Why buy travel insurance? For many, travel insurance is considered just another unnecessary expense. It’s overlooked by many young people (in particular) who feel invincible or otherwise don’t foresee any obstacles during their travels. However, this isn’t a risk worth taking, and there are many reasons to buy travel insurance. Yes, even if you are young and healthy.
I used to be one of those people who never bothered with travel insurance. “Nothing will happen to me,” I thought. But let me tell you, that’s not the right way to think about it, especially when you have a lot to lose on an expensive trip. Things can go wrong, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Having visited over 50 countries, I have my fair share of travel tragedies – getting sick and injured, missing flight connections, and more. Travel insurance would have been the right move in those instances – if only I had been smarter then.
The reality is that much of what happens in the world— and even in our own lives— is out of our control. Moreover, many travel expenses, including flights, are non-refundable, so you’re out of luck when you don’t have proper coverage. For those reasons alone, it’s a good idea to buy travel insurance with trip cancellation coverage.
Looking for peace of mind next time you travel? Then keep reading! Here are some reasons why you should consider buying travel insurance when booking your vacations.
What is travel insurance?
Before we dive into all the different reasons for getting travel insurance, let’s first briefly discuss what it is.
Travel insurance is like a superhero cape for your trip. It may not make you fly or turn invisible, but it can definitely come to the rescue in case of any unexpected travel emergencies. The main idea is that it helps protect you financially during your travels – covering a variety of things, such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost or delayed luggage, and more.
Travel insurance policies can be purchased directly from insurance companies, travel agents, or other third parties. The specific terms and coverage of the policy will vary depending on the provider and the type of policy purchased.
How travel insurance works
To buy a travel insurance policy, you’ll need to provide some personal and trip-related information, including your name, age, destination, and length of stay. You will then choose from a range of coverage options and select the policy that best fits your needs.
Once you have purchased a travel insurance policy, it will become effective on a specific date (usually the date you depart on your trip). If you experience a covered event during your trip, you will need to file a claim with the insurer in order to receive any benefits or reimbursements.
Though travel insurance may not be as exciting as a superhero cape, it’ll give you just as much peace of mind.
A quick story on the importance of travel insurance…
I had a friend who went on a dream vacation to Europe. Everything was going great until he fell and broke his arm on a hike in the Swiss Alps. Not only was he in pain, but he had to go to the hospital and pay for medical care out of pocket. The bills ended up costing him thousands of dollars.
If he had travel insurance, he could have been reimbursed for those unexpected medical expenses. Not only that, but travel insurance also covers things like trip cancellations, lost luggage, and emergencies that may arise while you’re abroad.
So, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Trust me, you don’t want to end up like my friend with a broken arm and a lighter wallet.
As such, travel insurance can give you peace of mind and protection when you’re away from home. Now, without further ado, here are some key reasons for when to buy travel insurance.
1. You can get sick or injured
What happens if you (or a traveling companion) gets sick with a virus or injured hiking a mountain and can no longer travel? These things are often out of your control, so you’ll want to have a travel insurance policy with trip cancellation coverage. That way, you’ll receive a refund of your trip cost.
If you’re already traveling, you may need emergency medical insurance coverage, which comes with a steep price tag. Having travel medical coverage will provide peace of mind and lower the exorbitant costs associated with things like medical treatment. This is especially important if you are traveling internationally and your health insurance plan won’t cover medical bills from another country. Such plans come with help services, where you can reach out to your insurance provider about how to find a medical facility and arrange for transportation to get there.
In addition, check to see if your plan offers emergency medical evacuation benefits. Transporting a patient to and from a hospital, particularly in remote areas, can cost thousands of dollars out of pocket. It can even be as high as tens of thousands of dollars if it’s an emergency evacuation. It’s not worth taking the risk of having a medical expense that high. Better safe than sorry!
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2. Flight delays or cancellations
Another reason to get travel insurance is to cover flight delays or cancellations. This can be especially helpful if you have a tight schedule or are traveling internationally.
Flight delays and cancellations can happen for a variety of reasons, including mechanical issues or strikes. While airlines may offer some compensation, such as a voucher or a hotel room, these options may not always be sufficient. Recently, one of my flights got canceled in Munich. The airline offered hotel and meal vouchers; however, we had to wait in a five-hour customer service line at the airport. They didn’t allow us to submit reimbursements online…no bueno!
With many travel insurance plans, you can get reimbursed for additional expenses relating to flight delays or cancellations, including the cost of a new flight, a hotel room, and meals. Some policies even offer coverage for missed connections.
So, if you’re worried about the possibility of a flight delay or cancellation ruining your trip, travel insurance can help provide some financial protection.
3. Your travel organization goes bankrupt
This is something that will definitely affect your travel arrangements.
Imagine your seven-night cruise in the Caribbean gets canceled due to the cruise line filing bankruptcy. Or the airline you’re flying to Paris with just went out of business (still super bummed about WOW Air!). In such circumstances, you may not be able to get a refund. That is, without trip insurance.
Buying a travel insurance plan with financial default coverage will allow you to recover your pre-paid expenses up to the policy limit.
