Is Travel Insurance Worth the Cost? Do You Really Need It?
It’s easy to get excited about your dream trip. But we don’t get enthusiastic about protecting our travel investment and finances. Let’s face it. “I love buying insurance,” said no sane person ever, right?
And though the investment in any kind of insurance can feel like a waste if you haven’t had to file a claim, we’re oh-so-grateful we have it when the bad stuff happens.
That’s how I feel about travel insurance. Knock on wood, I’ve only needed to file a small claim. But I’ve seen clients file claims for all types of reasons and others who wish they’d purchased trip insurance. Having seen so many instances of “life happens” from my side as a travel specialist, there’s no way I’d travel without insurance.
Travel insurance isn’t the glamorous side of my industry. It won’t build fond memories or make for beautiful vacation photos. I know these types of informational blog articles on non-exciting subjects will remain among my least viewed articles. But if they mean any of our readers bought insurance that saved them in the long run, they’re worth my time despite the lower views.
While I’m using material from Travel Insured’s Worldwide Trip Protector, this can also be a general idea of what other companies’ insurance policies typically cover. Of course, you’ll want to review the specific policy you're considering.
12 Reasons You May Need travel insurance:
These are 12 reasons why you may want (need) travel insurance. Do any of these sound like the protection you'd want?
1) Trip Cancellation reimburses your insured trip cost when you cancel for a covered reason.
2) Trip Interruption reimburses your trip cost if you must start your trip late or are unable to complete your trip due to a covered reason. This also reimburses the non-refundable cost of unused travel arrangements as well as transportation costs.
3) Trip Delay compensates you for reasonable trip costs such as hotel and meals when your delay is due to a covered reason.
4) Missed Tour or Cruise Connection reimburses for certain unplanned losses including additional transportation to join your trip when there’s a 3-hour or longer delay due to a covered reason that caused you to miss your trip departure.
5) Medical Evacuation allows you to get to the nearest medical facility capable of providing treatment and to transport you back to your point of origin with a medical escort if required. Emergency medical evacuation or "medevac" can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the area. This article has some price ranges.
6) Repatriation of Remains covers transportation of remains back to the point of origin in case of an unexpected tragedy.
7) Accident and Sickness Medical Expense (“Emergency Medical”) covers treatment costs for an accidental injury or unforeseen illness.
8) Baggage and Personal Effects compensate when your possessions are lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed during your trip.
9) Baggage Delay repays for necessary personal items after a 3-hour or longer delay to your destination.
10) Political, Security and Natural Evacuation covers you for transport to the nearest place of safety or an economy ticket home.
11) Accidental Death and Dismemberment provides a benefit for a traveler suffering from loss of life, limb, or sight resulting from an accident during your trip.
12) Peace of Mind which is all the more important if you lean toward being a worrier.
Note that there are various requirements and limits on the above coverages. This article is to explain and educate on the importance of travel insurance. It is not intended to provide details that can be found in the policy you are considering.
These are four true story examples to serve as cautionary tales. Client names have been changed:
I flew from Philadelphia to Miami to board a cruise. It took until the next day after boarding the ship for the airline to find my suitcase in Mexico. The airline got it to the ship when we sailed into Cozumel a few days later, but by that point, I had to buy toiletries and clothes. I saved receipts and the airline report to submit a successful baggage delay claim with the travel insurance company.
During a group cruise I was escorting, Gary’s grandmother unexpectedly passed away. He and his family wanted him to come home. Despite all planes back home from Cozumel being full the next day, Travel Insured secured a seat. They also reimbursed the costs involved in getting him home and refunded a prorated cost of his cruise that was unused based on the trip interruption coverage.
Sandy and Grandmom:
Fifteen-year-old Sandy got quite sick on a cruise with her siblings and grandparents. She had to be hospitalized for a kidney infection. Thankfully, the emergency medical coverage covered the bills, and the insurance company reimbursed for the unused cruise days and helped reimburse the hotel and other costs for the grandmom while her granddaughter was in the hospital.
(Side note: The granddaughter traveled against our advice with a birth certificate instead of a passport. After getting out of the hospital, they had to prolong their stay to get an emergency passport issued so they could fly home.)
A widower, Mr. W. enjoyed travel and confided to me that, when his time came, he hoped his passing would be quick and that he’d be on a trip. He passed on a tour in the UK. He always bought travel insurance for the emergency medical and to have any issue be less of a burden to his children. The emergency medical coverage covered his medical bills. The global assistance feature helped the family get everything coordinated and helped with the government logistics, and the repatriation coverage brought their father’s remains home to them.
Susan was on a group trip with friends when she had a serious moped accident. She had to be medevaced and spent weeks in the hospital getting to the point where she was stabilized enough to get her home to Philadelphia. The trip home entailed her lying across multiple seats on the plane, each one having to be purchased and a nurse to travel with her. Everyone--- friends who were on the trip, family, medical professionals, the tour operator, and my agency were scrambling to do all possible.
Unfortunately, Susan didn’t buy insurance. The hospital would not release her until the medical evacuation, ambulance, hospital, doctors, airline tickets, and hiring a nurse were paid for. Her family had to get a second mortgage on their home and the payment was wired to the hospital.
Susan and her family’s experience was the trip that convinced me that I would NEVER travel without trip insurance. Travel specialists don’t love selling insurance. We are in this industry to, as corny as it sounds, make dreams come true and build memories. We don’t want to think about the negatives that could cause a need for insurance. But I’d be doing my clients a disservice if I didn’t try to get them to consider protecting themselves.
Getting reimbursed if I have to cancel my trip or come home early is a big help. The coverages for delays is also beneficial, but they aren’t catastrophic expenses. For me, the primary reasons I buy insurance are for emergency situations---- emergency medical coverage, medical evacuation, repatriation, and getting home for an emergency. These are financially devastating expenses that I can’t afford nor can my family.
or contact your travel specialist at Connie George Travel Associates
Have fun planning your trip. Pick a time to review insurance quotes presented to you so you make the best, informed decision for your family. And then get back to enjoying the planning of the fun stuff.