Travel insurance: Is it worth the extra cash?
By Aimee Heckel
Planning a vacation can be expensive, and the costs don’t seem to be dropping. A recent article in the Denver Post noted that the average “true price” of a one-way ticket has surged nearly 30 percent since 2008, according to a study by Boyd Group International.
If you’re on a budget, you’re probably looking to cut costs wherever possible. You search travel deals and discounts, and you know to travel in the off-season for the best rates. You know the terms of your regular car insurance, and whether you really need to buy extra insurance from the rental car company (hint: You probably don’t). You shop rental car deals and never overpay.
So what about travel insurance?
The average cost of comprehensive travel insurance is about $65 per $1,000 of trip costs, according to Yahoo.com. This number can escalate quickly if you’re traveling as a family or internationally.
Other factors that can influence the cost of your travel insurance: length of trip, age of travelers and pre-existing conditions.
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to get travel insurance:
1. Compare rates. Just like you did with your airline tickets, don’t assume all insurance will cost the same. You can compare different companies and policies at www.worldtravelcenter.com.
2. Read the fine print. Know what the policy does and does not cover, and make sure it meets your needs.
3. Know the limitations of your current insurance. Your health insurance back home may cover some medical expenses overseas — or not at all. Know your coverage to prevent any surprises — and any extra costs of unnecessary extra coverage.
4. Consider a travel insurance package plan, which provides a wider umbrella of coverage, spanning medical, trip cancellations and even loss of baggage.
5. Be clear on what travel insurance can do for you. It can protect you if:
- Your flight is cancelled. This includes if your carrier closes due to bankruptcy.
- You need to cancel your trip because you get sick.
- You want to cancel your trip due to safety, such as a terrorism incident or hurricane. If you are traveling to a hurricane-risk zone during hurricane season, your airfare may be a lot cheaper — but you run the risk of not being able to go at all. In this case, the small cost of trip insurance combined with the discounted tickets may still be cheaper than a busy-season ticket.
- Your passport and wallet are stolen.
- You have a medical emergency overseas.
- You are in an accident and you need a medical evacuation.
You can also add optional coverage, for a little more money. This coverage may include cancellations for any reason, work reasons and even golf course closures.
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