4. Your luggage is lost, delayed, or stolen
Has your luggage ever been lost, stolen, or delayed? It’s happened to me before, and it’s not fun. If it’s the airline’s fault, you may get compensated for essential items until your bag arrives. Some credit card companies also provide such coverage. However, airline compensation for delayed luggage is often limited and won’t help you purchase urgent and expensive belongings. Furthermore, many airlines won’t pay out until the bag’s missing for more than 24 hours, and each carrier has other exclusions as well. Imagine if you’re flying out to a wedding and your tux or dress didn’t arrive? Getting baggage delay coverage up to a certain dollar threshold will give you peace of mind.
What happens if your luggage is lost, stolen, or otherwise damaged? This is another scenario where you shouldn’t just rely on the airline. Airlines have been known to take days (or even weeks) to acknowledge that a bag is lost. Additionally, airlines tend to veer away from paying the full amount of the claim by depreciating the costs of certain items. Consider buying a travel insurance plan that offers such coverage.
5. The weather affects your travel plans
What happens if a hurricane, tornado, or flood ravages your holiday destination? On hurricane-prone islands such as Puerto Rico, or most recently the Bahamas, imagine if a hurricane severely damages the hotel you were planning to stay at? Without travel insurance, there’s a likely possibility that you won’t be able to recover your pre-paid travel expenses. Consider getting a travel insurance policy that provides coverage relating to weather damage.
Bad weather knows no boundaries, so you’ll want to have trip insurance coverage on domestic trips and international ones.
6. A travel emergency occurs that you didn’t predict
Imagine a family member falls ill or a natural disaster occurs, requiring you to return home earlier or stay in your destination longer than expected. If such circumstances arise, you’ll be fortunate to have trip interruption insurance. Be sure to read the fine print though, as policies provide “covered reasons” for interrupting or canceling your trip (not all reasons are covered).
Flight insurance covers unexpected events that may affect a flight (i.e. severe weather conditions) and events that may happen during a flight (i.e. significant injuries or loss of life resulting from a plane crash). If you don’t have life insurance, flight insurance provides a similar benefit while you are in the air.
7. Rental car accident
Another scenario where you’ll want to get travel insurance is to cover rental car accidents. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But I’m a careful driver, I don’t need rental car insurance!” And hey, I totally get it. But sometimes, accidents happen even when we’re being our most careful selves.
I have a friend who was on a road trip through New England and decided to save a little money by opting out of the rental car insurance. She figured she’d be fine, since she’s always a careful driver. But then, on a winding mountain road, she hit a pothole and blew out a tire.
She ended up having to pay for the damage out of pocket, which ended up costing her hundreds of dollars. If she had had travel insurance, however, she might have been reimbursed for those expenses.
So, while you might be a pro behind the wheel, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Travel insurance can give you peace of mind and financial protection in case of a rental car accident (or any other unexpected travel mishap). So don’t skimp on the insurance when you’re renting a car – it’s definitely worth it in the long run.
8. A terrorism-related event occurs
Sadly, this is a threat that can occur anywhere at any time. I was in Nice, France during the morning of Bastille Day in 2016, leaving the city just hours before the attack that killed crowds of people on the Promenade des Anglais. These awful tragedies can happen any time and not necessarily just in “dangerous places.” To protect yourself against costs relating to unexpected attacks and acts of terror, it’s a good idea to buy a travel insurance plan with terrorism coverage.
9. Loss of a family member (or friend)
Why get travel insurance? If a tragedy like the loss of a loved one happens and you’d like to cancel or postpone your departure flight, you’ll want to have trip cancellation coverage.
10. Work-related cancellation
Have to cancel your trip for work reasons? This is quite common, and thankfully, there’s coverage for this.
Many policies offer work-related cancellations as part of their trip interruption and trip cancellation benefits. However, to cover all work-related reasons, it may be beneficial to upgrade your policy to account for the following scenarios:
– Work schedule changes will require you to work during your vacation time
– Your company is undergoing a merger, acquisition, or bankruptcy that will require you to work during your scheduled vacation
– Your company was deemed “unsuitable” due to a burglary, vandalism, flood, or fire, which will require you to work
Be sure to check your travel insurance policy to see if it lists out the specific work-related cancellations you are looking for. Rule of thumb: if the policy doesn’t list a certain reason, then you won’t have coverage for that scenario!
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11. You miss your connecting flight or cruise connection
This is quite a common occurrence. I know people who have missed their cruises and tours due to delayed or cancelled flights. In the US, there are no laws covering missed connections involving multiple airline carriers. Even in circumstances when airlines will provide compensation, it’s typically very limited. For peace of mind, consider getting a travel insurance plan with missed connection coverage. That way, you won’t have to worry about having a flight delay or a flight cancellation.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about travel insurance
Here are some popular questions (and answers) around why to buy travel insurance.
Do I really need travel insurance?
It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance, especially if you’re traveling internationally or taking an expensive trip. In addition, if you’re planning to do lots of outdoor adventure activities, travel insurance is a good call as well. While it’s true that nothing may go wrong on your trip, better to be safe than sorry. Travel insurance can help protect you financially in case of unexpected emergencies or other unforeseen setbacks.
