Do I really need Travel Insurance?

Travel Insurance

Your vacation designer has put together the perfect trip to experience one of your bucket list destinations. She has secured a flight schedule that departs at the right hour and includes just the right connection time. Airport transportation has been confirmed. The hotels are amazing, and the sightseeing checks off everything on your to-do list. It’s the trip of a lifetime….and, the price tag is at the top of your budget!

The vacation quote includes a line item for Travel Insurance. Do you really need that? What exactly does Travel Insurance insure?

Your Investment. All travel components come with cancellation schedules and penalties. Many airline tickets are non-refundable at the time of purchase. Cruises and vacation packages often require non-refundable deposits, and penalties grow as you get closer to your travel dates. Should you have to cancel or interrupt your trip due to sickness or death in the family, those penalties come from your pocket. Travel Insurance reimburses for non-refundable prepaid expenses if you have to cancel for a covered reason.

Your Health. What happens if you or someone in your travel party needs medical attention while you are traveling? Your regular health insurance may or may not cover expenses incurred on foreign soil or from a ship’s clinic. Travel Insurance includes benefits for emergency medical care and emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. Travel Insurance companies also have 24-hour emergency hotlines that can assist with finding proper medical facilities worldwide.

Your Luggage. Sometimes, our luggage doesn’t arrive when and where it’s supposed to! While waiting for a delayed bag, you may find it necessary to purchase a few items such as toiletries or basic clothing pieces to “make do” until your luggage catches up with you. Travel Insurance provides reimbursement for these purchases. (You won’t have an unlimited shopping budget! Benefits are spelled out in the policy.)

Your Schedule. Flight delays happen. When they do, you often have unplanned expenses for meals and additional hotel nights. Or, you may completely miss a connecting flight and have to wait until the next day to resume travel. Travel Insurance will reimburse for these added expenses, based on the plan’s benefits.

Your Peace of Mind. Reputable Travel Insurance companies offer 24/7 travel assistance services to help travelers with changed travel plans, lost or delayed baggage, emergency medical care, and lost documents (passports, etc.).

Joyful Journeys highly recommends the purchase of optional travel insurance because life is full of the unexpected. I’ve had clients tell me, “We are going regardless.” While that shows an admirable level of commitment, I have to wonder if the sentiment will change should a close family member become terminally ill, a traveler lose his or her job, or someone in the travel party break a leg two weeks before the departure date, making it impossible to complete the trip’s 4-day trek on the Inca Trail.

Over the years, I’ve assisted clients with Travel Insurance claims for:Do
• Trip cancellation when one traveler was diagnosed with cancer a couple of months before travel.
• Trip cancellation when a family member was diagnosed with a terminal disease and my client had to stay close to home because she was the primary caregiver.
• Trip interruption when a close relative passed away, and clients had to return home from their trip earlier than expected.
• Emergency medical care when a client broke her arm on a shore excursion in Alaska and had to be flown to the closest hospital for surgery.
• Lost luggage and delayed luggage.
• Flight delays that created a need for additional overnight hotel accommodations.
• Numerous other incidents that took my clients entirely by surprise.

Not all Travel Insurance policies are created equal. Joyful Journeys encourages all of our clients to read the fine print and to ask questions about coverage. We are happy to answer general questions or to refer our clients to the appropriate department at the Travel Insurance company for case-specific inquiries.

Travel Insurance premiums are typically 10% or less of the total trip cost. Yes, it’s an added expense, but it’s a drop in the bucket when compared to losing the entire investment or the monumental price tag of an uncovered medical emergency.

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