Can You Afford Not to Have Travel Insurance?

Having travel insurance should be a no brainer for those of us who travel. But most people don’t think of it until it’s too late.

Take my friend, Jessica, for instance. On her first trip to Africa, she arrived at her destination only to find that her luggage had not. For two weeks, all she had was the clothes on her back, a few items given to her by others on the trip, and some personal articles. Her suitcase went on its own adventure. Following her return home, she had to produce receipts for the contents but received a check from the airline that only covered the cost of a new suitcase.

In the grand scheme of things, a lost suitcase is a temporary inconvenience. But what if my friend had become ill and had to be hospitalized, or worse, evacuated home? Without travel insurance with appropriate coverage, her trip and her finances would definitely have been ruined.

Why then are we so cavalier about travel insurance?

One of the reasons we give so little thought to travel insurance is because we believe it will be prohibitively expensive. But at a cost of a fraction of the actual price of the trip, it’s a small amount to pay for our peace of mind.

There’s also, I suspect, the expectation that vacations will be perfect interludes where nothing bad ever happens. Ironically, it’s also the time when we’re most likely to venture way outside our comfort zones and engage in activities we’d probably never do at home.

According to Britain’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), 10 Brits have been hospitalized abroad every day this year. Last year, the figure was 70 a week.

And so far this year, there have been 13 cases of young Brits falling from balconies while on vacation.  Unfortunately, 3 lost their lives while others ended up with very serious injuries.

Because of this, the FCO along with the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA – The Travel Association) are now campaigning jointly to help prevent further incidents.

But it has to go further than that. Of 2,000 people surveyed by the Foreign Office, 48% revealed that they did not realize that they would be responsible for their medical expenses if they became ill abroad.

The situation isn’t better in America where the United States Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) found that since the summer of 2010, one in eight adults have had their travel plans changed because of natural disasters. Of that number, only 29% had travel insurance.

To further underscore the importance of having travel insurance, it is one of the requirements for obtaining a Schengen visa.

So how much coverage should you get? Whenever I buy travel insurance, I make sure to have medical coverage, including provision for evacuation in the event of an emergency; trip cancelation and interruption; lost, stolen, delayed, or damaged baggage or personal effects; missed connections and flight delays. I’ve also bought coverage in case my hotel or airline becomes insolvent while I’m on my trip.

Thankfully, I’ve never had to file a claim but knowing that I was protected was worth the additional expense.

So whether we’re making plans for that Caribbean vacation, the trip around the world or to take the kids to see their grandparents, we should always include travel insurance to the budget. Can you afford not to?

 

35 comments on “Can You Afford Not to Have Travel Insurance?

  1. Oh, we always get a travel insurance when we travel outside Europe, especially if it’s to the USA. We’ve learned ourselves how important it is. On the first travel to the US we actually bought one, my aging father died two days before our departure. If we weren’t insured, we would have lost quite a lot of money. As it was, we got 85% of our expenses back.

  2. I agree travel insurance is SO important. Many years ago I didn’t have travel insurance for a few weeks when I was living in Thailand. Of course that was when I got really sick and had 2 spend 2 nights in a hospital. I was interning and ended up paying for the hospital stay in monthly payments for the rest of the year. A very expensive lesson to learn.

  3. I’ll be honest and say I’ve never purchased travel insurance. I have heard the horror stories but still have never felt like I needed too. My medical insurance covers me where ever I travel so I feel covered there except for any transportation back to the states. If I was going to 3rd world countries I think I would definitely get travel insurance.

  4. I always have travel health insurance and wouldn’t consider even driving down to the States for a day without it. But I don’t necessarily get baggage insurance. I try and travel with carry-on only and if that’s not possible I bring the most important stuff in carry-on. I know there are some real horror stories though.

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  6. Great post, definitely not something I’ve ever spent money on before, but you make very valid points! I know in the past I’ve definitely lost money on budget websites (i.e. Priceline) by not purchasing the trip protection, and then having something come up and having to change/cancel plans. It ends up costing much more in the end NOT to have the protection.

  7. Great infor here, Marcia! I’m embarrased to admit I’ve only bought travel insurance a few times for cruises. Our AMEX credit card has pretty good coverage for lost luggage and flight cancellations. I feel like an irresponsible parent for not getting travel insurance that will cover healthcare in foreigh countries. I seriously need to look into it for our next land vacation. Thanks for the push!

  8. ‘Her suitcase went on its own adventure.’ Sorry I laughed at this sentence!! But it must have been a harrowing experience for her. Nice post Marcia 🙂

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  11. Thanks, Jackie. I’m glad to have given you something to think about. We’re so not programmed to think about it but for what it costs, it should definitely be part of our travel plans.

  12. There are many reasons for purchasing a travel insurance policy to cover situations such as cancelled flights, lost baggage and sometimes or medical expenses. Purchasing the right coverage plan will give you peace of mind while on holidays at an affordable price.

  13. This is definitely a good example of why travel insurance is necessary. Glad you were able to get most of your money back, Marlys. It would have been a lot to have to absorb the cost of your tickets while having to deal with your loss.

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  15. This is exceptionally written, Marcia. The way you draw upon personal experience and strengthen your point by the use of these anecdotes is something to be rivaled. After a brief health scare while abroad in Costa Rica, I started thinking about the concept of preventative maintenance. It is SO important. Take it from me–I don\’t know the first thing about travel insurance. Nonetheless, I believe wholeheartedly in the worth of something like that. Thank you for your insights!Sandra

  16. Well, I appreciate that! Things will work out. I cannot say that things always do, but I have to maintain that positive attitude. The last thing I need is a wave of despair while abroad.

  17. Hey,

    I think the people who travel a lot should get travel insurance.
    I like the way you share your personal experience for telling the importance of travel insurance.

    Thanks,
    Joel

  18. Thanks for sharing about travel insurance.we always get a travel insurance when we travel outside.There are many reasons for purchasing a travel insurance policy to cover situations such as cancelled flights, lost baggage and sometimes or medical expenses.Thanks again……

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