Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

Should you buy vacation insurance

Remember when airports featured kiosks that let you buy flight insurance? You could buy $50,000 in coverage for a buck or two.

The policies were cheap because it was unlikely that the plane would crash. Today, air travel is so safe you don’t see those kiosks at all.

Getting to that island isn’t worth insuring, but the vacation itself still might be. You buy airline tickets and pay for cruises or hotels months before the trip occurs. What happens if you are ill on the day of departure or if there’s a hurricane or a death in the family that precludes your ability to take the trip?

Travel insurance can help protect you. Policies reimburse you for money spent on nonrefundable airline tickets or hotel rooms, protect you from tour operator bankruptcy and arrange for medical services or evacuation if you suffer a medical emergency while traveling.

They can even help if you lose your wallet or passport or incur legal problems abroad.

Policies are available through travel agents, online travel sites and travel insurance carriers. Insurance for a $3,500 trip can be as low as $120.

As with all insurance policies, use a licensed carrier. Study what is covered and how reimbursement is determined. And see if you already have coverage through your credit card or insurance company.

Originally published in Inside Personal Finance June 2014

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