Travel Insurance: Do You Need It, Anyway?

After a winter filled with cancellations and delays helped to drive travelers to buy more insurance, the question remains: Is it worth the potentially high extra cost?

For heavy travelers, this past winter was anything but a fun one. Delays and cancellations were common across the country, due in part to an unpredictable Mother Nature.

It was also costly, with an estimated $5.3 billion in lost productivity and out-of-pocket costs from December 1, 2013, to February 28, 2014, according to a MasFlight study from March [PDF].

According to Skift, those interruptions apparently led many travelers to buy insurance from companies such as Allianz Travel Insurance, which reported a 25 percent increase in consumer sales so far in 2014.

“A significant portion of that rise can be attributed to consumers’ increased awareness of the need to purchase travel insurance during severe weather,” Allianz’s Daniel Durazo told Skift.

But whatever the reason, is buying travel insurance worth it? Some considerations:

The price tag: According to the Insurance Information Institute, trip-cancellation insurance adds 5 percent to 7 percent to the cost of a trip, but it covers you in case factors outside of your control cause complications. There are less expensive options, such as waivers, but they offer travelers far more limited wiggle room.

What if you get sick? If you’re traveling, there’s always a chance you might face some sort of illness—and a form of travel health insurance might come in handy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes the policies don’t cost too much and, depending on where you’re going, could be a big help. “Domestic insurance policies may not cover medical evacuation from a resource-poor area to a hospital where definitive care can be obtained, which can cost more than $100,000,” the CDC writes on its website. “Frequent travelers may want to consider purchasing annual policies or even policies that will provide coverage for repatriation to one’s home country.”

Other kinds of coverage: MSN Money notes that other kinds of insurance may be less valuable, depending on your situation. For example, baggage protection—which costs about 5 percent of the price of the items you’re protecting for a year of coverage—might be important if you’re carrying valuables. However, if you’re carrying less than $3,400 worth of stuff, it may not be necessary. U.S. law requires airlines to insure lost baggage up to that amount for domestic flights, though if you’re going overseas, additional coverage is available. And while accidental death and dismemberment coverage is available, you probably don’t need it if you have life insurance.

What travel insurance tips would you offer your fellow road warriors? Give your take in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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