You’ve found a deal on a hotel, airfare, and maybe even a rental car. You input your credit card and are ready to press submit when you see the section asking if you want to purchase travel insurance. It’s going to make your trip even more expensive, and you’re pretty sure everything is going to work out, so do you need travel insurance?
We’ve all faced that same question, so we asked some travel experts “do you need travel insurance?” Here are some of the answers we received:
Purchasing travel insurance is one of the smartest things a traveler can do. Not only does it cover medical incidents while traveling, a good company will cover trip cancellation due to employment termination, corporate merger, jury duty, military duty, court order, even needing to stay home to witness a birth. Though many travelers feel they’re covered with their regular health insurance, life is uncertain and cancellations are sometimes necessary for reasons beyond health concerns. – Jo-Ann Moss, Vibrant Cruises
The primary considerations when deciding whether to buy travel insurance(aside from its price) should be (i) the specific claims covered, (ii) the duration of that coverage, and (iii) traveler specific characteristics such as risk tolerance, susceptibility to illness, job stability etc. For large families, buying travel insurance may be a good decision because the probability of cancelling a trip due to unforeseen circumstances increases as the number of travelers increases. To take a simple example, imagine that any individual has a 5% chance of becoming unable to travel due to illness. For a family of 6 people, the probability that any one of them will become too sick to travel (necessitating cancellation of the trip) is over 25%, calculated as 1-(1-0.05)^6. Of course, myriad other factors come into play, and travelers might consider purchasing refundable lodging as a cheaper form of “insurance” against anything that could cause them to cancel the trip. – Jeremy Murphy CEO, TheSuitest.com.
I definitely recommend travel insurance. I usually find that those people who do not purchase it wish they did and those who did buy it, end up not needing it. Murphy’s Law, I guess. I especially recommend it if you aretraveling in the winter months, since you never know when a snowstorm may cancel flights and during hurricane season. And of course, there are situations like the Iceland volcano a couple years ago that nobody (other than scientists) could have predicted. Always better to be safe vs. sorry! I also recommend that travelers understand what the plan covers. Some allow travelers to cancel their vacation for ANY reason and get a full refund. Others only allow for cancellation for specific covered reasons. Some plans offer a cash refund, and others only offer a credit for future travel instead of actual cash back. – Carey Driscoll, Certified Travel Concierge, Beach Bum Vacation
The golden rule is: as with all things that we insure in life, a vacation should not be an exception; if you can’t afford to lose it, you should insure it. – Linda Tancs, Wanderful Cruises
We also received a tip specifically about where you should buy your travel insurance.
Don’t buy your travel insurance through the cruise line or travel destination. You can usually find better coverage at a lower price on your own. Sites like www.squaremouth.com let travelers compare different travel insurance options in one place. – Christine Hardenberger, The Vacation Architect
So, the answer really is – it depends. Just make sure you do the work of deciding if it’s for you, rather than just clicking that “skip” button when booking your trip.