This is one of those age-old questions with no definitive answer. It’s estimated that 30 percent of Americans purchase travel insurance, which is a drastic increase since 9/11, when less than 10 percent of travelers were insured.
If you’re flying on a $150 ticket to see Aunt Irma in Wisconsin, you probably don’t need travel insurance. But on a trip such as yours, travel insurance can come in handy if something unexpectedly disrupts your trip. Your first step is to compare the cost of the trip versus the cost of the policy.
The most common situations when travel insurance comes in handy are:
Your flight is canceled
Your passport and wallet are stolen
You require medical treatment while abroad
You need to cancel your trip due to illness
An unexpected hurricane hits your destination
Your airline/cruise line/tour company go bankrupt
Reasons NOT to purchase travel insurance are:
You’re afraid of terrorism
A hurricane is going to hit your destination (this applies if the storm has already been named by the National Weather Service)
Your pet is ill
Your flight is delayed for so long that you want to cancel
One major caveat: Never purchase travel insurance from the same tour operator or cruise line with which you’re traveling. If that company goes out of business, there may not be money to cover your claim. Use a third-party provider (that includes travel agents).
Also, don’t forget about medical insurance. Even if you are covered for basic emergency care overseas, in almost all cases, your current health insurance does NOT cover you to evacuate you and fly you back to the U.S. Something called “Medical Evacuation and Repatriation” insurance comes in handy here. You pay a yearly fee, and if you get sick or injured overseas, the policy will get you treated, stabilized and flown back to the U.S. to the hospital of your choice, not theirs. There are a number of good companies that provide this type of plan, such as MedJet Assist.