When I was younger, I took all sorts of domestic and international trips without insurance. But I’m getting to that age where I’m less deluded about my invincibility. Things happen; I’ve gotten food poisoning abroad, thrown out my back. My friend just sprained her ankle in Cambodia. No one wants things to go wrong on vacation, but sometimes it’s good to have a safety net. These are a few cases when you should get travel insurance.
If your pre-trip costs are high
If you bought a $30 flight on RyanAir during Black Friday, you probably don’t need travel insurance. On the other hand, if you booked a non-refundable $5000 tour of India, an extra hundred bucks to insure your pre-paid costs is probably worthwhile. It’s a whole lot of money you stand to lose if anything were to go wrong.
If you’re visiting a place where healthcare is expensive
People are probably more likely to get travel insurance if they’re going to a place that they perceive as dangerous. But even the most familiar, safe of environments can be a real bitch if you have an accident or illness. For instance, if you’re traveling within the US, even as a US citizen (many insurance companies don’t cover you outside of your home state), a simple trip to urgent care for a cold can cost you a couple hundred bucks.
If you’re going anywhere where you’re more likely to get sick
Most of us have a certain degree of immunity to illnesses were exposed to all the time. But drinking water in the wrong place or getting bit by a spider can really level you in a way you’d never expect. Getting sick on vacation can lead to cancellation of activities you may have booked. Trip insurance can not only cover you if you need to see a doctor, but it can pay for that day trip that you’re now not really feeling up to taking.
If you’re visiting a place that’s prone to weather disasters
Naturally, an unexpected earthquake or a blizzard can happen at any time. There might even be an extra rare volcanic eruption that grounds your flight. But any time there’s a higher than normal likelihood of a catastrophe raining all over your parade, you may want to insure your trip. For instance, if you’re planning on enjoying the beaches in Thailand during monsoon season.
If you’re taking part in activities that put you at risk of injury
Most of us spend our vacations eating, drinking, and sightseeing. More adventurous trips that include things like skiing, whitewater rafting or mountain climbing warrant some coverage in case you break an arm or a leg. Importantly, not all travel insurance is created equal. And some explicitly exclude activities like skiing unless you select specific additional coverage for that kind of thing. Read the fine print!
If you’re traveling with expensive equipment
Travel insurance isn’t just about protecting yourself, but your stuff. Whether you’re traveling with sporting equipment, musical instruments, or an expensive camera, insurance can cover your stuff in the event that it goes missing or gets destroyed in transit. Baggage handlers are sometimes not the gentlest of folks. If you think a $50 insurance policy is a lot, imagine if your trip costs were to include laptop replacement.