Travel Insurance: To Buy or Not to Buy?

Yosemite National Park, California

By Angie & Jeff

March 19, 2023

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When people find out how often we travel, a common question we are asked is if we buy travel insurance. The answer is-it depends.

Should I Buy Travel Insurance for Domestic Trips?

Generally, for less expensive domestic trips we choose to skip insurance. Essentially, we’re choosing to self-insure the trip which means risking the cost of the trip bookings if we would have to cancel due to a last-minute illness or in our part of the country, a snowstorm.

Travel Insurance Via Credit Cards

We do hold some travel credit cards that offer coverage on items like trip delay, interruption, and lost/delayed baggage if the trip (or a portion of it depending on the terms and conditions of the card agreement) is charged to that card. It is a good idea to check what coverage might be included with your credit cards.

Arm Brace Angie Yosemite SQUARE CROP
Angie’s left arm in a brace following a fall on a trail in Yosemite.

Should I Buy Travel Insurance for International Travel?

If we’re traveling internationally to locations that are remote, we are more likely to consider purchasing travel insurance. In particular, we ask ourselves if the healthcare access in the location we are visiting is sufficient. If not, you’re risking a medical evacuation for a medical emergency which could be as simple as a broken bone. (I am quite clumsy and have seen the inside of a hospital on vacation due to this, so this is a big factor for me.) You may want to consider your own medical history and risk tolerance when making this decision.

At What Time Should I Buy Travel Insurance?

When purchasing travel insurance, it is best to do so when booking the trip itself. If you wait too long after booking the trip to purchase travel insurance, you will typically have more limited protections.

What Portion of the Trip Does the Travel Insurance Cover?

Finally, the travel insurance you’re offered as you book a hotel or flight is typically limited to ONLY that part of your trip and buying it in pieces like this can add up quickly. If you have decided to purchase trip insurance, I suggest looking into pricing for insuring the full trip with an overall policy to cover all aspects of the trip.

We have bought these policies with AIG in the past because they are a good member of the community in Stevens Point, Wisconsin where we used to live. There are lots of travel insurance options out there.