Anyone who has traveled has probably asked themselves the question of whether or not they really need travel insurance, and if it is worth the cost? The answer to that question is not an easy one. While we wish we could simply say “Yes” or “No” we can’t. Whether or not travel insurance is worth it depends on the traveler and the insurance.
Let’s take a closer look at whether or not travel insurance is worth it. Before we can determine if travel insurance is worth buying, you have to realize that the term “travel insurance” covers a wide-range of policies. So, let’s take a look at some of the policies typically covered by travel insurance, or in other words, some of the different types of travel insurance:
This kind of travel insurance is usually less than $10 a flight, but it only covers death while flying. Of course if you have life insurance you probably do not need this coverage, unless your life insurance does not cover you when you are out of the country, or in the air, which is rare.
Travel cancellation insurance
These kind of policies typically cost 4 percent of the price of a trip, but they promise to protect you from paying for a vacation that never happens, whether because you are forced to cancel the trip or your tour company goes out of business. Some of these have restrictions about why you miss your trip, but most simply cover it.
Medical travel insurance
These sort of policies range from $50 to $1,000 depending on your coverage. They simply offer medical coverage, over and above your regular health insurance, while traveling. Some regular coverage does not cover you if you leave the country, so you can buy supplemental medical travel insurance to cover you while on vacation or business.
Of course, there is some travel insurance that covers all of these kinds and more. Often, travel insurance companies sell packages that include all of these categories and extras like covering rental cars, or lost baggage, etc. The cost for this kind of insurance is usually about $190 a trip. So, if you are going on a trip that is in the states, you can really add to the expense of the trip making it far more costly than it would be otherwise.
Okay, so now you know what kind of insurance there is, and you know how much it costs. So, let’s look at whether or not you actually need it. The truth is that while there may be some people who really need all that coverage, most travelers don’t. In fact, many travel-related mishaps are already covered by your health insurance, life insurance, homeowners insurance, car insurance, or coverage that comes with your credit cards. So, if you want to know if travel insurance is going to be worth it to you, you have to take the time to see what kinds of losses are covered by existing policies that you already have.
To determine if travel insurance is worth it, do the following:
1. Start by calling your health insurance, life insurance, homeowners insurance, car insurance, and credit cards to find out what they will cover if you are traveling. For example, most car insurance policies cover you even if you are in a rental car. If you do not want to make the calls, look online, or look at the policies directly.
2. Once you know what your existing insurance policies cover (the ones you are already paying for), you can fill in your gaps or holes with extra insurances.
3. Once you find the kinds of insurances your existing insurance does not cover, you can look for a good price.
4. Once you find the lowest price, it is time to evaluate if the price paid is worth the security. In some cases, for example, you might pay $30 for luggage insurance, but your airline carrier already covers your luggage up to a certain amount, so you would only need this if the items you are transporting in your luggage exceed the amount in value.
A good place to start to find the insurance needed to fill in gaps is Insuremytrip.com, which sells policies from most of the major companies in this area. The site also gives you side-by-side policy comparisons. Many other online insurance sites, including Insurance.com, don’t sell travel insurance products, at least not yet.
If you do not want to take time to check all of your individual policies, it is okay, we have compiled a list of the kinds of travel insurance you do not need because most of the time it is covered by your existing insurances:
If you have auto insurance, you are typically covered for domestic and even international rentals, so you do not need to pay all that extra charges because they are already covered. Or if you rent with a credit card, you probably will not need car rental insurance. However, if you do, rent it through the car rental agency themselves.
If you have homeowners insurance or renters insurance you probably do not need to buy insurance to cover your luggage, it is usually covered. However, if you travel with expensive computer equipment or jewelry, you may want take out a rider that will cover the full value of these goods. It is cheaper to take out that rider through your actual insurance carrier than buy that insurance through a travel insurer. And, most airlines will pay up to $2,500 for luggage they’ve lost.
You really do not need travel insurance for delays. Travel delay insurance pays for extra costs incurred because of delays. However, if your delay is the fault of the airline, you should ask for them to foot the hotel bill. If you are careful, you won’t have delays caused by yourself, so there is no reason to spend money on that insurance.
If you have regular life insurance, you do not need to buy accidental death and flight insurance. While these are particularly popular right now, in the event of your death in an air crash, you’re best bet is to buy or beef up a regular life insurance policy rather than pay for additional coverage. The average healthy person can buy a life insurance policy for an annual premium that is not much more than these one-shot deals.
The fact is that trip insurance exists to protect you from losing the money invested in your vacation should something unexpected happen. However, for most people, typical insurance covers the same things as trip insurance. Even with medical insurance, if a pre-existing condition flares up that prevents you or your travel companion from traveling, your trip is not covered, it is extra stuff.
If you do buy travel insurance, make sure that you know exactly what is covered, or it won’t be worth it to you.
When going on an inexpensive flight or a car trip where you’re staying two nights in a hotel probably doesn’t warrant additional insurance. However, if you are putting a significant amount of money into a trip, it can be worth getting insurance.