I’ve traveled to more than 20 countries, and thankfully I’ve never had a serious emergency (knock on wood). But I’m still glad I purchased travel insurance for some of those trips, just in case.
Trip insurance reimburses you if something bad happens. If the airline loses your luggage, a bout of food poisoning sends you to the doctor, or you break a bone whitewater rafting, travel insurance could pick up the tab.
Your exact coverage depends on the insurance plan, but you’ll be protected in an emergency. Because of this, some people believe travel insurance is necessary every time you travel.
As a budget traveler, I wouldn’t go quite so far. If you’re wondering whether travel insurance is worth it, ask yourself these six questions.
1. How much are you investing in your trip?
If you’re shelling out big bucks for your vacation, you might consider getting trip insurance. That way, you won’t get hit with a major financial loss in case of an emergency. Without an insurance policy, all your deposits could be lost for good.
“I tell my clients the only time you do not get travel insurance is when you can walk away from the amount you spent without being mad about losing the money,” said travel agent Suzanne Haire.
Of course, what constitutes a major expense is different for everyone. If you’re investing thousands of dollars into a vacation, you might want to insure yourself against the worst. But if you’re taking a cheap flight and crashing on a friend’s couch, you might choose to forego a trip insurance plan.
2. How long are you traveling for?
The length of your trip can also help determine whether or not to buy trip insurance. When I traveled for five days to Iceland, I didn’t worry about getting a comprehensive insurance plan. But when I spent five months backpacking around Southeast Asia, I made sure to purchase coverage.
The major reason for this was that my regular health insurance wouldn’t have covered overseas expenses. If you’re also traveling abroad long-term, it’s financially risky to do so without health coverage.
Anyone spending weeks abroad — or even living in another country — should consider getting a travel insurance plan with health benefits. You don’t want to get stuck footing a hospital bill you can’t afford.
3. Do you plan to bike, ski, or jump out of airplanes?
If you’re an adventure junkie, you might opt for some coverage, especially if you’re traveling out of range for your regular health insurance plan.
“When my British boyfriend traveled to Canada on a working holiday he was very glad he had travel insurance, because he fell off a bike and broke both of his wrists,” said Kelly Dunning, travel writer at Global Goose.
“If he had not had travel insurance coverage, his medical treatment would have cost us nearly five thousand Canadian dollars! Fortunately, he was covered and we were reimbursed for the cost.”
No one wants to spend their vacation in a hospital. But if you find yourself there, you’ll be grateful you’re insured.
However, you might not be as concerned if you’re planning to stay on the beaten path. “My rule of thumb is, if we’re going on a trip just to do the usual touristy things like shopping, sightseeing, and eating, then I won’t get it,” said JB Macatulad, travel blogger at Will Fly for Food. “But if we plan on doing anything remotely physical like skiing, bungee jumping, or even going on a city bike tour, then I think it’s a must.”
As much fun as adventure activities are, they also open up a greater risk of injury. Trip insurance can cover hospital visits and treatments. Plus, many plans come with 24-hour medical assistance to help you locate the best services.
4. Does the weather report look grim?
You’re probably not a storm chaser, but you might be traveling to an area where the weather report looks iffy. Travel insurance can provide coverage in case of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or snow storm. Some plans even cover emergency evacuation in extreme circumstances.
“I got stuck in a blizzard during a trip to Iceland and could not continue down the road to my hotel, so I had to book another hotel to have a place to stay,” said writer and traveler Lindsey Danis. “The insurance company I worked with reimbursed us for the last-minute hotel booking, our international phone calls, and our meals while our trip was delayed.”
If you’re worried about inclement-weather, look for a plan with this type of coverage.
5. Do you already have the coverage you need?
Travel insurance companies aren’t the only ones that provide coverage for incidents that happen during vacation. Some health insurance plans offer reimbursement for medical costs incurred while overseas.
Select credit cards also offer protection for trip cancellations, lost bags, and rental car insurance. The Capital One Venture card, for example, offers lost luggage reimbursement, travel assistance, and collision coverage on qualifying rental cars.
Before purchasing trip insurance, check with your domestic insurance plans and credit card companies. You might find you’re already adequately protected.
6. Will you stress out without trip insurance?
Although you can weigh the pros and cons of trip insurance, sometimes the decision comes down to one simple factor: peace of mind. If you’re going to worry without trip insurance, purchasing a plan could be worth it. It will relieve your concerns so you can enjoy your vacation.
“I’ve purchased travel insurance for three trips,” said Danis. “While I’ve only used it one time, it was worth the expense for peace of mind … you never know what could happen.”
Is travel insurance worth it?
The cost of a vacation can add up quickly, and you might not want to add another expense. But a small cost upfront for trip insurance could be worth it, especially if the worst does happen.
If you run into an emergency in another country, you could end up thousands of dollars in debt. What started as a fun vacation could turn into a financial nightmare.
Since there are lots of insurance plans, you can choose the policy with coverage options that meet your needs. If you’re looking to keep costs down, check out these six affordable trip insurance plans for budget travelers.
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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|2.47% – 6.23%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|