When I travel, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants a lot, looking for the best bargains and ways to scrimp and save money wherever I am able to. This has worked well for me throughout the years and I went on a lot of really great trips when I didn’t have a lot of money to spare.
These days, however, I’m a little older, a little wiser, and, mercifully, a little wealthier. I’ve never been burned when it comes to traveling, but I’ve come pretty close a few times.
There was the trip to Australia when I learned a cyclone would be hitting the Far North Queensland area the same night I would be arriving. I spent the entire flight to Brisbane wondering if I would make my connection to Cairns or if I would be stuck in the Brisbane airport for an unknown amount of time. There was that horrible flu I got and recovered from just in time to fly to Europe. There was the ear infection I had last September where I frantically drove around town looking for some medicine the day before flying to Tennessee. Thankfully, I got some and I was feeling well enough by morning to fly.
I’ve been lucky, but I’ve seen what happens when others hit a spot of bad luck. There was the time my mom got horrible food poisoning right before a trip to Cancun, or the other time when she had a different medical issue that left her unable to fly, thus canceling a trip to Portugal. She really hasn’t had the best of luck with these things.
That’s why I’ve finally decided it’s time to put on my big girl pants and get myself some travel insurance. I’ll be heading to Japan soon and such a big, expensive trip carries a lot of risk with it. If I book flights, hotels, etc. for myself and my husband we’re in for a lot of money and if anything happens that leaves us unable to go at the last minute, we’ll be out a lot of cash.
So, I’ve been doing some research on travel insurance and here is what I’ve found:
- If you’re going to be spending a lot of money on your trip, say, more than $5000 total, you should buy insurance. This is a “big ticket” purchase and insurance can come in very useful for a big ticket purchase. You can skip the insurance if you’re going on a short and/or inexpensive domestic trip. If you’re spending less than $5000 on the trip or if you aren’t concerned about losing the money you invested on the trip should something happen, you can skip the insurance.
- If you’re going on a packaged tour or a cruise, insurance can help protect you should something happen and you need to re-book.
- If your itinerary is complicated, insurance could come in useful. The more complicated your itinerary, the more chances there are for things to go wrong along the way.
- If you’re traveling internationally, insurance can help. If you’re outside the United States, you may find that many medical services may ask for payment up-front and they can get quite expensive. Travel insurance that includes medical assistance can help in a situation where you need medical care while abroad. This is especially true if you are on Medicare since Medicare does not usually cover medical expenses outside of the United States. **Note: if you’re not from the United States, look into your own country’s policies on these things as these rules vary from country to country, but it certainly never hurts to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses wherever you’re from and wherever you’re going.** Also note that you will want to look into whether or not any pre-exisitng medical conditions you may have are covered in the policy before you purchase.
- If you’re just nervous about spending so much money and going on such a big trip, you may want to get insurance just for the peace of mind.
- You may not want to get insurance if most of your trip won’t be covered by insurance anyway. This includes things like staying at a friend’s house, using a travel voucher to fly, using frequent flyer miles, etc.
- You should also note that some credit cards, such as American Express, do provide travel insurance if the trip is purchased on that card. Do find out what your card covers beforehand to see if it has everything you need.
Have you ever purchased travel insurance? Any travel insurance tips for the rest of us? Have you ever been burned by not purchasing travel insurance? Are you somebody who “flies by the seat of your pants”? Would love to hear your story!