Next Avenue: When to buy travel insurance, and when to skip it

by | Aug 19, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from Lori Park, a Chicago-area resident, and her 80-year-old mother Nancy Park were on a cruise to Hawaii when Nancy became ill. She spent five days in the ship’s hospital before being evacuated to Mexico and then flown back to the United States.

All that medical care and transportation added up to thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses, but it was all covered by $436 worth of travel insurance that the two women had purchased before setting sail. Lori Park says she never takes a vacation without insuring it. “It’s something I consider essential whenever I travel,” she notes.Do you need travel insurance? There are five broad types of travel insurance: flight policies that pay out if your plane crashes; baggage insurance to cover damaged, lost or stolen luggage; interruption/ cancellation insurance to repay you for trips that don’t happen; medical insurance for doctor visits and hospital stays; and evacuation coverage that pays to move you to an appropriate medical facility. You can buy them individually or in bundles. Travel experts say that insurance can help people avoid potentially catastrophic costs, as it did for the Parks. But it is not necessary for everyone. “Insurance adds about 13% to the cost of a trip,” says Jay Smith, president of Sports Travel a …

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