Deciding to purchase travel insurance is not as easy as it may seem. When you input “travel insurance” into the Google search bar, you get about 189,000,000 results. Well, that doesn’t really narrow anything down; certainly not at first glance. So let’s break it down.
You’ve planned a trip and you’re really excited, but then you start thinking: What happens if my luggage doesn’t make it? Will my medical insurance cover me while I’m away, especially if I’m traveling overseas? What if something happens and I need to cancel my trip or if I get there and have to come home early?
All valid questions. Personally, I agree with Ed Perkins of SmarterTravel.com who says that another important question to ask yourself is, “Have I invested more money in my trip than I’m willing to lose?”
So what does travel insurance really do for you? Pretty simply put, it provides you with:
- Travel protection or trip cancellation;
- Baggage protection;
- Medical coverage while traveling;
- Emergency medical evaluation;
- Accidental death.
Having been unable to fly once myself because of a newly broken ankle; having been unable to reschedule my flight because an impending snowstorm was about to shut down the entire East Coast; having had a family member get sick overseas – all these things together have convinced me to always purchase travel insurance whenever I fly. To quote Benedict Walker of LonelyPlanet.com, “Travel insurance exists to protect a traveler’s investment in their journey and ensure they don’t lose out, and get medical help if things go wrong.”
I like knowing that if I have a real medical emergency or even if I get the flu, I don’t have to spend a minute worrying about coverage. I can get help as soon as I need it and then submit the claim to the insurance company when I get home. (Though I have found it’s always a good idea to call the insurance provider to fully understand their protocol and procedures. “When traveling, keep the emergency number close as well as a copy of your Certificate of Insurance, just in case,” advises Walker.)
I like knowing that I’m covered if my luggage arrives three days after I do. I’m happy knowing I can go out and buy clothes and toiletries (paid for by the insurance) and not be stuck dirty and smelly for three days, waiting for my suitcase to arrive.
I like knowing I have options if my flight is delayed or cancelled because of a snowstorm or a hurricane or a volcanic eruption. (Trust me, it’s happened!)
I believe that above all, travel insurance gives you peace of mind. After I’ve spent so much time planning my trip, tweaking the schedule, making arrangements, being excited, looking forward . . . I’ve discovered that I really want that peace of mind.