A vacation is an investment in your life experiences, in your time with friends or family and in your mental health. If you’re like the majority of Americans, you can spend thousands of dollars on a vacation when you factor in flights, hotels, car rentals, meals, and souvenirs and other incidentals. In fact, on average, a couple can spend up to $5,000 for a week’s vacation.
The bottom line is that a vacation is an investment – and, as with any other investment, it’s important to protect your money.
Travel insurance protects your vacation investment from a variety of unforeseen events that may disrupt your plans. It costs just a fraction of your total trip cost and can help you recoup the money you’ve spent in the event your trip doesn’t go as planned.
From your driveway to your destination to back home again, travel insurance keeps you protected. Here are some of the top reasons to consider the purchase of travel insurance.
1. Trips get cancelled — a lot
Most travel is paid for well in advance, typically months before you start to pack your suitcase. But life is unpredictable. Situations can change due to a financial setback, an unexpected family death or illness, unforeseen natural disasters or even because of a legal obligation such as being called for jury duty.
Typically, any time you need to cancel a flight or a hotel, you potentially could lose a large portion of your investment. You may even lose all of the money you put towards your vacation. This could total thousands of dollars – money you probably can’t afford to lose.
Fortunately, travel insurance policies offer trip cancellation and interruption coverage – sometimes even “cancel for any reason” coverage – to help protect you. Depending on the type of policy and the coverage you’ve purchased, you may be able to recover up to 100% of your insured trip costs.
2. Medical emergencies happen at home and abroad
It’s not unusual to get sick when you travel – in the States and abroad. Sometimes travel means less sleep, more exotic foods, questionable drinking water or heightened risk of infectious illnesses.
You may also be more likely to get injured on vacation than you are when you’re sitting at your work desk – especially if you participate in adventurous activities such as ziplining, kayaking or hiking. Even driving on the other side of the road could raise your accident risk.
Although you likely have primary health insurance that covers you in your home country, emergencies can happen while traveling abroad. Emergency medical coverage can help fill any medical coverage gaps.
Before you go on vacation, it is essential to understand what coverage (if any) your primary health insurance provides during your trip. Understanding this will help you choose the right medical travel insurance and will make sure you can get treatment during your trip, if needed, without breaking your bank.
Medical evacuation insurance coverage may be a good idea if you are traveling to a remote area. It covers the cost of being airlifted or transported to medical treatment in a different location.
If you plan to be away from home for six months or more, travel medical plans can cover routine medical visits and prescription medication refills.
3. Natural disasters are unpredictable
Mother Nature has her own unknowable plans. A hurricane can disrupt or cancel your Caribbean getaway. Your trip to Japan could be shaken up by an earthquake. Snow in Chicago could ground your flight, even if you have no plans to travel to (or through) the Windy City.
Travel insurance can cover you in all these instances, whether you have to cancel your trip entirely or your flights are canceled. If you miss a connecting flight because of a weather delay, missed connection coverage can also protect you from monetary loss.
In addition to trip cancellation coverage, you can purchase trip interruption coverage. Travel interruption coverage will help you return home if something occurs in the middle of your trip, whether it’s a medical issue or a natural disaster.
Together, these policies cover the loss of money from the remainder of your trip, as well as the steep costs of getting a last-minute flight home.
4. Replacing lost luggage is expensive
Millions of bags are lost, damaged, delayed or stolen every year. And no one wants to end up at their destination with just the clothes on their back. Even if you lose your baggage on your return trip home, it can be expensive to replace items in your suitcase.
Lost or delayed baggage coverage can help cover these losses. If your baggage is delayed, it can cover the cost of purchasing necessary items while waiting for your bags. It can also include the cost of repairing any damaged items.
If you plan to bring expensive or valuable items with you, or plan to bring them home, you should insure your luggage to protect your investment.
5. You never know what might happen
All the reasons to buy travel insurance listed above happen fairly frequently. But travel insurance can help even when rare or unusual circumstances disrupt your vacation. For example:
- Terrorism travel insurance covers you if your destination experiences a terrorist attack before or during your trip.
- Some travel insurance plans will cover you if the airline, hotel or travel company you book through goes bankrupt. If you find yourself with tickets for a flight that will never take off, you won’t lose out on the money you invested.
- Lost passport coverage helps you with the fees and difficulties of replacing or traveling without a passport abroad. It can also help if you have to rebook flights because of a delay due to a lost passport.
For almost any reason that your trip may be canceled, delayed or interrupted, there is travel insurance that can help you get all or a portion of your money back.
What about COVID?
The two most common types of coverage are cancellation and emergency medical. Though you may have coverage for your treatment if you come down with COVID symptoms while on travel, your policy most likely won’t provide coverage if your trip is canceled due to a disease outbreak. Additionally, developing COVID symptoms might prevent you from traveling, but it most likely won’t trigger your policy any more than catching a cold or the flu would. As part of your trip planning, you should carefully go over COVID-related exclusions and coverage with your insurance professional.
Be aware that some countries have instituted vaccine requirements for entry and others have strict hygienic practices, even on the beach.
How to buy travel insurance
Talk to your insurance professional to find the right type and level of travel insurance coverage for your specific trip. It will help you explore the world with peace of mind.
No matter what life throws your way, you’ll have the resources you need – and less worry about unexpected out of pocket costs.