Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Great question!!! Hold that thought...I'm right in the middle of helping a client that DOESN'T have travel protection deal with an issue that will likely cost him quite a bit of money. It's always unfortunate. If you've never had to give up/lose/kiss goodbye some amount of money on travel, lucky you. Most of us have at minimum paid the exorbitant fee to change flights, right? Well, it can get worse than that.
So should you bother with travel protection, a.k.a. travel insurance? The answer is a resounding 'YES!!!!!', and an even louder 'ALWAYS!!!' And your response is a quizzical 'Why?'
Because the thousands of dollars you've worked hard for, then invested in a fabulous vacation are worth keeping secure. Most people are certain they are going to take their trip - it's paid for and booked, the time from work is approved, the dog-sitter scheduled; what could go keep you from making your getaway? Well, let me see...hurricane, blizzard, flood, sick child, sick parent, sick you, house fire, civil unrest, slip and fall, bankrupt tour operator...need I go on? These and other unplanned events can happen before your trip or after you've left home, causing you to cancel your plans; they can also occur not just at your home location, but at any time and place between leaving home and returning safely. You had no idea the government of that small vacation nation would be overthrown, but there you are.
Travel protection also covers things like, for example, the expense related to a delayed flight: you didn't arrive at your destination until a day later than scheduled, so who is going to reimburse you the cost of that missed day? Travel protection!
Sadly, many travelers think that that if having to cancel or miss some part of their trip is "not their fault" they will be reimbursed by the vendor (airline, hotel, tour, whatever); however this is NOT so. This is why travel insurance was invented.
Another misconception - health insurance will cover any illness or injury you experience. Again, not so! Most US health insurance will not cover you overseas or at sea, so you must pay out of pocket. In many countries, payment is required BEFORE service is rendered; or it may happen that they prohibit you from leaving the country until you settle the bill. The US Embassy will typically assist you in making a phone call home to get your expenses squared away, but they do not protect you from or help you pay your medical expenses.
Usually, the cost of the medical coverage included in your travel protection plan is age-related, and may be affected by pre-existing conditions. Your travel professional knows the best sources of travel insurance for your needs. Be open with them so that you get the best protection. Again, the cost to protect your investment is worth it.
If your travel pro does not offer you protection for your trip, fire 'em. Just sayin'. If you refuse to purchase the coverage, he or she will likely require you to sign a form to that effect. We have to C our A's too. That's our travel protection.
'til next week.