Do I Need Travel Insurance?

The time has finally come to book your dream vacay. Determined to enjoy every minute of it — and maximize every penny you put into it — you’re happy to spend a little cash on a vacation wardrobe update or even a business-class upgrade. But perhaps you’re not as excited to make room in your trip budget for travel insurance. After all, is travel insurance necessary? 

While not legally required in most domestic travel circumstances, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that our plans can veer off course, quickly. Depending on the circumstances of your trip, buying travel insurance has the potential to save you time, money, and frustration should anything go awry when you’re away. 

Start your journey close to home by visiting your local credit union. Credit unions focus on people rather than profits, so they often provide members with all types of insurance benefits and attractive terms that commercial financial institutions don’t.

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Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Since a standard travel insurance policy usually adds another 5% to 6% to your vacation budget, you’ll want to ensure it’s worth the money. Travel insurance protects you from some common risks and losses vacationers may encounter. While it doesn’t cover everything, it can help pay for expenses and fix situations that could create significant setbacks. Generally, if losing, replacing, or rebooking something would be a big blow to your bottom line, you’ll probably want to insure it. 

In fact, in some circumstances, travel insurance is required. If you’re traveling to another country, you may be wondering, "Is travel insurance necessary for international travel?" Although not required in all locations, there are dozens of countries that do require tourists to carry some amount of travel insurance. 

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Travel insurance can help resolve problems ranging from trivial to tragic. So, what does travel insurance cover?

When is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Insuring a once-in-a-lifetime epic vacation is a no-brainer. But it’s a good idea even for shorter international trips, where the location alone can complicate the journey home. As mentioned, travel insurance is often necessary for international travel.

Trip insurance is also important when you’ve invested serious money on a cruise, resort reservation, or expedition. However, be sure to check the specifics to avoid coverage gaps. For example, if your cruise line cancels your voyage, basic policies might not cover the airline tickets you purchased to get to the port. 

If you’re planning adventurous excursions like scuba diving, cliff jumping, or parasailing, make sure your travel insurance covers higher-risk activities. 

Also, consider how you’ll be getting around. Standard car insurance usually covers domestic rental cars. But if you’re renting a vehicle overseas, you’ll likely need a travel policy. Most plans only cover collision damage, so make sure another policy covers medical treatment or property damage sustained during an accident. 

When doesn’t travel insurance make sense? Buying travel insurance isn’t worth the added cost if you’ve purchased flexible, refundable airline tickets that can be easily changed. Likewise, you may not need insurance if your reserved lodging has a generous cancellation policy. 

Additionally, if you’ve used rewards points to cover some costs, those portions usually can’t be insured without special waivers. 

So if you’re asking yourself, is travel insurance necessary, remember this mantra: If you can’t afford to lose and rebook, you should probably insure your investment.

Where Do You Get Travel Insurance? 

Buying travel insurance can be as simple as checking the appropriate box when you book a flight or hotel, but easier isn’t always better. 

Many credit cards offer cancellation insurance when you use them to book your flight or rental car. It’s usually built in but probably won’t cover other portions of your trip. Comparison shopping with different travel insurance providers gives you more options for customization, but it takes time and effort to locate and contact individual companies. 

Using a travel insurance comparison website can help streamline the process. And it will give you the best options for customization. But, of course, you’ll need to read and compare carefully, and hope you can make sense of the fine print.  

Alternatively, a travel agent can help answer questions if you need to talk through the terms and conditions. Just know that travel agents can only offer a handful of plans that may or may not meet your needs.

More personalized, customizable help may be available at your local credit union. Many credit unions offer robust travel insurance plans to their members. In addition, credit union travel insurance can include features you may not find elsewhere, such as ‘inconvenience payouts’ when your flight or luggage is delayed.  

Further Resources on Travel Insurance

Let’s face it. Planning Insta-worthy excursions are more fun than ruminating about what could go wrong. But a few minutes of preparation can keep mishaps from spiraling into disasters. Here are some further resources on travel insurance:

A Local Partner Who Will Go the Distance

Still wondering, do I need travel insurance? A short trip to visit the helpful experts at your local credit union can help clear up any lingering questions you may have about the coverage. Consider a credit union for all your travel insurance needs, from same-day activation to exclusive member discounts, and more.

Light Bulb for Did You Know YMF

Did you know?

Many credit unions offer affordable travel insurance options that can be customized for your individual trip, unlike the one-size-fits-all coverage banks tend to offer along with their credit cards. In addition, credit unions are not-for-profit and owned by their members so they can focus on member needs rather than shareholder profits.  

Find the right Credit Union for you

There are more than 5000 credit unions to choose from across the U.S.