Even the best planned vacations can be interrupted by glitches and emergencies. You lose your luggage. You slip, or catch a bug, and need medical treatment. These not only disrupt your itinerary, but can cost you a lot of money.
That's where travel insurance (also called travel protection) comes in. Specially designed to address the situations and risks involved in travel, it provides coverage from the moment you leave, to the moment you return to your home.
For example, travel insurance can reimburse you for any baggage or items that you may lose during your trip. This is particularly important if you plan to buy anything of high value, such as local antiques, or are carrying very expensive jewellery or electronic equipment.
Your standard medical insurance also tends to be limited to a network area, so without travel insurance, you will have to pay for any hospitalization or medical treatments you receive while abroad. This can be very pricey, not to mention stressful: imagine being sick and broke in an unfamiliar country! If you are visiting a place where doctor's bills and other emergency procedures are expensive, or where there are very real health risks, travel insurance is absolutely crucial.
Travel insurance is also very important if you plan to take a driving vacation. Many automobile policies will not extend coverage outside the country you live. The last thing you want to worry about is how to pay for a rental vehicle that got smashed by another driver, or take over the costs of repairing a car who you may have hit (a risk anyone takes by travelling through unfamiliar roads with unfamiliar driving rules).
Travel insurance can also provide protection against emergencies that are so specific to going abroad that they can not be covered by your standard insurance policy. This includes trip interruption. Any fees or down payments that you may have made that would otherwise have been forfeited if you had suddenly cancelled your trip will be returned to you.
Travel protection plans can also provide assistance services like an emergency hotline and medical transportation services. This is very valuable when a crisis hits in a foreign country, where you may not speak the language or know your way around a city well enough to locate the nearest emergency facility. When you are distraught or distressed, or when time is of the essence and you need to get help right away, travel protection plans can be your safety net. You may be a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone.
You may ask, "Why should I get travel insurance when I have really good regular insurance?" Many people are under the impression that their automobile, homeowners' credit card and medical policies are so "extensive" that they would automatically provide protection anywhere in the world. That is not necessarily true. You need to read the fine print. If you do not, and fail to take the additional coverage given by travel protection, then you may find out your insurance policies' limitation the hard way: when you are caught in an emergency, and spending a large amount of money (on top of the deductibles and co-payments) with the hope of compensation very far off. Travel protection is a sure guarantee of security. Now you can take your vacation with complete peace of mind – and is not that what vacations are about?