Let’s Debunk the Common Travel Insurance Myths

Travel insurance provides several benefits to the wise traveler who chooses to invest in it. According to the United States Travel Insurance Association, the most common reasons cited to purchase travel insurance include protection from unexpected illness or accidents, losing one’s financial investment in a vacation, and overall peace of mind.

Following are a few examples the UStiA provides of when you might find yourself in need of travel insurance:

  • You need to return home early from your trip due to illness.
  • An accident involving a family member requires you to cancel a non-refundable trip.
  • A natural disaster prevents you from returning home.
  • Your baggage gets lost.
  • You become ill and need medical assistance while traveling abroad.
  • Weather-related delays cause you to miss a cruise departure.
  • You need a hotel room because your flight was delayed.
  • You need legal assistance while in a foreign country because you had an auto accident.

According to the UStiA, approximately 17 percent of Americans report that their travel plans have been affected by weather, medical emergencies, and other unforeseen circumstances. Of that 17 percent, roughly one in five carried travel insurance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise investing in travel insurance particularly if you plan to travel abroad. In particular, they suggest three different kinds of travel insurance: travel health insurance, travel cancellation insurance, and medical evacuation insurance.

Not all travel insurance is alike, and not all you hear about it is the truth. Let’s take a look at the most common travel insurance myths and debunk them once and for all.

All Travel Insurance Is the Same

All travel insurance is not alike, and anyone who tells you every policy is the same has not done their homework. There are a variety of travel insurance types that offer different levels of protection. For example, you can buy travel insurance to cover you in the instance you need to be medically evacuated from a country, or you can get insurance that covers if you must cancel your trip.

In addition to the types of travel insurance, different carriers offer different policies. You can buy travel insurance geared towards specific age groups, covering various destinations, and even some that cover certain activities.

Because every vacation, business trip, or holiday is different, so too are the various types of available travel insurance. Don’t fall into the trap of believing every policy is alike. Do your homework, be prepared, and be covered if illness, natural disaster, or other complications arise while you are on vacation.

My Airline Will Cover Me if My Flight is Canceled or Delayed

It is a common misconception that airline carriers will cover expenses if a flight is delayed. Don’t count on the airline to reimburse you for this inconvenience. Sometimes it will, and sometimes it won’t. It often depends upon the particular circumstances. While they are not required to reimburse customers, you may be covered for the cost of your flight and possibly your hotel expenses, depending on the type of travel insurance you have.

I’m Too Old or Sick to Get Travel Insurance

Another common myth is that you won’t qualify for travel insurance because you are over a certain age or in bad health. Neither of these instances are true.

Some travel insurance policies have no age restrictions. Additionally, even if you have an unstable or high-risk condition that is not covered by travel medical insurance, you may still qualify for expenses unrelated to your pre-existing condition. In fact, some travel insurance policies even cover pre-existing conditions. This means you could still be covered in the event you experience a medical emergency while traveling, such as a broken bone or food poisoning.

Don’t count yourself out just because you are over a certain age or have a pre-existing condition.

Nothing Will Happen on a Vacation

It is easy to believe that just because you have never experienced any major unforeseen circumstances while on a trip, you never will. Minor inconveniences may include flight delays, passport theft, lost baggage, minor injuries, or a necessary trip cancellation. However, what if something major occurs while you are traveling? For example, you may need to be evacuated from an area due to natural disaster or war, or you may experience a major health issue while in another country and require medical evacuation.

In instances such as these, you may be required to spend a substantial amount of money you had not counted on. If you are covered by travel insurance, however, all or most of these expenses may be covered.

My Current Health Insurance Covers Me

Many people believe it is not necessary to get travel insurance because their current health insurance will cover them in the event of a medical emergency. While some medical insurance policies may cover you for short international trips, but not all do. Examine your current health insurance plan to make certain you are covered before traveling. Also consider if your trip is delayed and your domestic health insurance expires while you are away. Additionally, your health insurance back home will not cover the cost of a pre-paid trip or flight expenses if you have to cut that trip short due to illness.

Don’t be left in the dark in another country without travel insurance because somebody told you it wasn’t necessary, nothing can happen on vacation, or you couldn’t get it anyway. While some smart travelers see travel insurance as a necessity, far too many view it as an unnecessary expense. Don’t fall for the countless myths circulating about travel insurance.

Do your own research and discover what travel insurance is necessary in order to avoid a whole lot of headache and extra expenses later. It’s better to be with it than without it. Travel wisely and have a safe, happy trip!

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