leave home without it!
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Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder