The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Travel Insurance-to buy or not to buy

A reader asks: “Why should we consider buying travel insurance? It’s pretty expensive!”

If you can afford to lose the money you’ve paid for your travel arrangement then yes you do not need to buy insurance. Otherwise read on.

Travel insurance offers travelers coverage for unforeseen problems, from a cancelled flight to a serious illness—or in rare cases, even an act of terrorism or the financial default of a travel supplier.

If an illness, accident, or other covered unforeseen circumstance forces a traveler to cancel or interrupt their travel plans, they face two potentially major financial losses—money invested in nonrefundable pre-payments and medical expenses that in many instances may not be covered by health insurance.

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.

To demonstrate the importance of purchasing travel insurance, and emergency travel services, here are 10 common examples of what could go wrong.

• You have to cancel your trip due to an unexpected event such as bad weather, an illness in the family, involuntary job loss or the financial default of your airline, cruise line or tour operator.

• You have to return home early due to an unexpected emergency such as an illness or death in the family.

• Your luggage is lost or delayed, forcing you to purchase necessary essentials, or prescription medications.

• Your sporting, camping or adventure equipment is damaged or stolen.

• You become ill or injured and learn that your health care plan doesn’t cover you outside the U.S.

• You need an emergency medical evacuation due to an accident or sudden illness.

• You run into flight delays and miss a portion of your trip or cruise.

• You have to evacuate your resort due to an unexpected hurricane or storm.

• You lose your passport, leaving you stranded abroad.

• Your rental car is damaged leaving you responsible for the repair costs.

Common travel problems like flight delays, travel injuries and illnesses, unpredictable weather and lost or stolen luggage are why today’s smart travelers travel with travel insurance.

There are many plans that can provide coverage for many of the things that can go wrong before, during and after your trip.

This is a very personal purchasing decision but it does cover the bulk of your travel investment.

I also recommend 3rd party insurance instead of the insurance coverage offered by the cruise line, tour operator or other supplier.

I suggest that you discuss the pros and cons with your travel agent.