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Travel Insurance: To Buy or Not to Buy?

by BootsnAll

Some people would never travel without insurance of some kind, and other people never even consider the possibility of insurance. It’s a complicated issue, and more new options are appearing each year to further confuse things. Some types of travel insurance can be extremely valuable for a few different reasons, and other forms of the stuff are closer to being a scam. We’ll talk about the most popular types of policies here and give you the pros and cons.

>> For more about travel insurance, including what types of insurance might be best suited to your trip, consult the BootsnAll travel insurance section and contact our travel insurance expert by calling toll-free in the US 1-866-549-7614.

Travel Medical Insurance

Even within this category there is a nearly unlimited number of options, but basically this is intended to make sure that if something goes wrong with your health while traveling, or if you have some sort of accident as a result of traveling, that you’ll be able to get treatment without fear of being wiped out financially for the rest of your life. If you live in the United States you are famously vulnerable to problems unless you have private insurance that specifically covers this. Not all policies are valid abroad and while engaging in possibly dangerous activities, so at the very least you should find out where you stand. If you are from most of the rest of the world your basics are probably covered once you get home, but there can also be massive expenses incurred before you get there, and there are cheaper policies meant to fill this gap.

Pros of Travel Medical Insurance

  • You can enjoy your vacation with near complete peace of mind knowing that if anything goes wrong, the downside is probably minimal.
  • You’ll know that you can get medical attention immediately (in most places) instead of having to prove you can pay for services first.
  • You can engage in nearly any activity with reckless abandon. Risking a broken leg can be scary, but risking a broken leg and a $5,000 hospital bill as well can be terrifying.

Cons of Travel Medical Insurance

  • It can be expensive, depending on what you choose.
  • The vast majority of people who buy it never need it (of course).
  • Having it is no ironclad guarantee that there will be no billing or coverage problems.

>> Compare medical insurance plans, get a quote and buy instantly online!

Trip Protection Insurance

This style of insurance is far more focused and easier to judge for most people. Simply put, for a fairly small percentage of your trip budget, this insurance will cover the investment in your trip, including paying for things such as tickets home should your original plans get canceled by something out of your control. Whether you consider this type or not should largely be based on how important your trip funds are to you in the overall scheme of things. In other words, if you’ve saved up for entire year to afford a dream trip that will once again drain your bank account, this could be good peace of mind and it could also come in handy in real life. But if you are just taking a nice trip instead of buying another expensive suit or something, this probably doesn’t make sense.

Pros of Trip Protection Insurance

  • You’ll have peace of mind knowing your hard earned money is not at risk even if weather or some dubious travel company causes you problems.
  • Many policies actually pay out even more than your trip cost, so if you have to make a claim you’ll know things will be fine financially.

Cons of Trip Protection Insurance

  • The vast majority of people never need it.
  • It’s relatively cheap, but it still makes your expensive trip even more expensive.
  • Filing a claim probably involves quite a bit of paperwork, and even some temporary out of pocket expenses.

>> Compare trip protection plans, get a quote and buy instantly online!

Travel Gear Insurance

This is the cheapest type of insurance out of this group, but even still it’s generally not worth even considering. For a fairly small fee you can “insure” your luggage and all its contents, including your laptop, camera, and iPod and such. The problem is that companies that sell these policies at the cheaper prices tend to be notoriously difficult to file a claim with. We’ve heard many stories where legit-sounding claims are flatly refused for no particular reason. And the better companies tend to charge more than this is really worth to most people.

The bottom line is that it’s probably not wise to travel with any gear that would be devastating if you lost it anyway. And the one bit of good news here is that as impossible as it sounds, the huge majority of travelers return home with all their possessions still safely with them. Before the trip it feels like getting your camera or laptop nicked on the road is almost a sure thing, but the reality is that it’s pretty rare, at least for people who take the normal precautions.