The fact is, unfortunate things can and do happen when traveling, even domestically, and travel insurance protects you from being burdened by the costs associated with those little surprises – illness, injury, theft, flight delays, violent weather, etc.

According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, even though unexpected events interfere with the travel plans of 17 percent of Americans, less than 25 percent purchase travel insurance. Traveling without insurance is a risk that could have catastrophic financial impacts on you and your family.

Understanding what travel insurance covers

In general, travel insurance policies will protect travelers from the additional expenses associated with the following types of occurrences (there are caps and stipulations on reimbursing expenses or covering stolen items so be sure to read your policy very carefully, and do not assume anything):

  • You have to cancel your non-refundable trip because a family member had an accident and cannot travel.
  • You have to book a hotel and pay for meals because of an overnight flight delay because of bad weather.
  • You went to Athens, Greece, but your luggage went to Athens, Ohio and as a result you had to purchase clothing and other necessary items to continue your trip.
  • You missed your cruise departure because of weather-related flight delays.
  • You need medical assistance while traveling abroad.
  • Your luggage arrived, but thanks to the travel ban and having to place your electronics in your luggage, your tablet and camera were stolen.
  • Your bed and breakfast burns down (see photo above) and not only is your luggage destroyed, but you will need a new place to stay.

Testimonial from our travel insurance partner:A Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance client was gearing up for an 11-day photography workshop in Antarctica and Argentina when disaster struck: Two hurricanes, Irma and Maria, barreled through the island where she lived and decimated her business. She was told it would take months before her offices would be up and running. She had to call off her December trip to the bottom of the world. Apart from missing the opportunity to photograph rare species and spectacular polar landscapes, the client had to forfeit about $16,000 in trip deposits and other non-refundable reservations. Because her comprehensive travel insurance policy from Ripcord covered losses resulting from natural-disaster-related business interruptions, Ripcord refunded her the full amount.”

The above are but a few examples of coverage provided by good travel insurance policies. Take the time to compare and shop for the travel insurance that will best meet your travel requirements.

Deciding what type of travel insurance you need

When deciding whether travel insurance is right for you, compare companies, policy coverage, benefits and prices. Also find out what is included as well as excluded in any travel insurance policy.

1. Know what coverage you might already have. Check your current health and homeowner’s policies to know what you are protected against. Unless you have exceptionally good health insurance, it is unlikely that it will provide for international medical emergencies. Even if your policy does, it may not provide any coverage at all for medical evacuation. And while your homeowner’s policy might cover you for stolen items while traveling domestically, it is unlikely if there is any coverage for international travel. There are exceptions and additional protections that can be purchased – be sure to check with your agent.

Ambulance ride in Berlin would be covered with travel insurance.

2. Know what your credit card will cover. While many credit cards claim to be good for travel, few really are, and even fewer still offer truly strong travel insurance benefits. We were recently surprised to discover that American Express Business Platinum (an excellent travel card for its other benefits) did not cover us for costs associated with delayed luggage. Its insurance would only cover lost luggage. The following are three cards we know that stand out for the travel insurance coverage provided:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: This is one we also use (in addition to the American Express Business Platinum), and it is considered by many to be the premium travel card.
  • Citi Prestige: Another strong travel card recommended by many.
  • US Bank FlexPerks: This card also offers personal identity theft insurance.

3. Determine what types of insurance you need.

  • Do you need coverage for trip cancellation, interruption and delay?
  • What about medical insurance and medical evacuation coverage while traveling?
  • Do you travel often in a year? If so, you may want to consider an annual policy.
  • Do you need coverage for pre-existing medical conditions? Most policies have specific exclusions, though some allow for pre-existing condition for a premium.

HITT Tip: Wondering where to shop for travel insurance? Full disclosure, our team currently uses the travel insurance services of Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance for both evacuation insurance and medical insurance, but there are numerous places to shop and compare other companies offering travel insurance. These are a few:

Our friends at looked in-depth at a number of leading travel insurance programs and compared them. Their review coverage misses the mark when it comes to adventure travelers, but offers great insight and comparison for choosing and buying travel insurance if your travels are, well, more sedate and less adventurous in nature. See the review here. 


Buying the best travel insurance for your trip

Buying the best travel insurance for your trip

You’ve booked your trip for a dream vacation, but you’re just not sure about buying travel insurance. After all, it seems like an added expense and how do you know which is the best travel insurance for your trip anyway? Let’s stop right there. You need travel insurance when you travel, unless you are so wealthy you can afford your own medical expenses and possibly the expense of medical transport back home.

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Airfare Hack: Make any ticket refundable with travel insurance

Airfare Hack: Make any ticket refundable with travel insurance

Recently, travel news sites and blogs have been abuzz about the latest airfare hack – buying a non-refundable ticket and adding travel insurance instead of opting for the vastly more expensive fully refundable airline ticket. This little maneuver could save you significant sums of money if you want or need a refund.

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Michael Hodgson

Writer | Photographer | Videographer at HI Travel Tales
Michael has authored more than 16 books and penned many hundreds of feature articles over the years with bylines in Men's Journal, Men's Health, Outside, The San Jose Mercury News, Portland Oregonian and more. His travels have taken him to six continents. He is a member in good standing of the North American Travel Journalists Association and a media member of the Adventure Travel Trade Association.
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Posts and pages on our website contain references to products and services from our affiliate advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links and/or purchase products from one of our affiliate advertisers. Purchasing from our affiliate network does not cost you any more than going direct and, helps keep the lights on in our office, for which we are eternally grateful. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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