Posted by: Discover Directory on 12/19/2018

Is Travel Insurance Right for You?

Is Travel Insurance Right for You?

Traveling is exciting — especially if you’re going abroad, possibly to somewhere you’ve never been before. Travelling can also be stressful. There is a lot of planning that goes into it and a lot that can go wrong. While some people worry about terrorism or catastrophic weather, the top three most common travel emergencies are general injuries or illnesses that require medical attention (a broken ankle or bad stomach flu, for example), muggings/robberies, and automobile accidents. 

Despite what most of us would like to believe, these kinds of things can happen to you. Allianz Travel Insurance reports that 12.5% of their calls annually are clients experiencing some kind of medical emergency during their travels. There are three main different kinds of travel insurance: Trip Cancellation, Travel Health, and Medical Evacuation Insurance. Even if you don’t end up needing any of these, purchasing travel insurance can grant you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your trip without worrying about potential threats the entire time. Ask yourself these four questions when deciding if travel insurance is right for you: 

1. Is your trip international?

If you’re traveling within the US, most experts would advise against travel insurance — it’s simply not necessary. However, if you’re traveling internationally, it is absolutely recommended that you purchase travel insurance. If something goes wrong medically when you’re in an unfamiliar country — especially if you’re hiking or going somewhere more remote — you might need an air ambulance, which can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. Even if you are covered back home, international hospitals will not accept your insurance card as payment, meaning you will have to pay out of pocket (assuming you have enough to cover the costs). This is why it is highly recommended that international travellers purchase a Travel Health Insurance package. 

2. Did you book in advance?

In the event that you need to cancel your trip, travel insurance policies will likely only cover prepaid, nonrefundable expenses such as airfare and hotels. This is, essentially, because you are only being covered for things you definitely cannot get your money back for. Vacations in which you book your plans far in advance are going to allow for the most coverage. Meaning that if you’re going on a last-minute weekend road trip to the Grand Canyon, it would just be an added expense to purchase insurance. 

Be sure to check the company’s policies on Trip Cancellation Insurance before you purchase or cancel anything. Canceling because you felt a little feverish the day before your trip isn’t going to fly with the insurance companies. You have to have a solid reason for canceling, such as the death or illness of a loved one, a serious illness yourself that required you to stay home, jury duty, etc. 

3. Is your trip particularly risky?

Say you’re climbing a mountain in Switzerland or going on a cruise. Both of these trips come with added risk, medical and otherwise. In these situations, you should definitely consider Medical Evacuation coverage. In the event of a medical emergency, you might need to be transported elsewhere, as many countries are not as advanced or equipped medically as places such as the U.S. or the U.K. might be. A medical evacuation from Europe to America can cost up to $50,000— definitely not something everyone can pay out of pocket. The costs only go up the more remote your location is. For this reason, depending on your tip, Medical Evacuation coverage can be a lifesaver as well as a wallet-saver. 

Note that it is important to read the fine print before you purchase — some companies will not cover medical expenses if they were caused by a particularly adventurous activity (like scuba diving) because you willingly participated in it, knowing the risks. 

4. Does your credit card offer it?

Many credit card companies offer travel insurance as an added perk. They won’t necessarily cover everything you need but they can definitely help. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers $10,000 of coverage for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses but no medical coverage. Different companies offer different benefits. For instance, the Citi Prestige Card is preferred by customers for booking airline tickets and covers baggage and trip delays. However, it is not a good idea to rely solely on your credit card company’s travel benefits. They rarely cover enough if there is an issue and most of them do not offer any type of medical coverage. If your trip does not involve any risky activities or if you’re just going for a short period of time, travel insurance through a credit card company may be enough. Do some digging and sort through your options before deciding to take this route. 

Taking a vacation could turn into an experience you never forget. However, there’s always risk involved. Having insurance can protect you against unpredictable misadventures, but it can also be an unnecessary, extra expense. Look at the components of your trip, and weigh your options in order to have the best, most protected trip you can!