How do I choose the right travel insurance policy?
There are a lot of different travel insurance policies out there, so it’s important to do your research and choose the one that best fits your needs. Consider the type of trip you’re taking, your medical history, and any activities you’ll be participating in. Also, be sure to read the fine print and understand exactly what is and isn’t covered under the policy.
Do you legally need travel insurance?
Why get travel insurance? In most cases, it’s not legally required to have travel insurance. However, it’s definitely something to consider.
Think of it this way: while you may not need a travel insurance policy to board your flight or check into your hotel, it can definitely come in handy if something unexpected happens on your trip. From medical emergencies to trip cancellations, all sorts of things can go wrong when you’re traveling. And if you don’t have travel insurance, you could end up paying for those unexpected costs out of pocket. According to the travel insurance website Squaremouth, the average insured trip costs $5,453. I, for one, wouldn’t want to lose any of that.
So, while you may not legally need travel insurance, it’s definitely a good idea to have it. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to get travel insurance, my advice is to go for it. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
What does travel insurance not cover?
Travel insurance doesn’t cover everything under the sun (although that would be pretty awesome). Here are a few things it usually doesn’t cover:
- Regular check-ups and pre-existing medical conditions
- Extreme sports or activities considered dangerous
- Acts of war (unless specifically covered in the policy)
- Intentional self-inflicted injuries or suicide attempts
- Alcohol- or drug-related incidents
- Losses due to normal pregnancy or childbirth
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But what if I’m a thrill-seeking, pregnant, war-loving alcoholic with a pre-existing medical condition?” In that case, you might have a tough time finding a policy that covers everything. But hey, at least you’ll have a great story to tell (and maybe some valuable life lessons). So, in short, travel insurance doesn’t cover everything, but it can still provide valuable protection for a variety of unexpected events that may occur during your trip.
How much does travel insurance cost?
The cost of travel insurance can vary based on a number of factors, such as the length of your trip, your destination, and the type of coverage you need. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from 5-10% of your total trip cost for travel insurance. However, it’s important to remember that the cost of the policy is usually a small price to pay for the peace of mind and financial protection it can provide.
Does travel insurance cover Covid 19?
The short answer is that it depends on the specific travel insurance policy you have. Some policies may offer coverage for trip cancellations or interruptions due to Covid-19, while others may not.
It’s important to carefully review the terms and coverage of your travel insurance policy to understand what is and isn’t covered. Some policies may have exclusions or limitations for pandemics or epidemics, while others may offer more comprehensive coverage.
It’s also worth noting that some policies may have a “Cancel for Any Reason” option, which allows you to cancel your trip for any reason (including Covid-19) and receive a partial reimbursement. However, this option is typically more expensive and may have additional requirements or restrictions.
So, to sum up: it’s possible that travel insurance may cover Covid-19, but it’s important to check the specific terms and coverage of your policy to understand what is and isn’t covered.
Why is it important to have a travel insurance?
Wondering why it’s important to have travel insurance? Let me give you a few reasons:
- Unexpected emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime. Whether it’s a medical issue, a trip cancellation, or lost luggage, travel insurance can help protect you financially and give you peace of mind in case something goes wrong.
- Travel insurance can save you money in the long run. Sure, it may seem like an unnecessary expense at first, but it can end up paying for itself if you have to cancel your trip or incur unexpected costs.
- It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You never know what might happen on your trip, and it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes awry.
So, in short, travel insurance is like a safety net for your trip. It may not be the most exciting part of the planning process, but it can definitely come in handy if something unexpected happens.
Can you add travel insurance after booking?
Yes, it is usually possible to add travel insurance after booking your trip. However, it’s generally a good idea to purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip, as some policies may have exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions or may not cover trip cancellations if you purchase the policy after you book your trip.
That being said, it’s still possible to add travel insurance after booking in many cases. You may be able to purchase a policy directly from an insurer or through a travel agent or other third party. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the cost of the policy may be higher if you wait to purchase it until closer to your departure date.
So, in conclusion: it is usually possible to add travel insurance after booking your trip, but it’s generally a good idea to purchase it as soon as possible to ensure the best coverage and to avoid any exclusions or limitations.
Why it’s a good idea to buy travel insurance in 2023
I get it. Sometimes it can be hard to justify paying extra for travel insurance. After all, most of us don’t have unlimited amounts of funds and are trying to travel on a budget. Travel protection isn’t a priority for many.
However, when you’ve spent a lot of money on a special trip, the price of insurance is minute compared to all the money you could lose if something goes wrong.
In this article, I’ve provided seven scenarios where people would regret not having travel insurance. It doesn’t only protect you against one type of event, but can provide peace of mind concerning a variety of risks we accept whenever we travel.
Of course, there are many other reasons to buy travel insurance, but this will give you a solid foundation. For more information, be sure to inquire with a travel insurance professional and find a reliable travel insurance company that meets your risk objectives. Here’s one below. Best wishes and happy travels!
World Nomads is a travel insurance company recommended by some of my favorite travel brands, including Lonely Planet and National Geographic.
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