While travel insurance can be pricey, buying a policy is the best way to ensure you don’t lose money when a trip is canceled or interrupted.
Plans vary from carrier to carrier, but most offer coverage that kicks in if weather, illness or unforeseen events interrupt your travel plans or ruin them in some way.
If you’re looking for ways to save on this important coverage, it’s important to know what to consider as you look for a policy. It’s also crucial to know when travel insurance is a smart idea and when you may not even need a policy in the first place.
Consider these tips before you take steps to insure your next trip:
>> Use credit card coverage: Before you buy certain types of travel insurance, you might want to see if your credit card offers any coverage for free. Many rewards cards offer trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary auto rental coverage and baggage delay coverage (among other types of insurance) as a cardholder perk.
If your card doles out these benefits for free, there’s no reason to pay for them. Make sure to read your card’s terms and conditions to see what coverage, if any, is offered for free and if levels are adequate for your needs.
>> Shop around: While you can typically tack on travel insurance when you purchase airfare, a hotel stay or a travel package of any kind, these add-on policies aren’t always the best deal. Keep in mind that you can purchase your own travel insurance policy from a company like Allianz Travel Insurance or World Nomads.
Buying your own policy lets you tailor your coverage to your exact needs, and you can make sure you’re getting the best price by shopping around.
>> Buy an annual policy: While you can buy tailored travel insurance policies that cover the intricacies of individual trips, you can also purchase annual travel insurance policies. If you travel a lot, these policies are generally a good deal and a lot less expensive than buying travel insurance for each vacation you take.
>> Know which trips need to be insured: If you’re purchasing a trip that is refundable — meaning you’ll get your money back if you cancel — then you don’t need to buy travel insurance in the first place. Keep in mind that some hotel bookings and even flights can be refundable, making the value of travel insurance negligible at best.
>> Only buy coverage you need: Last but not least, make sure you’re only buying travel insurance to cover the components of your trip that need coverage. If you’re not renting a car, for example, you won’t need auto rental coverage. Further, you don’t need costly international travel insurance coverage if you’re taking a domestic trip.