If someone asked me what I would do if I had more money than I could ever spend, the answer would be easy. I would travel. I would travel a lot. Travel can be very expensive, which is why I don’t travel as much as I would like. I could spend enough money to ensure that I head away from millionaire and towards bust. That is why I am really careful with my money while indulging my passion for travel.
Over the years, my wife and I have come up with a lot of ways to save money while traveling abroad. One area that we have never discussed on either the blog or the podcast is travel insurance. The first question is: Should you even bother with it? I have to be honest and say that I have rarely used travel insurance. In the past it really didn’t fit my life situation. My credit card, my home insurance and my health insurance combined to give me coverage for my bags, my possessions and my healthcare even when I was abroad. Now I don’t have a credit card that extends me that coverage and my health insurance coverage abroad is much more limited. Combine that with the fact that I now have two young kids who I worry about keeping healthy more than I ever worried about myself and there is a possibility that travel insurance might be a good investment in piece of mind. So, I’ve been considering it for upcoming trips.
So, why would someone get travel insurance? That’s a very good question. Well, travel insurance can cover a multitude of travel issues depending on the type of policy you get. It could include lost baggage, stolen belongings, medical/dental costs, legal costs, missed connections, trip delays/cancellation, funeral costs, etc. Whether or not you consider travel insurance coverage would depend on what you are covered for by insurance you already have. If you’re not sure what your insurance covers, you should look into that before you look into travel insurance. Also look into what your credit card covers. Sometimes purchasing a ticket with a credit card provides you with some level of protection. Whether it is enough protection depends on your level of comfort with risk. Also look into what coverage your auto club, such as AAA in the United States, might cover. You might be surprised by what they provide.
If it turns out that you need additional travel insurance, there are a lot of places you can find it. Travel agents, tour operators and cruise lines all sell travel insurance, but they’re not usually the best places to purchase it. If one of them goes bankrupt, you’ll not only have to cancel your trip, you’ll also not get the insurance money to reimburse you for that loss. That makes a third party insurer or broker a better choice to consult. Take a look online. You can find some excellent deals that way. If you’re pouring too much money into travel insurance, it stops being cost effective. So, definitely shop around.
The bottom line is that traveling should be a pleasant experience. If you’re overly worried by the potential risks of traveling and having a little extra insurance would put you at ease, so that you could enjoy your trip, that might be reason enough. Or if you travel with your kids as I do and feel like they are too important for you to take a risk of not having enough coverage for them when you travel abroad, you might want to consider insurance. There are a lot of good reasons to get travel insurance. You just have to evaluate those reasons and balance them against the cost.