When to Take Out Travel Insurance

As a budget traveler, it can be hard to spend money on things that aren’t completely necessary, like a room in the center of town, dessert after dinner or travel insurance.

It’s true that not every vacation will require insurance, but when should you purchase it in order to avoid spending even more in the case of an emergency? After all, nobody has ever regretted having insurance, but plenty have wished they could have a do over when it came to the decision and they chose not to take it. When should you bite the bullet and build the cost into your budget?

Going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Have you planned a long-awaited trip that you may never take again, like a safari or three-week European adventure? These are two instances where you should probably buy trip insurance. In fact, anytime you spend a large amount of money on your vacation and you are not already insured through the airline or your credit card that you made reservations with, travel insurance will keep you protected in the event that you have to cancel your trip for any reason or it is postponed.

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Taking a big cruise. Because most cruises are all-inclusive, booking one can be the majority of your budget. A number of things can happen before you cruise or while you’re on the boat that travel insurance may safeguard you against. If the cruise company goes out of business, the weather results in your cruise getting cancelled or even the boat crashing into an iceberg. True, this last one probably hasn’t been such a big problem since the turn of the century, but take a look at some of the other cruise ship disasters that have occurred the past few years, including Norovirus outbreaks.

Traveling to a third-world country. While this isn’t as treacherous as it sounds, since many people travel to third-world countries every day with no issues, there is always the chance you may catch some local disease and find yourself in need of swift medical attention. You don’t want to only have a choice of the local village doctor if you come down with malaria or something equally serious. Make sure you always have the proper vaccinations before you travel, too.

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You have an ailing parent/child/spouse. This is a case of where you stand a good chance of having to cancel your whole vacation due to sickness or even death. It’s never easy to deal with these things, but to also have to rearrange your travel plans or lose out on all the money you already spent on top of that is more stress that you don’t need.

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Natural disasters are a normal occurrence in your destination. Traveling during hurricane season is cheaper than most other times of the year, but there’s the potential your vacation will be ruined by an actual hurricane or tropical storm. Of course, there are also things that no one could predict that happen all the time that strand travelers for days or weeks in transit, like the volcanic ash cloud, the tsunami in Japan, Hurricane Katrina and the devastating earthquake in Haiti. If any of these things have happened before or might be a possibility in the future, then getting travelers’ insurance can only give you that extra peace of mind that you need in order to relax about your vacation plans.

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There are different levels of insurance for every kind of traveler and all types of traveler, so make sure you research which is right for you. And it never hurts to bring along an extra credit card or emergency cash fund for immediate needs when problems occur.


About the Author

Shereen Rayle is author of the blog Shereen Travels Cheap and two budget travel books, including Secrets to Summer Savings. For years she has been planning her own vacations using the Internet to extend her limited budget as far as possible and shares the tips and tricks she has learned, along with useful sites like FareCompare.com, to help others get the most out of their travel dollars. And to further inspire budget travelers everywhere, she finds terrific travel bargains and posts them each day on her Facebook page.


Published: April 10, 2012