THE BLOG
08/07/2014 10:29 am ET Updated Oct 01, 2014

Travel Insurance: Do You Really Need It?

Travel insurance is definitely not the most exciting topic. It's also not the easiest thing to look into. But, because so many of you have asked me about it, I have decided to do the dirty work for you.

It all comes down to what will give you the most peace of mind. How bad are the consequences if something does happen and you don't have insurance? Here's what you need to know:

Travel insurance breaks down into five main categories:

1. Flight Cancellation/Interruption

2. Medical Insurance

3. Medical Evacuation Insurance

4. Luggage Insurance

5. Flight Insurance

Today, we are going to focus on the three main categories.

Medical Insurance

If you already have medical insurance at home, this is the ideal place to start looking. Some policies will cover you for travel within your home country, but not abroad. Other policies will cover you abroad, but will be limited to certain providers.

For example, there might be plenty of providers that cover you in London, but not many in Timbuktu.

Pro Tip: Ask your provider for a list of affiliates in your destination.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are going skiing, trekking or something prone to accidents in a remote destination, medical evacuation insurance is your best option.

This type of insurance will only cover costs of transporting you from wherever you are to the hospital. Some policies will get you to the nearest local hospital, while other policies offer to take you back home to the hospital of your choice. Of course, the variant here is the price. You will have to weigh your options depending on your needs.

Pro Tip: Rates go up for every decade over 50. This means that insuring your parents on a cruise will differ significantly from insuring your teenager on Spring Break.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

This type of insurance reimburses you for prepaid and/or non-refundable flights, hotel bookings or tours.

Sounds great doesn't it?

Don't be fooled! First, make sure you understand the difference between a cancellation and an interruption. Both terms have different limitations.

This type of insurance can only kick in when major events occur. This includes tsunamis, terrorist attacks, or the death of a family member.

Things to Watch Out For

1. Make sure that the airline or tour company you will be using is covered by your choice of insurance company and policy.

2. There is a "cancel for any reason" policy (CFAR). This option is much more expensive and will not pay you back 100%, but it is definitely worth looking into.

3. Keep all receipts with you! You may have to pay out of pocket and then submit the claims later.

4. No matter what policy you choose, always read the fine print. Sucks, I know, but this might save you a lot of trouble later.

How Much Does it Cost?

The million dollar question. Of course, the cost of your insurance will depend on both your provider and the policy you choose.

At www.squaremouth.com, you will be able to get direct and easy to follow information about all insurance options. They also give you a description for all those confusing insurance terms!

All you have to do is fill out you trip information and leave the rest up to them. You will be able to compare different insurance plans, policies and companies. Also, they give you the option to add something specific and a la carte.

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