Here’s Why You Need Travel Insurance

Are you planning your big vacation for this summer? As you do, make sure to include travel insurance. There are plenty of affordable options that can give you peace of mind on any trip you take. Read this article to find out which works best for you.

Planning a vacation is supposed to be fun, which means many travelers neglect to consider travel insurance. After all, why would you spend your time thinking about the possibility of travel mishaps when you could be selecting itineraries, mapping out walking tours, or deciding which tropical drinks you’ll be enjoying on the beach?

But just like any other plans, vacations can go seriously awry, leaving you with a stressful situation rather than a relaxing respite. If you are out all of the money you spent on the vacation and forced to spend additional funds to get home, you may decide never to leave home again.

If you are traveling sometime this year, you might want to consider protecting yourself financially in case of vacation disaster with one of these options:

Travel Insurance Through Your Credit Card

If you purchase your travel using a credit card, you will often be offered some sort of travel insurance as a perk of using the card. Credit cards offer insurance on anything from rental car collision to trip cancellation to fatal travel accidents to lost luggage.

However, the insurance offered by credit cards should be considered a secondary form of travel insurance, since there are many rules, exclusions, and coverage holes in the average credit card travel insurance package. And the most common need for travel insurance—covering a cancellation due to illness or family emergency—is only covered by 15% of credit cards.

In addition, credit cards do not offer medical or evacuation coverage. For those traveling abroad or on a cruise, this is an important exclusion to note. If you were to fall ill or be injured outside of the United States, you could potentially be on the hook for your medical care and emergency flight back home.

Cancellation Insurance

This offers you a refund for the price of the trip should you be unable to take it. Generally, cancellation insurance costs 5%-10% of the price of the trip.

For travelers taking a structured vacation—like a cruise or a tour—the company will often offer a cancellation waiver. Waiver prices vary from company to company, but they are generally much lower than cancellation insurance. The waiver is similar to cancellation insurance, but it has a number of restrictions, including a prohibition on canceling your trip at the last minute. Unfortunately, that is when most vacations need to be cancelled.

The typical timeframe for canceling a cruise for a full refund is more than 75 days before the ship sails. After that point, you could lose up to 75% of your purchase price—or the entire purchase price if you cancel within two weeks of the sail date.

Adding 5%-10% to the price of your trip could help you rest easy that your vacation won’t be an expensive empty room on a cruise ship.

Personal Effects Coverage

This is one type of travel insurance that most vacationers probably don’t need. Often, your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance will cover the loss of your possessions, no matter where those possessions happen to be in the world.

However, if you’re traveling with a great deal of expensive photography equipment, sports gear, or your heirloom jewelry, it might be worth your while to purchase an endorsement to your existing homeowner’s policy to cover those items while you are traveling. The endorsement will cost you less than a travel-specific personal effects insurance policy, and it will protect your valuables just as well.

Travel Medical Insurance

In many cases, your medical insurance will cover some or even all of any medical emergency you have while away from home. However, each policy is different, and it’s a good idea to go over your policy and figure out what is and is not covered. For instance, you may be covered for an extended stay in a foreign hospital, but you might have to pay upfront and be reimbursed.

It’s generally a good idea to purchase travel medical insurance any time you are traveling abroad or are planning an active vacation.

What Will You Need to Relax on Vacation?

The odds that something catastrophic will happen to you on vacation are pretty low. But minor problems can be expected, and only you know how badly such minor problems will affect your budget. Additionally, it’s up to you to decide how much insurance is necessary to bridge the gap between the coverage you already have and the reassurance you need to be able to enjoy your vacation without worrying.

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About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is an award-winning writer, author, money coach, and retirement expert. Her four books include The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Learn more about Emily at


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Great article! I had no idea all of the benefits travel insurance could give someone. Will definitely have to look into it next vacation! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. InvestItWisely says

    I heard that the company is proposing $14,000 in compensation per passenger, but many are expected to refuse this in favour of a class-action lawsuit…

  4. madonahilton says

    A good travel insurance should cover some things like your companion or a family member has a medical emergency or dies,You need emergency transportation / evacuation, Your cruise line, airline or tour operator goes broke, Bad weather, A plane crash , Lost, stolen or damaged luggage, You’re laid off from your job of at least 3 years’ employment, A city you’re visiting has a terrorist incident, Cruise ship sicknesses etc.

  5. MyMoneyDesign says

    The Costa Concordia is a great disaster and a reminder that we still need to use caution when on vacation. Great tips about the various types of insurance to cover. Every year I make sure our insurance will cover my family when we travel outside the US. I also believe my American Express has several of the benefits you mentioned.

  6. ontargetcoach says

    In most small trips, I’d be ‘self-insured’, but I might consider some kind of insurance if spending more than 2K on a trip.

  7. Seems like lots of cruise lines have been having problems the last couple of years. Sickness breaking out, running out of power, running aground, etc.