In the travel world, there are 2 schools of thought when it comes to trip insurance. Some say trip insurance is important, and follow the State Department’s recommendation to protect their travel investment. But, with the already high cost of flights, accommodations, and tours, other travelers are skeptical.
So why is trip insurance important, and often recommended by travel experts? While it may seem like just another thing to worry about, trip insurance is the key to reducing worries while traveling. It helps travelers recover funds from frustrating flight cancellations. Trip insurance companies step in when illness affects travel plans. And, they help travelers recover funds lost due to unforeseen circumstances.
As you plan your next big getaway, here are 9 reasons trip insurance is important for any and all vacations.
You can get reimbursed for delay-related disruptions
While travel offers glamorous beaches and thrilling experiences, stress and chaos can abound before travelers even jet off. Airlines are notorious for flight delays; in 2018, 18% of all U.S. flights were delayed, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This means 18% of domestic travelers had to adjust their travel plans, with some missing precious (and pre-planned) hours of their trips or pre-paid nights in a vacation rental.
This is when trip insurance becomes particularly important.
“Severe weather, airplane maintenance or other causes might lead to your trip being delayed, and now you’re at risk of missing out on part of your vacation,” said Matt Popowski, external communications specialist at Allianz Partners. “If your trip is delayed for 6 or more hours by a covered reason, travel insurance can reimburse the unused part of your lost, non-refundable, prepaid expenses, such as overnight accommodations and tours.”
Some trip insurance companies specialize in vacation rentals
Insuring a major overseas trip may seem obvious, but why is trip insurance important for a vacation rental? Just like any vacation, if you’re traveling out of town for even a weekend getaway something can—and often does—go wrong.
That’s why it’s important to find trip insurance companies that have tailored or unique offerings specific to your vacation. For example, with rental property-focused coverage options from companies like Pablow, everyone staying at the vacation rental property is insured. Additionally, trip insurance can be purchased up to 24 hours before check-in (particularly useful for those last-minute getaways).
Trip insurance covers unforeseen cancellations
Traveling when a loved one is ill can get dicey; at any moment, something could change not just your travel plans, but your life. If a sick loved one is traveling with you, they may need to cancel last-minute due to procedures or worsening illness. If the loved one is back home, you may need to nix your trip to stay with them.
In some cases, airlines are forgiving. Some offer future-flight vouchers or refunds. But what about the tours you’ve planned or the vacation rentals you’ve pre-paid? They may have some leniency, but with a sick loved one, that’s the last thing you want to worry about. Enter trip insurance, which can yet again save the day.
“If a family member back home gets sick or passes away during your trip, travel insurance can cover the expense of your trip back home and reimburse the unused portion of your lost, non-refundable, prepaid expenses—for this situation or other covered reasons,” Popowski said. “This is one of the most common reasons why travelers buy travel insurance—to protect the investment in their vacation.”
You’ll have support during medical emergencies
With diverse and adventurous new experiences—not to mention time spent on public transit or in crowded restaurants—unforeseen medical emergencies like accidents or the flu can come up. Trip insurance is immensely valuable in these instances. It can help you recover funds from canceled tours or accommodations while simultaneously guiding you through the local health care options available and reimbursing you (to a point) for unexpected emergency medicine costs.
Lost or damage luggage is covered
Dealing with lost luggage is one of travel’s most stressful situations. You’ve planned all of your trip’s outfits and essentials—now what? Although you have to jump through hoops, airlines will often cover personal expenses up to a certain amount, but travel insurance can step in to further eliminate the stress.
Virtually all trip insurance companies offer some sort of lost baggage reimbursement, and in many cases these offerings cover the bags from the second you leave to the time you return home. This covers the bag itself, personal items, and souvenirs—up to an agreed-upon limit.
You’ll get reimbursed for weather disruptions
From hurricanes to wildfires, unexpected weather patterns can wreak havoc on vacations. This is when trip insurance is of utmost importance, and not just for airline cancellations (although insurance does help with delays beyond 6 hours).
Several companies offer weather-specific insurance to ensure the Caribbean’s hurricane season (June to November) vacationers are safe and protected. It also helps travelers recover pre-paid costs if their destination of choice is damaged due to weather.
The thing is, if you want weather-specific insurance, you’ll need to invest before the weather damage hits.
“Once a storm or hurricane is named, it’s too late to buy travel insurance to cover it,” Popowski said. “So it’s best to check the box on travel insurance when you book your travel.”
You can cover your rental car, too
If you’re renting a car during your vacation, you can often bundle coverage with your overarching trip insurance. In most cases this covers breakdowns, car damage due to collision, or anything not within your control, according to Travel Insurance Review. This kind of rental car insurance is usually cheaper than buying through the rental car company, but be aware that some places don’t accept rental car coverage from outside the country.
You won’t leave vacation rental owners high and dry
The importance of trip insurance extends beyond just the traveler. Vacation property owners will actually benefit from guests having trip insurance, too. When a guest cancels a trip due to flight delays or medical emergencies, rental property owners struggle to rebook the dates on short notice—and therefore lose out on hundreds or thousands of dollars. But, if the renter purchases trip insurance that covers cancellations, property owners will still be reimbursed by the insurance company, according to HomeAway.
Trip insurance is affordable
While the options vary based on how much you want covered, trip insurance usually costs between 5% to 7% of your total pre-paid trip, according to HomeAway. Factors that can affect prices include the travelers’ ages, length of travel, cost of trip, and coverage type.
For example, travelers over 65 will have higher rates (similar to everyday health insurance). If you’re booking higher-end vacations like cruises or safaris, you can expect to pay more because the potential claims will be higher. These variables and factors depend on the trip insurance company; each has its own policy.
With trip insurance in hand, travelers can have peace of mind when getting out of their comfort zones with unique and daring experiences such as rafting or hiking. If you’re ready for big adventures, book a weekend at one of these 6 vacation rentals with epic outdoor experiences—after you’ve purchased your trip insurance, of course.