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What You Need to Know About Travel Insurance

When you’re planning a vacation — especially if you’re traveling outside the United States — the topic of travel insurance is bound to come up. Before you dismiss it as an extra expense you don’t need, consider what would happen if your trip was cancelled due to circumstances beyond your control. Could you really afford to lose that money? Would you have to start saving for vacation all over again and delay your trip (or not go at all)? Let’s take a look at exactly what travel insurance covers and how it works.

What does travel insurance cover?

In general, it covers unexpected mishaps related to traveling, including:

  • Your trip being cancelled or interrupted due to weather or natural disasters
  • Your luggage being delayed, lost or stolen (or having individual items stolen from your luggage)
  • Medical emergencies
  • Accidental death or dismemberment                  

Who sells travel insurance?

There are many ways to purchase it. Airlines and cruise lines offer coverage, there are independent  agencies, and some credit cards offer coverage when you use the card to pay for travel expenses.

Should I consider travel insurance for every trip?

Not necessarily. If you’re taking a quick trip, using low-cost carriers, staying in budget accommodations, and traveling domestically, it’s probably not worth it. However, you’ll definitely want to consider travel insurance if you’re traveling for weeks (or months) at a time, particularly if those trips involve traveling outside the United States.

How can I figure out if I need travel insurance?

Spend some time doing a little research. Find out if your regular health insurance coverage travels with you. If not travel insurance is a must, especially if you’re traveling out of the country. Also check to see if your credit card offers it. If so, you may not need to purchase additional coverage.

So … what’s the bottom line?

As with all insurance, choosing whether or not to purchase travel insurance involves a little bit of hedging your bets. Chances are, your trip will proceed just fine. But, travel delays, lost luggage and unexpected travel injuries certainly aren’t unheard of. If you’d like to travel with complete peace of mind, and not have to worry about losing money due to unexpected events, you’ll appreciate the security it provides.

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