October 18, 2018
By Mary Beth Eastman

When Should You Buy Insurance for Your Next Trip?

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Planning a vacation is an exciting endeavor, and a little nerve-wracking if you are shelling out a lot of cash for a plane ticket. You may want to purchase travel insurance to guard against potential losses, but not all policies are created equally. Think ahead to the kind of insurance most valuable to you.

There are two kinds of travel insurance: trip cancellation or comprehensive protection. The first refunds your travel costs while the second covers trip cancellation as well as medical and emergency costs.

For excursions to riskier locales, there are other kinds of insurance that may give you a safety net in case of crisis. Examples include evacuation insurance. Theft protection may or may not form part of your comprehensive coverage; look at the details of what’s offered before signing up.

While trip cancellation sounds tempting, it might not be worth it. If your flight is cancelled, for example, you may already be entitled to a subsequent flight from the airline anyway. If you cancel your trip because of sickness, it may be harder than you think to get reimbursement from your insurance.

Experts recommend getting comprehensive insurance, if any, especially for international flights — Mexico, for example. Travel within the U.S. usually doesn’t require insurance since most of your costs will be borne by your regular medical insurance or coverage included with your credit card.

In general, you should buy travel insurance within 15 days of booking the trip. The longer you wait, the higher the cost for the policy. In addition, certain types of coverage may no longer be available to you if you wait too long. However, if you’ve been weighing the pros and cons of insurance, it may be worth it to buy, even at the last minute.

While you may not ever use your travel insurance, it can be invaluable in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Start by looking at what your rights are as a passenger (flight cancellation), what coverage you already have through your health coverage and credit card protection, and then decide what else you’ll need for your trip abroad.

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