Should you buy travel insurance?
I don’t buy travel insurance for domestic flights, but I always buy travel insurance for international travel.
I have been wanting to tell you 3 stories from this summer’s travels, centering around travel insurance. This post will contain affiliate links to the travel insurance company I have used for years, Allianz. (See Disclosure)
3 Examples Why You Should Buy Travel Insurance.
In each of these examples having or not having travel insurance was a trip altering factor. It should be noted that I emphatically recommend that my travelers buy travel insurance.
Not sure what travel insurance is? Read Travel Insurance 101 ~ How Travel Insurance Works
Story Number One:
One of my Glam Italia Tour travelers wasn’t paying attention at the airport and didn’t see her flight from her home airport to Charlotte had changed gates. She missed her flight. This meant that she couldn’t get to Charlotte in time to catch her flight to Rome, which set off a very expensive chain of events, and meant that she lost the first day of her 11 day tour.
There is only one flight per day from Charlotte to Rome, and it leaves at 6pm. My traveler had to stay overnight in Charlotte, which meant hotel expenses, she had to buy food in Charlotte – 3 meals. When she arrived in Rome 24 hours late I wasn’t there to meet her because I was in Florence with the other ladies on her tour. Her tour price had included all internal travel in Italy, but now she had to buy a ticket from the airport to the main train station, then a last minute ticket from Termini train station in Rome to Florence at a little over double the price of the original ticket, and get to Florence by herself. All these expenses had to come out of the money she brought with her for her trip, which in turn meant that she couldn’t buy things that she wanted to and had to stick to a very tight budget on her once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy.
She hadn’t purchased travel insurance, so it was all a complete loss. Had she bought a travel policy Allianz would have covered her under the missed connection portion of the policy, and she may have been able to recover the cost of the missed day of her tour.
Missed flights are a nuisance, but they are part of travel. Sometimes your flight arrives late and your connecting flight has departed. Travel insurance can help offset those costs, or completely cover them.
Story Number Two:
Another of my travelers had an issue this summer.
She flew to Rome from JFK airport in New York, but her suitcase went on a world tour of it’s own. Firstly it went to Boston, then it went missing for a while, then it popped up in Amsterdam, disappeared again, went back to New York, and finally came to Rome on day 8 of her 11 day tour.
Her first phone call was to Allianz. They got involved and were able to circumvent the endless hassles of being on hold with the airlines for an hour at a time (at international calling rates!) and got things moving with trying to locate the suitcase. They also covered my traveler for buying clothes, shoes, makeup and toiletries so that she could get on with enjoying her trip.
Her travel insurance policy had cost her under $100, and it paid for itself many times over!
Story Number Three:
This one is my personal story. A week prior to heading to Europe to lead 6 weeks of private tours, I went to Belize on a makeup job. While there I breathed in some kind of heinous spores (as did the photographer and the photo assistant), which incubated for about 10 days and then turned into the worst cough you can imagine. For almost all of the time I was in Europe I had to sleep sitting up. I coughed and coughed and coughed. I also had to go to multiple doctor visits and was given multiple medications. Steroids kept the coughing largely under control for the 2nd half of the time I was away.
Allianz was able to track down doctors for me in the various places across Italy that the tours traveled to, and took care of reimbursement for all expenses.
Getting sick while you are traveling can be a nightmare. Travel insurance not only offsets the costs of medical care, but a good travel insurance company will help you get English speaking doctors.
In my opinion the main reason to buy travel insurance for an international trip is the medical coverage. Catching a bad cold or a sinus infection is a nuisance but not the end of the world. Getting hit by a car, getting appendicitis, having a heart attack or an aneurysm?? Major, major deal. When choosing a travel insurance policy look at the medical coverage. If something goes drastically wrong you need to make sure you have excellent medical cover and, depending on where you are traveling to, emergency evacuation back home.
For example, if I had to go to hospital in France or in Australia I know that I would be getting the very best medical care in the world and at realistic prices, so I would stay there. If I was in an under developed country or a country with sub-standard medical facilities I would want to get stabilized and then be flown back home, with a nurse, to be treated here in America at a bankrupting price point. For any traveler who is either coming to America, or who’s flight touches down in America en route to somewhere else, get the absolute maximum medical coverage. The cost of medical care here in America will bankrupt you.
I have filled this post with affiliate links (see disclosure) to Allianz Insurance – that’s who I use every time I travel overseas. I suggest you shop around and compare policies to see if someone else has a better fit for you.
Most travel insurance policies need to be purchased at least 14 days prior to travel in order to be effective as of day one of your trip. I recommend that travelers buy travel insurance the same day as they put down their deposit or purchase their airline tickets – whichever comes first. If anything medical happens to you tomorrow you will forfeit the money paid out so far.