Travel Insurance – Do You Need It?

Thrifty Travel Mama - Do You Need Travel Insurance?Have I told you yet about our latest and greatest upcoming itinerary?  No?  Really?  Well, now would be a good time.

We’re going to South Korea!!

I’m ridiculously excited.  This will be our first trip to Asia, and all four of us will be going (would you expect anything less?).  This trip also marks a huge transition for our family as this will be the first time we have to pay for four plane tickets.  And my-oh-my those pups were NOT cheap.

I’ll tell you about buying my tickets to South Korea in another post.  Today, I want to focus on travel insurance.

The first question to ask of course is, do I need travel insurance?  For the most part, my answer is almost always no.  In fact, this is only the third time in my life I have purchased it.

Ten years ago, I went out of the country for the first time.. to Russia.  Talk about an eye opener.  I had no idea what to expect other than the chitter chatter of other travelers.  I knew that baggage was frequently delayed or lost and that medical care up to western standards can be hard to find.  I wanted peace of mind that I wouldn’t have to wear the same shirt for two weeks and that I could be airlifted out to Western Europe had I been run down by a crazy driver while wearing said shirt.  Definitely worth it.

However, most of my trips after that have been fairly inexpensive and the amount of luggage I carried decreased dramatically.  I didn’t give a thought to overseas health coverage since I traveled mostly to countries with western medicine standards and, let’s face it, hospitals are the last thing on a twenty-something’s mind.

But now I’ve paid the most I ever have just for plane tickets.  And, I have two unknown variables: Screech and T-Rex.  Should either one of them decide that the night before departure would be a great time to contract a nasty case of the norwalk virus or pneumonia or break their first limb, we’d be out more euros than I want to stress about.

And, that is exactly the point.  With travel insurance, you don’t have to worry about it.  Well, provided you did your homework and are familiar with the policy’s coverage that is.  Put on your worst-case-scenario thinking cap, make a list of questions, dial up a company, and grill the agent.  Nicely.  Please.

Reasons why I would buy travel insurance:

  • My trip is very expensive and nonrefundable.
  • My existing health insurance does not cover treatment at my destination.
  • I’m concerned about a natural disaster or potential terrorist act at my destination.
  • It would ruin my trip if my luggage was lost or delayed.
  • There’s a strong chance my trip could be canceled or delayed due to illness in the traveling party or immediate family.

If you’re still on the fence, calculate about 5% of your trip costs (nonrefundable items such as plane tickets and prepaid hotel reservations or tour costs).  Ask yourself if this number is a fair price to pay for peace of mind in the event that one of the above scenarios occurs.

Most of the time (especially if travel is only within the US), I find it personally unnecessary.  I’m thrifty and determined, and I’d rather take the chance on not coughing up the extra cash for a potentially unused service.

But if you’re a newbie (new to traveling outside the US), spent a month’s salary (or more) on your airline tickets, or have two accident-prone boys, I’d highly recommend it.

If you’re interested, the company I use is Travelex.  I do not work for Travelex and receive no compensation for referring you to their services.  I also take no responsibility should you not be satisfied with their coverage. Signature-Marigold

5 thoughts on “Travel Insurance – Do You Need It?

  1. Thanks for the very informative insurance article. It is always a debate of whether to go for the cheapest or the most comprehensive. I think the key you should remember is that insurance isn’t mandatory, thus it is pointless getting insurance that wont really cover you for anything.

    Another point is; do not get cheap insurance with high excess fees which you will not have the money to pay for – financially it does not make sense buying the cheapest insurance and having a £200 excess, when you could have paid £20 more and had no excess. Make sure that the insurance you are getting is actually the insurance you need if things do go wrong.

  2. Personally, I need a travel insurance, because I have two playful kids and in case of accidents, I want to skip the big medical costs. Every time, we go abroad, I love to work with them: http://www.jclis.com, because their policies are closer to our needs. However, Thank God that we haven’t had any kind of problems and hopefully, we won’t have!

  3. Pingback: International Travel Guest Post on Renee Angela Photography | Thrifty Travel Mama

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