The question pops up every time you buy a plane ticket.
Would you like to add travel insurance?
It’s not free, of course. Credit cards may offer you coverage for free, but add-on travel insurance is another matter. Is it a complete waste of money? Or can it truly save your trip?
There’s no easy answer. There are factors, or rather situations, that call for travel insurance and there are cases when it’s unnecessary. Most importantly, it also depends on what the insurance policy covers. So it’s really not about whether or not you should get travel insurance. Instead, it’s about knowing which kind of insurance to choose.
Here are some situations when it makes sense to buy a travel insurance policy.
An Expensive Vacation or Cruise
You were saving up for the trip of a lifetime, which is going to be an incredibly huge investment. That around-the-world cruise vacation or African Safari will cost you $15,000, but it will create memories that are truly priceless.
Should you buy a travel insurance policy? Definitely yes. The important factor here is the price. It’s a hefty amount and you ought to protect it with trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Let’s face it, the unexpected can happen no matter how thorough you are in planning your trip.
What if you suddenly get sick? Or what if an emergency such as a crisis in the family occurs? Or the cruise line or airline goes bankrupt? In these cases, travel insurance can safeguard your well-earned money so that you can simply move your travel date, book another ticket and go on the vacation of your dreams.
Additional tip: don’t buy this insurance from the cruise ship company. You won’t get your money back if that same company goes out of business.
Trip Not Covered by Health Insurance
Most people assume that their existing health insurance covers medical expenses abroad. In almost every case, it won’t. Traveling outside the country, including on foreign-flagged cruise ships, demands caution. And one of the most important areas you should safeguard while traveling is your health.
In this case, because your current health insurance policy most likely doesn’t cover medical expenses abroad, you should definitely get a travel medical insurance policy.
Most travel insurance policies of this type will fly you to the doctor of your choice but you should thoroughly read the fine print to understand what you’re getting. In case you get sick or require urgent medical attention abroad, the insurance should cover your initial treatment, free and quick transport to a hospital or medical facility of your choice and other adequate medical resources.
What about getting sick in a developing country? This is another situation where getting a good travel medical insurance policy makes sense. Not only will the policy pay for your care. The insurance company can also help to ensure you won’t get overcharged.
Extreme Sports Travel
Do you love mountaineering? Ice or rock climbing? White water rafting? Adventure racing? Frozen lake kite winging? The list goes on. What all of these activities share in common is this – they’re all extreme and put a traveler’s life at risk.
If you’re the adventurous type who loves taking part in extreme sports abroad, then you should definitely get insurance. A basic travel insurance policy may cover “some” specific adventure travel, but the company will usually ask you how high the mountain is or how deep will you scuba dive. If the basic package doesn’t cover your adventure and extreme sports, be sure to purchase additional coverage. It’s more expensive, of course, but it can save your life. In fact, most people buy it for the peace of mind it affords.
There are many other situations when travel insurance is necessary. Understand your travel needs and research your options so that you can spend your trip relaxing rather than worrying about insurance coverage.