If you plan on taking a trip any time soon, you likely get a pop-up at the bottom of your ticket purchase screen asking if you want to purchase insurance for your mode of travel. As spring break and summer break rapidly approach, you may be planning on taking a trip abroad, and you want to make sure you’re protected against theft, identity fraud, injury, transportation problems, and in rare but serious cases, shipping your body back to your family. Travel insurance is an important aspect of your safety overseas, but you need to know exactly what you’re paying for and what your coverage buys.
If you’re planning your trip via a travel site, whatever you do, don’t blindly agree to whatever insurance they’re offering you. A recent article detailed how many people will just accept the policy the travel agency offers, but that shopping around could provide better coverage for a better price.
Most standard life and property insurance policies don’t quite cover anything that happens while you’re away from home. Especially if you fall ill while you’re outside the US, your health insurance will be completely useless to you. Additionally, any luggage you lose in transit likely won’t fall under your standard theft insurance, so you could be naked and afraid once you land in your destination. Travel insurance isn’t required by any stretch, but it sure could make your life easier in the event of an unforeseen incident.
Firstly, of course, is the insurance that covers your transportation. In the event that your flight is cancelled or traffic makes you miss your train, you’ll want to use some of the money you spent on your ticket to purchase a new ticket. This is a decision you need to make on your own. The options listed on the transportation’s sites are usually fine, but again, you may have better options elsewhere.
You also need to take into account whether you have any preexisting medical conditions. In one infamous story, a man in the UK had a heart attack while traveling to the US, but his insurance refused to cover the medical expenses because he failed to disclose that he had experience heart failure a few years prior. Insurance is especially important if you do have any genetic conditions, medical problems, or risks of recurring issues, but by the same token, it’ll take some negotiating with your provider to ensure that all your possible issues are fully covered.
As it turns out, some credit card companies include travelers insurance in their fine print. According to a USA Today article, depending on your policy, some credit card companies will reimburse for items lost in travel, sudden flight cancellations, or trip “interruptions” like illnesses or labor strikes.
You may be tempted to rely on your credit card policy for travelers insurance to pinch pennies, it’s not a catch all, and there are some important instances that they won’t cover. As reported in ITIJ, “credit card coverage falls short in a few areas: robust trip cancellation coverage, medical and evacuation coverage, pre-existing medical conditions, card limits and covering other travelers. CSA explained that only around 15 per cent of credit cards offer travel cancellation insurance and most trip cancellation or interruption protection offered by credit cards is limited to a handful of reasons such as illness, injury or death.”
Traveling should be fun and stress-free, but to make sure that’s the case, you need to ensure that any potential problems are covered by a policy that takes care of any injuries, theft, or transportation issues that could arise.