Travel insurance can minimize the considerable financial risks of traveling: accidents, illness, missed flights, cancelled tours, lost baggage, theft, terrorism, travel-company bankruptcies, emergency evacuation, and getting your body home if you die.
For some travellers, travel insurance is a good deal; for others, it’s not. What are the chances you’ll need it? How willing are you to take risks? How much is peace of mind worth to you? Take these considerations into account, understand your options, and make an informed decision for your trip.
- Medical Cover
This is probably the most important aspect of travel insurance. Before buying a special medical insurance policy for your trip, check with your medical insurer — you might already be covered by your existing health plan. Even if your health plan does cover you internationally, you may want to consider buying a special medical travel policy. Much of the additional coverage available is supplemental (or “secondary”), so it covers whatever expenses your health plan doesn’t, such as deductibles.
- Trip-Cancellation or Interruption Insurance
It’s expensive to cancel or interrupt any prepaid kind of travel, and for a fraction of the trip cost, you can alleviate the risk of losing money if something unforeseen gets in the way. A standard trip-cancellation or interruption insurance policy covers the non-refundable financial penalties or losses you incur when you cancel a prepaid tour or flight for an acceptable reason, such as:
- You, your travel partner, or a family member cannot travel because of sickness, death, layoff, or a list of other acceptable reasons;
- Your tour company or airline goes out of business or can’t perform as promised;
- You miss a flight or need an emergency flight for a reason outside your control.
- Baggage Insurance
For luggage that is lost, delayed, or damaged — this is included in most comprehensive policies, but it’s rare to buy it separately. Baggage insurance puts a strict cap on reimbursement for such items as jewellery, eyewear, electronics, and photographic equipment — read the fine print. If you check your baggage for a flight, it’s already covered by the airline (ask your airline about its luggage liability limit; if you have particularly valuable luggage, you can buy supplemental “excess valuation” insurance directly from the airline).