Do You Need Travel Insurance?

Read these expert tips to find out when and why you should get covered.


Unless you’re packing up the car and heading to a local beach, you should be protecting your vacation investment with some sort of travel or trip insurance. Let’s face it. Murphy’s Law is alive and well and eventually, something is going to happen to ruin a long-planned vacation.

When most people think of insurance, the prevailing attitude is “it will never happen to me.” Well, it can, and with enough travel, it will. A good policy will include coverage for many emergencies including:

Trip cancellation. What if you need to cancel because you lost a job, got summoned for jury duty, or your son just broke his arm? These policies will even cover family members you may leave at home. Trip cancellation policies can refund your cash or vouchers, so it’s good to double check to see what’s covered.

  • Trip interruption. What happens when something goes awry on your trip (or even back home) and you need to cut it short? Are you prepared to pay for the last minute airfares and additional costs?
  • Missed flight or ship. How do you plan to catch a ship that sailed without you? Does anyone remember that episode of I Love Lucy where she was lowered to a ship by a helicopter?
  • Medical coverage. Medicare and Medicaid insurance do not cover anything out of the country. What happens when someone covered by either program gets injured on a trip, or worse? A good policy will cover you for medical and dental needs as well as emergency flights (medical jets if warranted) to get the care you and your family need.
  • Baggage. The airlines are notorious for losing bags—as a matter of fact, they’re now charging you to check your bags and hope they won’t lose them. A good travel policy can cover you for baggage loss, damage and even delay. Most luggage is not lost, it is delayed, but not having clothing for those first few days is never any fun.

If you have any kids, you know that problems tend to arise at the worst time. Don’t risk your vacation investment—this is not the time to be penny wise and pound foolish. It’s also a great idea to check with your other insurance policies (homeowners, auto, credit card) to see what they may cover, or what they won’t. Many people are under the impression they are covered, and in reality they’re not.

Take heart, there are some trips that may not require separate travel insurance. Your standard health insurance, auto insurance and credit card insurance will cover you for many domestic do-it-yourself trips. Flying to Orlando to see the grandparents and maybe doing a day at Disney? Probably no need. Flying somewhere on business? Probably does not make sense. Road tripping? Good to go. However, if you have prepaid your vacation package, hotel or cruise—insurance is a solid consideration. If you’re traveling outside the United States, like the American Express card, I would not leave home without it. 

Themes: Family Travel

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