Whether you are planning your first trip abroad or just a weekend jaunt to the mountains, you should ask yourself whether or not you need travel insurance.
Most average American travelers don't need travel insurance for relatively minor trips. For instance, if you are planning a week stay at Disney World or a romantic weekend in the Keys there may not be a need to spend the extra $25+ (depending on the provider), to “insure” your trip. Theses days the big push is to insure your trip “just in case”. It’s rare to not see the Protect Your Trip
line item at the end of your list of travel fees. While it’s optional, a lot of travel sites are pushing the insurance as a necessity rather what it is, an option. It is supposed to cover your expenses in case you miss your flight or loose your luggage, but for a domestic trip it is not a necessity. Many credit cards may offer the same protection. You should investigate whether you are offered any such insurance through your credit card company before deciding whether or not to buy the extra insurance coverage.
There are some circumstances where travel insurance is recommended. If you are booking a group vacation, an international airline ticket or a Safari in South Africa, it is usually a good idea to spend the extra money on travel insurance. The insurance provided by tour companies typically includes some sort of medical insurance as well coverage for things like missed flights, lost luggage or attraction/excursion replacement tickets. Make sure to read the fine print, the buyer may still be liable for a small portion of whatever is being replaced.
Travel Insurance is also good idea for older travelers, those with a history of illness or a large group of small children. You never know when a medical issue will arise that may prevent you from being able to go through with your plans. Typically, travel insurance provided by tour companies and cruise ships will include a cancellation provision. This allows you to cancel your trip, depending on the company and type of trip, up to 60 days prior to departure with just a minimal transaction fee (usually the cost of the insurance).
Remember, travel insurance is just that: insurance. It is only going to help you if something happens that requires it to kick in. Remember that not all travel insurance is created equal. Consider all your options carefully before adding it to your next adventure.
For more information on travel insurance, contact a local consumer protection attorney
to discuss your specific legal situation.