Have you ever thought about travel insurance before taking a special trip or vacation? Travel insurance is a quick recovery solution when the unforeseen shows up to ruin best laid plans.
I really like to travel. In fact, my wife and I recently made a major life change and move to have better opportunity to travel more often. After decades of living in the southwest, we relocated to the Piedmont area of North Carolina.
As retirees, we have spent our time seeking out historical sites in the U.S. and Canada. Our former home state required a lot of air travel to get to our favorites haunts, but now we can even explore into New England and Canada by car and train.
I don't think we're unique by any means. Travel industry statistics bear out that from day trips to vacations to business jaunts most Americans travel often.
The U.S. Travel Association states that we spend over $600 billion on leisure travel, both domestic and international. Leisure trips alone within the U.S. account for over 75% of all travel.
As fun as getting away from it all is, it is a rare occurrence that our trips always go as planned. Things will and do happen, especially when children are involved.
Aside from the excitement of hopping in the family car or getting on a plane, most of us have one common element in our wanderlust. We rarely consider the "what if" ingredient.
I'm not referring to what if I don't have fun on my trip, what if we don't like our destination, what if the weather turns ugly, and so on. I'm speaking about the what if one of us gets sick or has a medical emergency or we face some other major trip disruption, including cancellation.
You might be surprised to learn that trip cancellations do actually happen at no fault to the party losing out and injuries are not uncommon either. These unplanned events carry both the burden of emotional stress and out-of-pocket cost.
Let's look at a family making a trek across country for a long anticipated family wedding. Everything is packed, personal items checked off the list, dress clothes carefully stowed for the big day, excitement and anticipation coming along as traveling companions. And then during the trip, they have their luggage stolen.
Staggering to think about not doubt, this happens more than you may wish to consider. Added to the shock of dealing with this away from home is the money they'll spend getting back on track. In this situation, travel insurance could help save the day.
There are good reasons to consider travel insurance, but careful consideration must be given as to whether you really need it. Bearing in mind that trip insurance is a limited situation product, at times it makes good sense to buy a policy.
As with most insurance there are exclusions involved. Common ones include: pre-existing conditions, elective surgery, war and terrorism, and injury or illness caused by alcohol or drug use. You must know what a policy will and won't cover before buying.
Also, understand policy definitions and clarifications. Looking back on our wedding scenario, stolen luggage isn't covered if you've been negligent. While negligence is easy to understand, the insurer decides what makes up negligence and their definitions can be quite broad.
The reason for travel and destination are equally important selection factors. Is there high risk involved, such as a dangerous political climate with some threat of kidnapping or imprisonment?
Will you be doing a volunteer mission stint in an area of unrest or natural catastrophe? You don't have to travel far from home to find this.
What about the activities you'll be taking part in? Is white water rafting involved? Or mountain climbing, wilderness camping, scuba diving, or other extreme activity?
Think about special needs you may have that could require travel insurance. As I noted earlier, we are spending our retirement years traveling. Our Medicare coverage does not extend beyond the United States.
In fact, the last time we were in Canada we hadn't reached the magic Medicare age. Now that we have, our next trip to Canada will include a 'look see' at insurance options.
For a trip we're planning to Europe next year, we will need to take a very serious look at the medical end of things. Also, your own employer sponsored family insurance may also have some limitations outside of the provider area that must be considered.
You may discover that you don't have good reason to take out a trip insurance policy. Your traditional health policy may extend to out of network or travel abroad. It may only have certain exclusions that don't affect you.You may have personal funds to pay for an unexpected disruption or cancellation. A credit card would fill this gap, too. You may not travel often or far enough from home to spend the money on a policy.
As a last word, travel insurance can reduce personal risk before any extended trip or one involving an event that can't be duplicated. It could be your save the day solution.
About the Author:
I have been an active investor for over 35 years. With the exception of employer sponsored retirement plans, my investments have always been self directed. My preferred investment style would fall into the value with dividend growth and income method.
I have also had a life-long interest in personal finance and have taught community classes to a varied of groups.
Investment experience in Equities-REITS-Oil & Gas Royalties-Utilities-Varied Fixed Income.
JG is not a registered investment representative. The opinions of the author are not recommendations to either buy or sell any security. Know your level of risk tolerance and remember to do your own research prior to making any investment decision.