Travel Insurance: Do You Really Need It?

As you head out the door on vacation this summer, you may be offered vacation insurance by your travel agent. While most people are inclined to refuse it because it is an added expense, you may want to pay the extra money. The following benefits of travel insurance may also be purchased through your regular insurance agent if you would rather not take the insurance offered by the travel agent (or if you are traveling on your own without the help of a travel agent).

Trip Cancellation

If you are headed anywhere where the weather can change drastically from one minute to the next, you may want travel insurance to cover trip cancellation fees. Essentially, if you cancel your trip because of a hurricane in Florida or similar event, the trip insurance covers the cost of all fees associated with cancelling the trip and maybe even covers some of your non-refundable deposits. (These details are slightly different for each travel agency and the different policies you can purchase from independent insurance agents, so be sure to check the fine print before you purchase the insurance.)

Emergency Medical Care

In the event that you become seriously ill or injured, some travel insurance policies also cover your medical care. This a plus, since most hospitals and healthcare clinics in other states cannot take your out-of-state insurance. You would not like to travel to someplace thrilling (e.g., skiing in Denver) and find that you break your leg, get a concussion and end up with a monumental hospital bill you cannot pay.

Lost Baggage (Like, Really Lost)

Lost baggage is a common thing while traveling, and it usually occurs when your bags were not transferred onto the correct plane or were accidentally routed elsewhere. Sometimes your baggage shows up again, and sometimes you never see it again. When you never see your bag again, you can call the travel agency or insurance agent and file a claim against your travel insurance for lost property. It helps to have a good idea about what you packed in the bag because the insurance company may want an itemized list of everything you lost. Then they can reimburse you for your lost property.


Theft is another big issue while traveling. Thieves look for opportunities to steal property that is left unguarded or is easy to snatch, and this usually includes purses, wallets, backpacks and children's backpacks. While most travelers remain hyper vigilant about these issues, theft still occurs, and some travel insurance policies can cover these thefts to help make your travels less stressful or nerve-wracking.