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A Travel Insurance Guide – Do I Really Need It?

A Travel Insurance Guide – Do I Really Need It?

“It is not going to happen to me” is what goes through a large percentage of travelers’ minds when they decline travel insurance. Yet, there is no crystal ball to truly tell us if we will need it. The reality is – travel insurance is just like every other insurance we purchase in our lives. We have insurance for a car, medical, life, home, pets, etc. We never know when we will need all of those insurances, but we still buy it every month. So why not always buy travel insurance?

In this travel insurance guide, I will explain why you should consider travel insurance, what travel insurance is worth, how to get travel insurance for FREE, what to look for in a policy, how to book travel insurance, and more.

Disclaimer: Please note, I am not an insurance representative or specialist. I am a travel blogger with my own opinions providing advice or recommendations to help other travelers based on my own personal experiences. Like all insurances, every policy and situation is different. What I discuss below, may not always work for the next person. Furthermore, This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but we would receive a small commission. We want to thank everyone for following and supporting us on all of “Our Sweet Adventures.” 

Why You Should Consider Travel Insurance

As stated before, people tend to not purchase travel insurance because they don’t think it’s needed. Of course, they would rather spend that money on an awesome excursion – I definitely do not blame them. However, you should always consider travel insurance because of the risks.

The Risks if You Do Not Get Travel Insurance

How do you know that your flight won’t get delayed and then you miss your connecting flight? How do you know a hurricane will not hit your island getaway? How do you know that a major life event will not happen during your vacation? How do you know that an epidemic will not spread throughout the world (and at your trip destination)? How do you know that you will not get hospitalized when you were just trying to hike Machu Picchu? How do you know that you will not get into a car accident during your 7 days in Ireland?

If you are not getting travel insurance, it is like placing a bet that none of the scenarios above are going to happen during your trip. I do not know about you, but I do not like gambling. Believe it or not, every single one of the scenarios above happened to my friends, family, or clients. Moreover, we did get hospitalized after hiking Machu Picchu AND got into a car accident in Ireland. Did I mention both of those incidents happened within 3 months? True story. And guess what? We did not pay a dime for our medical bill, flight price difference, or rental car damage.

Three people standing with their arms out looking towards Machu Picchu - one of the greatest destinations in the world.

So why should you consider travel insurance? Because you never know what will happen before or during your trip. With that said, if you are not covered under a travel insurance policy, and a scenario does happen, you will be kicking yourself while you open your wallet to pay for all your costs.

What is Travel Insurance Worth to You?

In addition to people thinking they will not need travel insurance, they also think travel insurance is too expensive. Truth be told, I cannot answer this question for you. Everyone has their own personal opinion of how much a trip is worth to them. We all have a different perspective on what an expensive trip or budget looks like.

However, the advice I can offer you is this. If you are worried about the extra cost of travel insurance, then I recommend including it in your total budget. Because as you can see in the previous section, risks do occur all the time. It might not be every trip that you need travel insurance, but when you do need it, you will be glad you have it. So why not just include the travel insurance in your total vacation budget?

How Much are you Willing to Lose?”

With that being said, the way I like to always approach travel insurance is by asking yourself, “how much are you willing to lose?” For example, if a once-in-a-lifetime trip to an African safari costs $10,000 and you do not purchase travel insurance – are you willing to lose $10,000? Or is an extra $400 to get fully reimbursed for $10,000 worth it? Moreover, are you willing to lose $400 or $10,000?

Even if your trip costs $2000 and travel insurance is $100, are you willing to lose $100 or $2000? So I ask you, how much is travel insurance worth to you?

A man and woman riding a jeep enjoying their African safari.

Side note: the prices above are the actual costs of how much travel insurance could cost for those two vacation budgets. See how you can get these prices below.

What to Look for in a Policy

Another reason why people do not like buying travel insurance is that the policy is always grey with fine print. I completely understand! Like all insurances, it is not fun going through a policy to see what is and what is not covered. So in this section, I will try to help you make sure you understand what to look for in a policy.

In the past five years alone, I have seen travelers panic about their trip for a few following reasons – airline bankruptcy, severe hurricanes, and epidemics. Sadly, you will not find all of these reasons covered in every travel insurance policy.

What is Typically Covered in a Policy?

Typically, a basic travel insurance policy will cover the following reasons:

  • You, a spouse, or a family member becomes ill, injured, or develops a medical condition.
  • You, a spouse, or a family member dies.
  • You find out you are pregnant or need to attend the birth of a family member’s child.
  • You or a traveling companion is quarantined.
  • Family or friends outside the U.S. cannot accommodate you as planned because someone in their household has died, become seriously ill or injured, or developed a serious medical condition.
  • Traffic accident prior to the trip.
  • You are legally required to attend a legal proceeding during your trip.
  • You or a traveling companion legally separate or divorce.
  • You or a traveling companion is terminated or laid off by a current employer.
  • A hurricane or a severe natural disaster strikes at your destination.
  • Terrorism or mandatory evacuation at the destination.
  • You, a traveling companion, or a family member serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are reassigned.
  • Medical emergencies abroad.
  • Emergency evacuations abroad.
  • Lost bags, delayed bags, and delayed flights.
  • And more
A notebook with the map as the cover and a camera next to it.

