The issue of whether or not to obtain travel insurance when planning a trip is a tricky one. There is much to consider, but, in the end, it’s mainly a question of costs.

For instance, if you’re taking a trip stateside and your total budget is around $3,000 dollars or less, you’re probably not going to spend the extra money to insure it. That’s not to say you wouldn’t incur some expenses if unforeseen circumstances interrupted your plans, but it’s a gamble you’re likely to take.

However, as your budget escalates, the acquisition of travel insurance begins to make a lot more sense. If you and your family take an annual vacation together, depending on your destination and the number of flights, hotel rooms, and other necessities you require, the costs can climb fairly quickly. In that case, you might very well opt to insure our trip.

There are generally two different kinds of travel insurance policies:

  • Trip Cancellation Protection: This policy typically provides a refund if the insured cannot travel due to being injured or sick, or if a flight has been cancelled or a connection has been missed. It also provides protection if luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance: This policy generally covers all of the above, in addition to any expenses related to medical or dental emergencies, medical or disaster evacuations, and accidental death. Travel delay, personal liability, legal expenses, and tour operator default are also usually covered.

Travel experts generally recommend buying a comprehensive policy, especially if you’re traveling overseas or to a destination that is experiencing political unrest.

If things go wrong

Travel insurance is an important consideration for all kinds of travelers. Families going abroad on a summer vacation, businesspeople on an extended professional trip, newlyweds on their honeymoon, or retirees on their dream vacation.

If a health emergency should arise in a foreign country and medical care or medical evacuation is required, a comprehensive travel insurance policy would cover those expenses.

Here’s a regrettable example of this kind of misfortune: a client’s mom and dad had saved all their lives to travel to Rome to see the Vatican, among many other sights and treasures. Near the end of their trip, his father suddenly passed away.

Not only did their travel insurance cover all the expenses to bring his dad home for burial but insurance representatives also helped his mom navigate all the bureaucratic red tape that was required to make those plans and preparations.

In circumstances such as that, travel insurance may be critically important.

Travel insurance and financial planners

When booking a trip online, we’re often prompted by the website to choose whether we’d like to insure our trip. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems with that kind of scenario.

First, if I’m making an airline reservation and I’m asked if I want to purchase travel insurance, any policy I buy is only going to provide coverage for that specific flight, not for other segments of my trip.

Second, buying travel insurance online from a single website is generally not the most cost-effective way to purchase it. It is prudent to navigate online and compare policies.

For more information, please consult with your travel insurance agent.

This commentary contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal or investment advice. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Clients should obtain their own tax, legal or investment advice based on their circumstances. The material is based on sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.

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