Don’t Leave Home Without It

I get lots of questions about Travel Insurance – is it really necessary? Well, that depends. Can you take the financial hit if something goes wrong before and while you’re traveling? Missed flights, lost luggage, illness, or heaven forbid, a death can – and do happen. For a tiny fraction of your trip cost, travel insurance pays up if transportation issues, work issues, sickness, or even bad luck befall you.

Take my recent trip to the Bahamas. I was stranded in Miami when the flight I arrived on departed late, causing me to miss my connection home. The old days of airlines compensating you for missing or canceling your flight with meals or overnight accommodations are long gone.

Here’s how Travel Insurance works – if I purchased a $56 policy with $1,000 of coverage through my preferred provider, I’m covered immediately. I miss my connection, open their app on my phone, click a claim, and money is deposited in my account – to get a hotel, have a nice meal, and relax. What happens if the airline loses your luggage? It can take 45 days for them reimburse you for the fabulous clothes you bought just for this trip. Meanwhile…what do I wear on my vacation? With travel insurance, I’m immediately covered to replace them. I’ve had this happen on a European holiday (I still have yet to see my luggage…10 years later), and thank God I was covered. Replacement shopping in Paris is better when you’re not footing the bill – your travel insurance is.

Let’s say you and your husband have an exciting adventure. You’ve paid $4,000 to a tour provider, and $2,000 for the airfare. A week before your trip your daughter gets very sick. Tours are typically non-refundable – you purchase travel insurance for this reason. If you have to cancel, the tour provider will not refund your $4,000 – but your travel insurance will. Unless you purchased the highest full fare refundable airline ticket (who does this?), you’ll likely not get a refund from the airline. If you’ve rented a villa or private home, you must have travel insurance – home rentals are often not refundable. A $6,000 policy for a few hundred dollars would have covered all this. So the real question is – are you comfortable losing $6,000 or a spending few hundred for the policy?

Let’s say you’re on a fabulous vacation and you get sick in a foreign country. Your health insurance isn’t valid. I ended up in the emergency room on a family vacation to the Caribbean. It was not fun – but it was stress free knowing I was covered. Unfortunately, deaths do happen on vacation. I hope you never have to use “death or dismemberment” coverage, but sadly, vacation is a time when accidents happen, and travel insurance covers the extremely costly (read: tens of thousands of dollars) for “repatriation of remains” so you can return your loved one back home.

Not convinced yet? I have suitcases full of stories of travelers that travel with – and without travel insurance. The insured travelers have much happier stories. Take it from a dear friend whose $25,000 fantasy trip with her husband had to be cancelled when he ended up in the hospital a week before their departure. They purchased travel insurance – and got every cent back.

One final note…purchase travel insurance yourself and understand what you’re getting. Travel Insurance is not complicated – save money by running your own quote, and get exactly the coverage you need. If you purchase insurance through an airline, it’s likely only covering the airline portion. I’ve also run across villa rental companies selling expensive policies as “part of the villa rental”. Ask them to separate out the insurance, then price compare.

Life happens. Travel insurance gives you the peace of mind – and wallet when it does. To get a quick quote and purchase directly with my preferred provider (who also covers kids under 18 for free!), send me your trip details to jeanne@welltraveledtexan.com

And travel on!

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