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You don’t see them much anymore but airports used to have machines for purchasing flight insurance. They made me nervous because you don’t want to think about a negative outcome right before boarding the plane.
Factors to Consider with Travel Insurance
However, there are times you should consider purchasing travel insurance to avoid missing the trip of a lifetime because of an emergency and losing your money. Without hard and fast rules on when to insure your trip, use these factors in your consideration.
I wouldn’t recommend buying travel insurance for an inexpensive trip. Only you can decide the price point where it becomes expensive. For me, I’m willing to risk a few hundred dollars versus paying a high-percentage premium for insurance.
When booking a tour in Europe a few years ago, my mom was not ready to lose $3,000 per person so she bought travel insurance.
It’s important to understand the cancellation policies of vendors involved with the trip before you make the purchase or deposit. We like to take cruise vacations which often involves not only the cruise line but also airline flights and a pre-cruise hotel. Each of these providers has their own cancellation policy.
Most cruise lines and tour companies offer at least partial refunds but the percentage declines the closer to the trip date. Cruise lines usually won’t refund any amount within 14 days of the sailing.
Airlines almost never give the money back for refundable tickets but do allow changes for a $150 change fee per ticket.
There are many personal circumstances that may result in travel plan changes. If you or someone close to you is in poor health than buying a policy with cancellation coverage for illness of yourself or a close family member should be strongly considered.
The same goes if you have work or any other obligations that would require modifying trip plans. Policies that allow for these contingencies typically require purchase within a certain number of days of booking travel.
Although the unexpected disease outbreak (SARS in 2003 and H1N1 in 2009) can disrupt travel to countries generally considered safe, sometimes travelers purposefully visit geographic areas with concerns. You might want to mitigate the risk of traveling to locations with poor sanitation or where communicable diseases are common by insuring the trip.
Another geographic concern may relate to violence or stability of the government. Keep in mind it may be difficult to find insurers for travel to countries listed on the State Department travel warning list. Unforeseen events affect people’s travel plans all the time. It might not be possible to save your vacation or trip, but with travel insurance you can avoid significant financial loss. Review these factors and decide if it makes sense for you.
Have you ever purchased travel insurance?
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