Do I need to get travel insurance?
In most situations it is usually financially a better deal to go without it. These insurance policies can be expensive and can sometimes add another 10% or more on top of the price of the ticket that you have just purchased. Also it is often the case that these policies have certain loopholes that make them tricky. In a world where everything seems to be possible, you might be covered for a broken leg for example but you might not be covered for a tsunami.
Travel insurance will usually help you out if for some reason you need to cancel your trip or you need to delay it. It will also cover you for damaged or lost property and for any emergency medical treatment.
Most people assume that their regular at home insurance company will naturally provide travel insurance protection as well, this can be a very bad assumption. Before you leave you need to ask your insurance company at home 2 questions:
- Does my policy apply when I am outside the country?
- Will it cover emergencies like a trip to a foreign hospital or an emergency evacuation?
Most people will find that their at home insurance provider will not cover them in these instances therefore it is always a good idea to find out before you leave.
If you do decide that you want to get travel insurance, make sure that you ask the travel insurance company these questions:
- Does this insurance policy cover foreign hospital expenses and emergency evacuation if needed?
- Does this insurance policy cover high-risk activities?
- Does it cover pre-existing conditions?
- Does this policy required second opinions or pre-authorizations before treatment can begin?
- Does it guarantee medical payments abroad?
- Does it have a 24-hour support center?
- Is there an age limit? Does a person’s age precludes certain coverage?
Every single person is different and every situation will also be different. As such you can’t make a general statement as to whether you will or will not need travel insurance. In order to find out for yourself whether you will need travel insurance, ask yourself:
- Do I need special care? Does anyone whom I’m traveling with need special care?
- Will I or my family be engaging in any kind of high-risk activity?
- Am I going to a high risk area?
- Is there a possibility that I will need to cancel or postpone my trip at a moments notice? Is it hurricane season during my travel time? Do I or does someone in my family have a future appointment that might compromise the trip?
Basically getting insurance is sort of like trying to figure out the future, you are trying to figure out what might or might not happen. The best you can do is answer the above questions and make a good and informed decision. If you answer no to the 4 questions above, then it is most likely that you will not need travel insurance and can therefore save some money.
As a final note, see if you get any kind of special coverage from your credit card. Visa for example will usually provide some coverage if you buy the tickets using their card. Depending on the kind of card that you have (gold, platinum, travel, etc.) you will have different types of coverage so you must always make sure that you understand the coverage that you do have and any loopholes that might present themselves. If you don’t know exactly what your coverage is then talk to a representative that can tell you, do this before you travel.
For U.S. Citizens
For Canadian Citizens