Many Americans are looking forward to much-needed vacations. As they book their flights or reserve their hotel rooms, there’s a good chance someone will ask them the following question: “Would you like to add travel insurance to protect your trip?”
A number of folks jump at this offer, out of fear or simply out of impulse, and the U.S. Travel Insurance Association estimates that about $1.9 billion in policies are sold annually, according to the most recent numbers.
So should you add travel insurance to your trip? And if so, what should you look for in a policy?
The good news is that providers offer a menu of services, from which consumers pick and choose.
Some of the most common options:
•Medical. If you have ever come down with a bad stomach bug and got frustrated locating a gastroenterologist in your hometown, just imagine that search in the jungles of Cambodia. Medical travel insurance can help provide coverage to limit out-of-pocket costs.
•Evacuation. If you’re abroad and must deal with a natural disaster or political unrest, getting to a safe place in a strange land is a harrowing experience. It can also be incredibly expensive. Travel insurance can help cover the cost of getting out of harm’s way.
•Cancellation. More painful than suffering a last-minute injury that ruins your trip can be the realization that you can’t get back the big bucks you paid for travel arrangements or a tour. This kind of travel insurance also covers cancellations due to other problems, including if your tour provider goes bankrupt or an airline delay causes you to miss your event.
•Baggage. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than lost, damaged or stolen luggage. But at least being covered will provide some reimbursement for that new bathing suit you’re forced to buy upon arrival.
•Death and dismemberment. Similar to typical life insurance, this option provides your heirs with a payout should you die during your trip.
Should You Buy Travel Insurance?
If you’re a worrier, it’s difficult to put a price tag on peace of mind. But even the most nervous of travelers should think twice about certain areas of travel insurance, because the benefits are extremely limited or because you may be covered elsewhere.