All Ages

Does My Family Need Travel Insurance?

Dad and Son on Beach; Courtesy of Elizaveta Galitckaia/Shutterstock.com

“Do we need travel insurance?” It’s a question many of us are asking ourselves as we prepare for our long-awaited summer vacations. We’ve curated advice from several experts to help you decide whether or not travel insurance is right for your family.

Q: How do I know if travel insurance is right for my family?

A: You’re already spending a small (or large) fortune on your annual vacation; is travel insurance really worth the cost? “A family’s travel insurance needs are determined by the nature of the trip, its cost, and who is traveling,” says Caroline Grace at InsureMyTrip. When considering travel insurance, she suggests asking yourself the following questions:

  • If my trip is unexpectedly canceled, am I able to easily accept the financial loss of the cost of the trip?
  • If there’s a medical issue and someone in my party needs to be evacuated, can we cover the cost?
  • Am I traveling with any significant valuables that would be too expensive to replace?

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance.

Another reason to buy travel insurance? “Purchasing a comprehensive travel insurance policy is simply peace of mind,” says Joel Ohman, a Certified Financial Planner™ and the founder of InsuranceProviders.com. “Enjoy your travels without having to worry about potential medical care issues.”

Q: What should I look for in a travel insurance policy?

A: “Some of the things to look for in a travel insurance policy include the following major types of coverage: major medical, accident, evacuation (immediate transport home in the event of a major illness or accident), and trip cancellation/interruption,” says Ohman. “Each of these different elements can be purchased separately or combined as a packaged policy.”

Q: What are some common travel insurance mistakes we should avoid?

A: “Unless you are well familiar with the benefits you already enjoy with any of your other current insurance policies, credit card benefits, membership programs, etc., you could end up buying a policy that has some duplication of benefits with what you already have,” warns Ohman. In other words, it’s important to read the fine print.

Q: How much does travel insurance cost?

A: “Expect a policy to cost about 10 percent of the cost of your trip,” advises Sara Rathner, travel and credit card expert at NerdWallet. Sometimes it’s more and sometimes it’s less, depending on your coverages.

Q: What are some reputable travel insurance options for families?

A: Travel Guard, Allianz, and Trip Assure all come highly recommended by other families. But with so many travel insurance options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your family. We recommend this travel insurance comparison tool on NerdWallet, which breaks down the basics of each major provider’s policy.

Q: Does my credit card company offer insurance?

A: Popular credit cards that provide travel coverage include The Platinum Card From American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. But it’s important to note these coverages are limited. “Travel rewards credit cards often provide limited coverage if your luggage gets lost, your flight is delayed, or you have to cut your trip short due to illness,” says Rather. “That’s where a separate travel insurance policy can fill the gap.”

Q: What type of trips make most sense for travel insurance?

A: If you’re only spending a few hundred dollars on a weekend getaway, travel insurance probably doesn’t make sense. But for families who are investing in a big-ticket vacation—think a trip across the pond or a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Disney World—travel insurance can’t hurt. And if you’re headed to an area where there’s a risk of hurricanes or other natural disasters, travel insurance is a no-brainer. “I had a family of four go to Mexico for a week last August and spend over $10,000,” says Cortnie Nichols, Founder and CEO of TravelBash. “Do you think the $298 bucks they paid wasn’t worth it if a hurricane would have hit and they lost that money or couldn’t cancel?”

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