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The Nitty Gritty

Should you pay for travel insurance?

As the colder weather approaches, you may start to make your holiday travel plans, we may be faced with the decision of whether or not to purchase travel insurance. You may wonder if travel insurance is worth it.

Here are some tips to help you decide before you complete your purchase:

 
Understand the types
There are two basic forms of travel insurance that are commonly purchased.
  • Vacation Plan Insurance covers a majority of expenses and property loss.
  • Travel Medical Insurance concentrates on providing coverage for most medical and emergency evacuation expenses.
 
Know what’s covered
When planning your trip, you can get insurance from a variety of sources, including the airline, cruise carrier or an independent agency. Travel insurance typically offers financial assistance under the following circumstances:
  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption for natural disasters and illness
  • Baggage and personal items in case your bags are lost or stolen
  • Emergency medical insurance (Something to consider for trips abroad. For example, Medicare will not provide coverage outside of the U.S.)
  • Accidental death or dismemberment if you or a loved-one dies or sustains a very serious injury
  • Emergency evacuation assistance in the event that there is a need for evacuation
 
Consider the circumstances
Before you add insurance to your shopping cart, consider whether or not you’ll realistically need it. If, for example, you’re flying nonstop from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the odds are low that you’ll lose your bag or encounter flight-cancelling weather.

However, if you’re flying through an area known for winter storms, have to make multiple connections or are going abroad, you may want to consider protecting yourself.

If you are traveling abroad don’t forget to check the list of countries that require medical travel insurance upon entry.

 
Check your credit card benefits
Some credit cards offer travel assistance within their benefits, which means you will be able to receive support in an emergency situation. Some of these services include medical and legal referrals, emergency transportation, emergency translation, and prescription services. However, with these services come out of pocket costs, so be sure to do your research into the offerings before you rely on your credit card benefits.

 
Check your budget
Finally, weigh the costs against what you can afford. If the price tag on insurance is just too high, the cost of losing a bag or missing a flight—while frustrating—may not be worth the extra cash.