This post was most recently updated on August 1st, 2019

Nobody likes to think about bad things happening on a trip. However, it’s important to be prepared for unlucky occurrences — no matter how unlikely most of them might be. One of the best ways to safeguard against unfortunate travel events is to take out a travel insurance policy before setting off. But how do you decide when and if you need it?

For starters, the main factor to consider here is how much can you afford for something to go wrong, particularly as it relates to your health and safety and your money and belongings. But even when considering various scenarios — like low-risk domestic travel and coverage from your existing health insurance — you’ll still find that having travel insurance can be an additional safety net when you’re on the road.

So, if you’re still on the fence and asking yourself “is travel insurance worth it?”, here are a few key reasons why it can be a huge benefit to have on your travels, as we all as some tips on what to look for when purchasing a policy.

You’ll Be Better Prepared for Medical Emergencies or Illness

Stressed and tired young woman sitting near the window and with bottle of water and tablets on table while travelling by train.

Did you not “mind the gap” while taking the Tube in London and end up breaking a leg on the way to the theater? Should you maybe have steered clear of that green curry when dining out on the first night of your vacation in Thailand? Sit next to someone on your long-haul flight who sneezed, coughed and blew their nose during the entire journey and now you’ve started sniffling and feel like you have a fever?

Getting hurt or being sick while traveling is a bummer. Travel insurance can mitigate the severity of an injury or illness while abroad by reducing the paperwork and stress involved and potentially eliminating, or at least significantly reducing, the cost of care.

You Can Weather Any Unexpected Storms

Been waiting all year for your ski holiday when an avalanche or blizzard makes it impossible to reach your resort — or even fly to the nearest airport? Or maybe your summer beach break gets washed out by major flooding, a tsunami, or a hurricane? Or remember back in 2010 when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, resulting in the biggest air traffic shutdown since the Second World War?

If your travel plans are disrupted by bad weather, a good policy should allow you to recoup related expenses, including those for flights, accommodation, booked activities, and transport, so you can reschedule or at least not lose your money.

You’ll Have Options in Case of Cancellations

delayed flight

Sometimes something comes up at the last minute to keep us from going ahead with our plans. Your boss decides you’re just too valuable to go away for two weeks during a crisis at your workplace, even after you’ve found the lowest airfare to your destination. Your child or another loved one falls ill and needs you to attend to them at home. A pipe in your bathroom bursts and rather than a plum vacation somewhere sunny with your preferred travel buddy you’re now having a soggy staycation with your plumber coming over every day.

With trip cancellation coverage, you’ll be able to recover out-of-pocket expenses. Same goes when your flight or other transportation is canceled or you miss a connecting flight.

You Can be Reimbursed for Lost, Damaged, or Stolen Goods

Ever found yourself to be the last person waiting at the airport baggage carousel only to realize your checked bags didn’t make it to the final destination? It’s rare, but luggage does go missing en route (this is more likely with non-direct flights). When this happens, airlines generally do a really great job locating your bag and getting it to you ASAP. But while you’re waiting for them to come through, you’re out of fresh clothes, toiletries, and other essentials.

Similarly rare but certainly within the realm of possibility, your checked items could get damaged while in transit. Plus, once you make it out of the airport with all your belongings intact, pick-pocketing and other forms of theft can be a problem in even the safest of places.

Quality travel insurance policies ought to reimburse for legitimate costs of replacing lost, damaged, or stolen goods should you need to replace them for reasons beyond your control.

In a Crunch, You’ll Be Able to Get Back Home

Woman tourist passager getting in to airplane at airport, walking from the terminal to the plane

In all the above situations, travel insurance should be able to help, fully with the costs of being repatriated if it becomes necessary for you to return home earlier than planned.

Other Specific Needs and Interests

Are you into extreme sports and that’s why you’re heading abroad? Are you over 65 years of age? Are you backpacking around the world during your gap year or is there anything else specific to you or your trip that makes it worth looking into extra or special insurance coverage?

Furthermore, if you travel a lot and spend large amounts of time outside in foreign countries you might want to consider annual travel insurance.

…and also remember

  • Always check that an insurance policy covers what you need it to cover for your trip and make sure you understand the terms and conditions.
  • Ensure that 24/7 support for the duration of your trip will be provided.
  • If the policy doesn’t cover full costs of nonrefundable arrangements it’s probably not worth having. So look to see if there are any exclusions, especially when someone to be covered is pregnant or has a pre-existing medical condition.

Did you ever have to rely on travel insurance to get out of a jam or wished you’d had purchased a policy when a trip went sour? We would love it if you could share some advice with our community about travel insurance.

3 Responses

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    Feridoun.Sabetpour

    Start with age on your asking commissioners about customer first!!!

    Reply

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About The Author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.