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Travel Insurance – When and When Not to Buy It

Most travelers mull over this question every time they need to leave home for a trip. Whether or not you need travel insurance is a difficult question to answer directly simply because there are so many factors involved. The fact that the travel insurance may duplicate much of the coverage you already have is a major deterrent to taking this kind of insurance in many cases. Take a look at some situations where you should take some travel insurance and some where you don’t need to.

Going to a Location Where Risk is High?

Are you planning on a trip to Alaska or a mountaineering expedition up to Machu Picchu? Clearly, you are far more likely to use your insurance coverage on this kind of trip than if you are just flying to London for a bit of sight- seeing. The same goes for what you plan to do when traveling. If you will be staying in your hotel room and only leaving it to attend business meetings next door, you may not be as much in need of travel insurance as your friend who intends to participate in a skiing competition down the Swiss Alps.

Spending a Fortune on Pre-Bookings?

If you have pre-paid reservations for that exclusive spa that has a mile long waiting list then it may be worthwhile taking travel insurance that will reimburse your expenses if the trip is canceled. For most regular travelers who typically  pre-book only their first night at a reasonably cheap hotel, it may not be worthwhile to spring for travel insurance.  A good rule of thumb to follow is that if a big portion of your travel expenses are non-refundable, consider travel insurance that will compensate you when the situation demands it.

Will you be Carrying Expensive, Specialized Materials in your Baggage?

If yes, then you probably need travel protection. For those people who need to carry expensive equipment along with them or equipment that is very difficult/ costly to replace (such as a Stradivarius guitar with a musician) insurance is a necessary safety net. If your baggage has nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that can’t be replaced quickly, don’t bother to insure it.

Are you a  High Risk Traveler?

Do you have any medical conditions that make you a high risk traveler? For example, if you have a history of respiratory ailments and you have needed emergency care a few times in the past, there is a chance that you may need it when you are traveling too. Cover the contingency with a travel insurance plan so that if you do need emergency treatment, the costs do not burn a sizable hole in your pockets.