There are hundreds of circumstances that could cause you to cancel your trip, return home early or force you to seek emergency medical treatment while traveling. Consider protecting your travel investment—buy travel insurance.
For the last ten years I have always purchased travel insurance and I recommend it to all my family and friends. What made me a believer? Eight years ago I went on vacation to Germany. I felt fine when I got on the plane but 16 hours later I arrived at the Frankfurt Airport sick as a dog. I thought I had a touch of food poisoning and it would pass. After struggling with nausea and vomiting for two days I decided I needed to go to a German Emergency Room. The upshot was—I had a severe gall bladder infection, needed immediate emergency surgery, and spent 6 days in a German hospital. My vacation to Germany was not what I had expected.
Are you prepared to handle a medical emergency when you are away from home? Many travelers assume that their health insurance will cover them for any medical services but that is not always the case. Most health plans today are based on in-network-only coverage, which means that you’re not covered if you see a doctor out-of-network unless it’s for emergency or urgent care.
After an overseas phone conversation with my HMO health provider, I was advised to pay for the medical services and file a claim for reimbursement when I got home. I wasn’t sure my credit card could handle charges for major surgery and a hospital stay. I lucked out, though. Four months earlier when buying airline tickets online I had clicked the box asking if I wanted to buy travel insurance. It added only a few dollars to the cost of my trip. My trip to Germany was a major investment—airline tickets, rental car, pre-paid accommodations and pre-paid excursions. I wanted to protect that investment so I clicked the box.
This is what I tell my family and friends about how to decide if you need travel insurance, ask yourself these questions;
Can you afford to lose that money if something goes wrong?
Travel is an investment. After all of that planning, you stand to lose a ton of your hard earned money if you are unable to make that trip. From hotel cancellation fees to plane tickets, area attractions and even that rental car. Travel insurance usually has clauses that will reimburse you for these expenditures should your trip be missed or canceled.
Can you afford to pay medical costs out of pocket if the need arises?
Depending upon what part of the globe that you are traveling to, your medical insurance may or may not provide coverage. Always make sure you know. if coverage is not provided, you can add this invaluable benefit to your travel insurance plan. It can cover accidents, illnesses, and medical emergencies so you are not out of pocket should the unthinkable take place.
If a volcano erupts or another disaster means no one can fly, do you have the funds to stay there for an unexpected extra week?
If you opt for the right amount of coverage, you can also be reimbursed should your trip be interrupted. This could include a broken down rental car, problems with the cruise ship, natural disasters, and even bad weather. (It’s always worth considering this option for tropical vacations.)
Would you know where to turn if you encounter medical trouble?
Nobody plans to get sick or injured on vacation, but the truth is, sometimes the unexpected happens. Whatever the reason, keep these tips in mind if an unfortunate medical emergency arises on your next trip.
What would you do if your luggage is lost or stolen?
It happens every year. Millions of pieces of luggage are swiped from airports and cruise ships. Typically, this happens when you least expect it to. Depending up the coverage that you have, your plan should cover your luggage and the contents within. But there could be limitations or deductibles that you should be aware of, so make sure you understand all the terms first.
That trip to Germany made a believer out of me. For every major trip with even a modest outlay of funds I now purchase insurance. Consider protecting your investment.
I’d like to add—I made a trip back to Germany the following year. (I hadn’t seen much or done much the first time.) On the flight over we were told that our airlines (British Airways) might be going on strike right before our return date. It did happen and we spent an extra two days in Germany. Our hotel and rental car costs for those two days were reimbursed.
Last year in October, we had arrangements made to spend 3 days in St. Augustine, Florida and 4 Days in Orlando, Florida. Airline tickets were purchased months in advance. Accommodations were pre-paid. Tickets to theme parks were purchased. Hurricane Matthew blew up the Florida coast and ruined our plans. We were disappointed but not as much as we would have been if we were not reimbursed for the expenses for our canceled plans.
Yes, there are hundreds of circumstances that can ruin your travel plans. One of my best pieces of travel advice is to protect your investment—buy travel insurance.