[The following is a guest post from Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. That’s where she writes about her bills, saving for the future, and making sure that they fit in fun stuff along the way.]
In our early 20’s, my husband and I never “splurged” on travel insurance…ever. We thought that we made plans and there was no way we’d ever need to change them.
At least we have been smart enough to learn a little since then…
When Travel Insurance Makes Sense
We didn’t actually jump on the travel insurance train until we signed up for our first cruise in 2009. A few months before we bought our tickets, our in-laws were stuck on a cruise of their own for 3 extra days thanks to a hurricane. We made a mental note that weather happens.
Then one of my husband’s grandparents had a mini-stroke just a few weeks later and ended up in the hospital for more than a week. My in-laws were there most of that time, but we all mentioned that it was lucky this didn’t happen before their cruise. My in-laws pointed out that they could have skipped the cruise and got a refund thanks to their travel insurance.
Hmmm, two indications that travel insurance would be a good idea. We paid the extra $25 per person to make sure that we’d be covered for a ton of what-ifs. Worth it to protect $1500 in cruise tickets. And although we ended up not using it, we’ve spent the $20-$40 insurance fee for every cruise since then too. We used the policies pointed out by our travel agent, but you can find travel insurance online at quite a few places like Bupa.
It Can Go Too Far
All of that said, you do need to weigh the benefits of the travel insurance with what it will cost. Also, remember to pay attention to what it covers.
Earlier this year, I bought a plane ticket to visit a blogging buddy. The travel insurance for the $250 ticket was $40, and the trip was just 3 weeks away, so I passed. A few days later, my friend let me know that he would have to leave the country unexpectedly. I called the airline and was told that it would cost $200 to change the flight. I was also told I should have bought a refundable ticket.
Well, let’s look at the options. First, I could have bought travel insurance, but it would not have helped in that specific situation. Or I could have bought a refundable ticket at $600 instead of $250, but that’s more expensive than just buying another ticket. Lastly, I could pay the $200 and change my ticket. That actually would have been my only logical choice if I decided to postpone my trip.
Instead, I just visited my friend’s family instead. It was a pretty good trip. Overall, travel insurance would not have helped me and the refundable option was illogical. So remember to think out your decisions when making backup plans.
Have you ever bought travel insurance? Ever needed to use it?