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What to know before you buy travel insurance


Summer is almost here, and with warmer months and vacations from school comes a swatch of new travel possibilities. Plus, many of us are itching to book a big trip to a destination far from home after two years of travel restrictions because of the pandemic.

Trips like these are expensive and often tricky to plan, but they’re an excellent way to see new places and experience new things. But, as we all know, unexpected issues come up, throwing wrenches into our carefully constructed travel plans. So, what happens if you cannot take a trip that you’ve planned and, more importantly, paid for?

Many people purchase travel insurance for this very reason. Like other types of insurance, it can protect you from financial losses if you can’t make your trip as planned. But it’s critical to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy travel insurance to ensure you’re getting what you need, are only paying for useful coverage and are protecting yourself from scams.

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a product designed to protect you against financial losses that could stem from travel mishaps, whether it’s an injury or property loss or an extreme weather event that keeps you from getting to your destination. It could even help you out in the case of a minor incident like losing a piece of luggage. 

What does travel insurance cover?

Like other types of insurance, travel insurance varies by policy and provider. Always read the documentation carefully (including the fine print) to ensure that you’re getting a policy covering the kinds of things you need. These policies can cover injuries, sicknesses, missing luggage or last-minute cancellations. There are some exceptions. For example, if you have a preexisting medical condition, you’ll need a policy with a specific waiver. Also, if you’re traveling to an area where there is political unrest, make sure the policy will protect you if there are related problems.

How much does travel insurance cost?

Travel insurance’s cost varies based on the price of the trip and the traveler’s age, with younger people paying a smaller percentage. Generally, the cost ranges from 3% to 10% of the trip cost.

Is it worth it?

Only you can decide if travel insurance is worth the investment. If you prepaid for the trip and cannot get refunds for airplane tickets, hotel reservations or other accommodations, getting travel insurance might be a sound way to ensure you don’t lose thousands of dollars in the event of an unforeseen complication that keeps the trip from happening. Also, suppose you’re planning a trip that includes some kind of physical activity or a potentially dangerous situation. In that case, travel insurance can help pay for medical needs that your regular health insurance doesn’t cover.

How do I get travel insurance?

If you’re using a credit card to book your trip, there’s a chance that some parts of the trip will already be covered. Check with your credit card provider to make sure. If you’re buying coverage beyond that, you can buy a policy from a travel agent or reservation site, a travel insurance company, or through the airline or hotel you’re booking.

Travel is incredible, but its planning and financial aspects can be stressful. Take your time and do your research to determine if travel insurance is right for you and your trip. Then, make sure you relax, have fun and travel safely!

Finances FYI is presented by 1st Security Bank.

At 1st Security Bank of Washington, we take a customized and personal approach to your financial well-being. We live in the communities we serve, so our branches offer tailored solutions to their communities. We believe relationships make the difference, and that sets 1st Security Bank apart.