Traveling is one of the best things you can do for yourself, but it can also be quite costly. This cost can be exacerbated if you end up being forced to cancel or cut your trip short and are unable to get your money back.
Travel insurance can help you avoid losing money if your plans change unexpectedly, or if you encounter an emergency while on your trip. It’s not always worth the added expense to purchase travel insurance, but there are a number of instances when it’s wise to get it. Consider these when planning your next trip.
1. The trip is expensive
Perhaps you managed to book a pricey, customized, VIP tour of the Antarctic ice shelves, complete with a penguin encounter. Maybe you got an exclusive after-hours tour of the Vatican Museums. You saved up enough money to book these bucket list vacations. It took you a long time, and a lot of hard work. These are trips that you may never be able to book again if you are forced to cancel. Travel insurance is not necessarily going to allow you book that expensive, once-in-a-lifetime experience again, but at least you’ll avoid the pain of also losing all the money you spent to book it.
2. You’ve had recent health issues
One of the most common reasons you may be forced to cancel a trip is an illness or injury that prevents you from traveling. If you are battling cancer, for example, you may feel good one day and not so great the next. It may also be impossible to predict when treatments or surgery may be needed. In this case, travel insurance can give you some peace of mind and allow you to go ahead and book that trip.
Older travelers who may have certain health conditions that have the tendency to flare up may also find travel insurance useful. It is important to note, however, that many travel insurance policies do not cover trip expenses if you cancel due to a pre-existing health condition, so be sure to check the specific provisions of the policy before buying. (See also: What Exactly Does Trip Cancellation Insurance Cover?)
3. There’s a chance you may be pregnant
If you and your partner have been trying to have children, you may be wary of vacationing because you don’t want to cancel a trip if you do get pregnant. At the same time, it seems silly to avoid traveling if you’re not expecting. Travel insurance can come in handy here, because it will allow you to book travel without worrying about losing money if you get some good news. (See also: Everything You Need to Know About Buying Travel Insurance)
4. If you’re cutting things close
Let’s say you’ve booked a cruise departing from Barcelona leaving on Saturday, but your schedule only allows you to fly to Barcelona that day. To make things dicier, you have to take two connecting flights to get there. If you experience any delays or miss a flight, you may miss the cruise departure entirely. Travel insurance could reimburse you for costs you incur to catch up with your cruise.
Keep in mind, however, that travel insurance may only cover you if you’re delayed due to weather or mechanical problems with the airline. Missing a flight because you overslept, for example, may not be a valid reason to seek reimbursement.
5. If you’re going somewhere with unknown medical care
Getting sick or hurt on a trip can be a harrowing experience, and that’s especially true if you find yourself in a place where medical care is below American standards. Even today, there are many countries that lack a robust health infrastructure, and medical staff there may not be equipped to perform surgeries or other emergency procedures. A good travel insurance plan can cover travel to better health facilities or hospitals, to ensure you have the best possible medical care even if you are far from home.
6. If you’re traveling to a “high-risk” country
Adventurous travelers may find themselves in places that carry some risk to personal safety. Some nations are torn apart by civil war or unrest. Others are prone to incidents of terrorism. Even countries that have general political instability can be risky places to visit.
It’s possible to buy travel insurance that covers you for a variety of things if you go to these countries. You can be covered for injuries, for example, or if you have to be evacuated. There are even policies with provisions relating to kidnapping and extortion. (See also: 5 of the Safest Countries to Visit in 2018)
7. If you’re in the military
Those serving in our armed forces must be ready to travel anywhere at a moment’s notice. If you are on active duty or a reservist, you know that any vacation could be interrupted if duty calls. Travel insurance can reimburse you for costs if you have to cancel or interrupt a trip due to military service.