Should Your Family Invest in Travel Insurance?

When should your family invest in travel insurance? If you’re a relatively new family, you may have never purchased family travel insurance. As a young traveler, you could’ve merely faced the odds, traveling without it, fingers crossed nothing will happen. However, once you have a kid in tow, you may think a little more cautiously about your travel risk.

While younger you could’ve just rolled with the punches, you with a toddler doesn’t quite fancy that experience. Thankfully, there’s travel insurance that can protect you from just about any bad thing that could happen on a vacation. Illness, natural disaster, theft, lost luggage and more — it’s all there. There are several different types of coverage you can choose from, though, including medical, trip cancellation, interruption, assistance, car rental and evacuation.

While you can purchase travel insurance right up until the day of your trip, many providers ask you make a purchase a few weeks in advance. In fact, the sooner you buy your insurance, the better protected you’ll be, for things like sudden cancellations (due to anything from your destination being hit by a hurricane to your family running out of money to your boss saying you can’t go) or pre-existing medical conditions.

But how do you know if a certain coverage plan is right for you? Even though none of us quite like to read the fine print, this is an occasion when you’d do well to do so. Read the fine print, the travel insurance plan certification, the policy exclusions, the coverage limits and the special exclusions. Know exactly what you’re getting and what you’re not getting. That way, you can tailor a plan to fit your needs. Also, keep in mind most travel insurance covering a “family” will include your spouses/domestic partners, parents and step-parents, children and step-children, siblings and grandparents or grandchildren, but you’ll want to verify, rather than assume.

There are certain things travel insurance won’t cover. Don’t expect it to work like your normal health insurance. You can’t just go see a doctor while you’re overseas for any old thing and expect your travel insurance to pay for it. Your travel insurance is primarily for emergencies only, not routine care. Likewise, travel insurance usually doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions and care you might need for them, and it doesn’t cover injuries that occur when you’re doing something generally unwise (such as drinking heavily or doing illegal drugs).

Also, unlike your normal health insurance, you won’t be paying a deductible when you show up at a foreign hospital. Instead, you’ll pay up front and then ask the insurance provider to pay their part after you’ve submitted the appropriate documentation.

So, should your family invest in travel insurance? Yes, always. While you might be tempted to risk it, travel insurance is one of those things you only really want when you desperately need it.