When you plan to travel to a different country it is of utmost importance that you have travel insurance in place. The most obvious reason for this is in case you fall ill or are injured in an accident. The medical bills incurred in such cases can be astronomical and in some cases you may not be allowed to return home without paying them in full. The cost of travel insurance varies widely and depends to a large extent on your medical condition, your destination, the length of time you intend to stay and the type of coverage you want. It is possible to obtain such insurance for a one-time event, but if you travel several times throughout the year it would be a good idea to purchase an annual policy. One rule of thumb is to allow 5 – 8% of the total cost of your vacation for travel insurance costs.
In addition to having medical coverage in your travel insurance policy, you should also have trip cancelation insurance. Anything can happen at the last minute and cause delays or cancelation of your plans. You should know whether or not the airline you book with allows for refunds on last minute cancelations. Some airlines charge a fee for cancelling the reservation and then will give you a voucher for future travel, rather than refund your money.
In recent times, many vacation agencies have gone bankrupt leaving travelers stranded on vacation or even before they leave home. With trip cancelation insurance you will be covered for this type of event and will get your money back to book with a different agency. If you plan to travel to the Caribbean or South America during the hurricane season, it is a good idea to have hurricanes included in the reasons for trip cancelation insurance. Then if you are caught in the midst of one, you will be compensated for any losses you sustain. In any event you won’t get 100% of the cost refunded, but you will receive a substantial amount of what you paid.
Insuring your luggage is also a coverage option when you purchase travel insurance. Luggage goes astray all the time and is usually found, but there are times when it is never recovered. The coverage allows for a specific dollar amount per pound of baggage and usually amounts to about $600 per checked bag. If you have valuable items in your luggage that exceed this amount, you might want to consider purchasing extra insurance.
You do have to keep in mind that if you travel to areas deemed a high-risk by your government, you may not be able to purchase travel insurance for your trip.