What is Not Typically Covered in a Policy?

Though most travel insurance policies cover a large list of potential reasons why you would need to cancel your trip, the policies do not always cover the following major reasons:

  • Airline, cruise, or tour companies go bankrupt or file financial default.
  • Extreme high-risk sports such as sky-diving, scuba diving, bungee jumping, heli-skiing and more.
  • A pre-existing medical condition.
  • An epidemic or pandemic.
  • If you have to work during your scheduled trip.
  • Third-party car rental accidents.

So how do you get the above reasons covered in your travel insurance? You either pay a higher premium for a policy or purchase a cancel for any reason policy. Some travel insurance companies will offer a basic policy with the option to purchase additional coverage for high-risk sports, work, etc. To ensure you have coverage for a pre-existing medical condition or an epidemic, a travel insurance policy with cancel for any reason would be advised. Furthermore, some policies will include rental car insurance but not any third-party damage. So it would be advisable to purchase extra insurance with third-party coverage through the rental car company.

How To Book Travel Insurance

In short, you can book your travel insurance with me! As a travel agent, I receive great prices for different travel insurance plans for my clients. Furthermore, I work with one of the best travel insurance companies – Allianz. I have several different travel insurance plans that can cover all the common covered reasons in addition to company bankruptcy, work, pre-existing medical conditions, cancel for ANY reason, and more. Contact me for a quote.

Other great travel insurance companies that are recommended by my peers are World Nomads and AIG Travel Guard. Both companies are reputable with great customer service, different policy plans, and claims.

How to Get FREE Travel Insurance

If you have a travel credit card, you might already receive free travel insurance as a benefit. I recommend checking with your credit card provider to see if you do have travel insurance and what it covers. Most travel credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, include great “basic” coverage on travel insurance.

Three different credits with travel insurance slightly stacked over one another.

So if you are going on a budget-friendly trip to the Grand Cayman, your free travel insurance should be enough. However, if you are going on an African safari, hiking Machu Picchu, or spending your top budget dollars, then I recommend looking into purchasing extra travel insurance. Always make sure you are comfortable with your policy on what is covered.

How to Use Your Travel Insurance

You bought travel insurance – great! However, you incur a situation before or during your trip that requires you to file a claim. What do you do to make sure you receive your money?

First and foremost, file your claim immediately! Speak with your travel insurance representative on the steps you need to take to file your claim. More importantly and if possible, get proof! What do I mean? Well, sometimes if you are persistent, the representative can reassure you that you will be reimbursed for your claim.

We are not proud of our story, but here is what happened when we were hospitalized in Peru. Our travel insurance representative told us over the phone that we could cancel our flight and rebook a new one – all covered with our policy. So we did. Fast forward to when we were back home filing our claim, and the next representative tells us that our flights were not covered in our policy – that we would not be reimbursed. However, since we had “proof” (recorded phone call) that a representative provided us with incorrect information on our policy, we received every penny back.

Now, will this happen to everyone? Probably not, but it is crucial to contact your provider and make sure you are covered. Follow the claim guidelines, KEEP EVERYTHING (receipts, emails, etc), stay on top of your claim, and BE PERSISTENT. The insurance companies will say they will call you back or they are looking into the case. However, oftentimes you may not receive a callback and will need to follow up yourself. So keep calling! With that said, if your trip cancellation is a covered reason under your policy, you should always receive your money back.

Why I Always Recommend Travel Insurance

Based on my own personal experience, watching the news, and booking trips for clients, I always recommend travel insurance because I know what can happen. Moreover, I know that all of the reasons I have listed in the above sections have happened! Personally, I would not want to risk my trip being ruined or canceled without the reassurance that I will receive my money back. It already sucks if you cannot go on your trip that has been planned for months in advance, but to also not receive a reimbursement for the trip is even worse.

a man and woman swimming on the edge of Victoria Falls. Good thing they have travel insurance!

My advice to anyone that has booked a trip 6 months or more in advance, purchase a reliable travel insurance policy because ANYTHING can happen within that time. Whether it is for a personal or an uncontrolled universal reason – it is always reassuring to know that you will be covered for your trip.

I hope my travel insurance guide has been able to help answer a few of your questions. If you still have any, please feel free to contact me or leave me a comment below and I will do my best to answer it.