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Do You Need Travel Insurance?

The point of any insurance policy is to protect your assets in the event of an unexpected event. This is true of travel insurance as well.

If you are going on a major trip — particularly if you plan to travel overseas — it can make sense to purchase travel insurance as protection. Travel can get expensive, and if something goes wrong, your travel insurance policy can keep you from getting stuck holding a bill that’s bigger than you can afford.

How Expensive Is Your Trip?

Your first consideration should be how expensive your trip is. While some airlines will give you a break if you can prove that you are canceling your trip due to bereavement (if someone close to you dies), others won’t. And if bad weather or illness means that your flight is canceled or that you can no longer go on vacation, you’ll be upset when you can’t recoup the cost of your ticket. Flight travel insurance can help you offset these costs.

Anytime you have an expensive trip, whether it’s a $20,000 destination wedding or a $7,000 cruise, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have trip cancellation and interruption insurance. You’ll recover the cost, and possibly be able to reschedule.

Also, many flight insurance policies come with baggage insurance. Double check, since that could mean that you are covered if your luggage is lost somewhere along the way.

Are You Going Overseas?

When you travel to another country, travel insurance becomes important for another reason: Emergency health care situations. Check with your insurance company ahead of time to see what sort of care it will cover while you are overseas. Some “regular” health insurance policies will cover your emergency medical care, but may not cover extended stays.

In some cases, your health insurance won’t cover you at all once you leave the borders of the United States. When you are going on a cruise, be clear about your insurance company’s policy on ships flagged under different countries. A cruise ship operating in U.S. waters might not actually be considered a U.S. ship. If it flies the flag of another country, your health insurance might not cover you.

Additionally, if you want to be brought back to the United States, you might not be covered. In fact, you probably won’t be. And if you’re into adventuring, your insurance company might wash its hands of you. If you want to make sure that you’re definitely covered when you travel overseas, you should consider Medical Evacuation and Repatriation insurance.

Read the Fine Print

As always, read the fine print. Find out exactly how much coverage you will receive, and what will trigger a payout. You should understand all of the conditions before you buy your insurance policy. Also, be aware of what documentation you might need if you want to use your trip cancellation policy. You might need a copy of a death certificate or a doctor’s note certifying that you are too ill travel if you want the payout.

Would you ever consider purchasing travel insurance?

(Photo: Exlibber [3])