Travel Insurance: To Buy or Not To Buy?

2 minute read

So you’re about to take a big international trip. It may be your first or your nth. You have your bags packed, your Lonely Planet Guide, your phone charger and some entertainment for the plane. But have you thought about Travel Insurance?

Your normal health insurance may cover you if you get sick or have an emergency abroad, but American health insurance generally requires that you pay out of pocket and then get reimbursed when you get home. It rarely covers dental or emergency evacuation. That is where travel insurance comes in to save the day.

Trip insurance covers a variety of things including:

  • Trip Cancellation - If you need to cancel your trip, they refund the cost up to a certain amount.
  • Emergency Medical - Medical is covered up to a certain amount (usually $50,000)
  • Emergency Medical Transport - Transportation is expensive, especially air transportation, this usually covers the cost of emergency medical transport up to $1,000,000 including the cost to transport remains in case of death.
  • Baggage Loss/Damage - If the airline loses your bag or it is lost/stolen during your trip, you will be covered up to $2,000 including emergency money to go purchase new stuff.
  • Baggage Delay - If your bag doesn't make it to your final destination on time, you will be provided with up to $600 to purchase clothing and hygiene items.
  • Travel Delay - If you miss a connection and get stuck somewhere, you will be covered up to $1,600 for hotel, rental car, meals and necessities (if not provided by the airline).

You can purchase travel insurance directly from insurance companies such as Allianz Global Assistance, from your airline (usually at a discount) or from some credit cards.

For example, American Express offers travel insurance on some of their cards from $59 per trip. Other credit cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred offer some travel benefits such as baggage loss/damage protection, travel delay protection and rental car CDW coverage - but does not include coverage of medical emergencies or emergency medical evacuation.

In my personal experience, it is usually cheapest to buy directly from the airline. For example, I purchased Allianz Global Assistance trip insurance through United Airlines for $30 where it would have cost $150 through Allianz directly.

When in doubt, going to a developing country or doing something dangerous such as skydiving, ziplining or scuba diving, buy the travel insurance. It will give you peace-of-mind.

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