Should you buy travel insurance?

Every time I buy a plane ticket, the airline or travel agency asks if I want to add on travel insurance. Is this really worth it? What am I actually buying?

It depends.

The holidays are coming up, a big time for trip planning and flight purchases. Before you buy your next ticket it’s good to think about whether or not you need to buy travel insurance…

(Note – these are simply recommendations, based on standard travel insurance offerings.)

What if we told you that Travel Insurance is a 1.9 Billion Dollar Industry?

These days, every time you buy a plane ticket, hotel room, or rental car you’re asked one simple question: Do you want to buy travel insurance?

For the low price of $20-50 you can be assured that, if a (covered) emergency happens, you’re covered. What does a covered emergency include?

It depends on your coverage. For the most part, travel insurance covers trip cancellation (for specific reasons), emergency medical expenses, emergency evacuations, lost bags, delayed bags, delayed flights, and 24/7 travel assistance.

So, when should you buy travel insurance?

Let’s first cover when should you NOT need travel insurance…


Last-Minute Domestic Flights

If it’s November 18th and you’re considering buying a plane ticket to visit the family within the next week, chances are that you don’t need travel insurance, especially if you won’t be checking your bags.

You know that your health insurance will cover you domestically, and you shouldn’t need to worry about an emergency evacuation.

If you’re sure that you’ll be able to make your flight, there’s no reason to buy trip cancellation insurance. 


Cheap Domestic Trips

Again, no need to worry about health insurance on this trip. If your ticket is so cheap that you can afford to skip the trip without a refund, the only good travel insurance can do is to pay for lost luggage, but remember: the airline is also (typically) responsible for paying for anything they might lose (although there are some limits on how much they’ll pay).


When DO you need travel insurance? If you’re leaving the country…

If you’re going to be leaving the country, it’s very important to make sure that you have your health expenses covered, in case of an emergency, and also (especially if you’re going to be adventure-seeking) it’s important to have evacuation insurance.

Most airlines cover both of these instances with travel insurance, but you can also find less expensive plans that will cover your specific needs elsewhere.


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