Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Asking “Is travel insurance worth my time or money?” is like asking whether or not it’s worth it to have peace of mind. The answer to that question seems simple, right? It seems like peace of mind would always be worth it.

The tricky thing is peace of mind comes at a cost and one that doesn’t always feel necessary. After all, when it comes to insurance coverage of any kind—home, travel, auto—the hope is that you’ll never need to use it. Which would mean that you’d end up paying upfront for nothing but reassurance. 

That said, when a situation arises in which you need to rely on insurance while traveling, you’ll be SO glad you have it. It can get you access to necessary care and services and save you a ton of money. Check out our database of travel insurance FAQs for more answers to your common travel insurance questions.

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Jumping Ahead

blue outline of arrow pointing right Three Pillars of Travel Insurance Coverage

Before we venture too far on this topic, let’s take a step back and briefly go over what travel insurance includes. Then you’ll have a better idea of the main benefits you’d potentially get if you purchase comprehensive travel insurance:

  • Travel Loss/Delay: Refunds costs associated with delays, if your baggage gets lost or stolen, or if you miss your cruise or tour departure.

Now that you know what sort of benefits come with the most comprehensive travel insurance insurance, let’s determine when it makes sense to purchase travel insurance and when it doesn’t.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Cost of Insurance vs. Travel Risk

The key consideration to asses if you really need travel insurance is the cost of comprehensive travel insurance offsetting the potential liability of things going wrong.

The cost of most travel insurance policies is 4-10% of your total trip cost –more affordable than you might think. However, it still is an extra cost to add to your travel budget, so it’s best to consider the likelihood of actually using the insurance. 

Potential Travel Hazards:

  • Medical Related Events: Is there a chance that you’ll get hurt or sick on your vacation, based on your health history or where you’re traveling to? Reminder: Not all US medical insurance policies provide international coverage.
  • Cancellation-Related Events: Are you worried about something causing you to cancel your trip or cut it short? Reminder: Most travel suppliers won’t provide a refund for last-minute cancellations.

We’ll get into greater detail about the situations in which your risk is very likely higher than average below, but these considerations will help you determine whether or not your risk level is high enough to warrant the insurance expense. 

“Without travel insurance, a last-minute cancellation could result in the loss of thousands of dollars from your trip cost,” says Terry Boynton, co-founder and president of Yonder Travel Insurance. “Additionally, if you require medical attention during your getaway, you could be left responsible for covering those expenses, potentially resulting in a significant financial burden.”

Want to know how much a travel insurance policy could cost you? Start by getting a quick quote, so you know what you’re looking at price-wise, and then start to refine your needs from there.

Then, think about it: Given my level of liability of actually using this insurance, am I willing to pay the price to have assistance while I travel? If the answer doesn’t feel simple enough yet, read on…

blue outline of arrow pointing right Reasons Travel Insurance Is Worth It

High Trip Costs

The most sought-after travel insurance benefit is usually trip cancellation coverage. We have a whole page that explains more of what this coverage is and why it’s important. For now, we want to stress the importance of protecting your travel investment. 

beach lounge chairs next to pool in a tropical ocean destination

Oftentimes, your travel expenses are subject to strict cancellation penalties or are nonrefundable if you choose to cancel. This means you won’t recoup those costs in the end. This is where travel insurance is worth it because it could refund the expenses you lose if you cancel for a covered event. For even greater flexibility, Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) offers the most lenient trip cancellation coverage on the market. 

No International Medical Insurance

Most medical insurance policies won’t provide coverage if you get hurt or sick outside the U.S. That means you’ll be liable to pay all bills you may incur if you get sick, injured, or are involved in an accident when visiting a foreign country. That doesn’t exactly provide comfort if you’re trying to stick to a budget. Instead, travel insurance could help compensate these medical bills or coordinate an evacuation.

If you’re traveling domestically, it’s likely your regular stateside insurance will cover you in the same way that it would when you’re at home if you find yourself in an emergency situation.

A medical evacuation alone could cost more than $50,000! Even if you decide not to insure your travel costs, it’s wise to buy a travel medical insurance plan. They’re relatively cheap and will save you so much trouble should you need emergency care or to leave your destination suddenly. 

Your Destination or Type of Trip

Whether or not you really need travel insurance also largely depends on your destination. The biggest distinction is between domestic and international travel insurance. 

With a domestic journey, your travel insurance will be secondary to your medical insurance. In terms of domestic flights, they are still subject to delays and cancellations.

For international travel, you have to determine the uncertainty of the area you’re traveling to. Is that country experiencing high travel advisory levels? Are reliable modes of transportation included for all legs of your journey? If you’re traveling to an area that is experiencing political–or any other kind of–turmoil, the need for travel insurance increases even further.

The type of trip you take also determines the need to purchase a travel insurance policy. If you get a thrill out of adventure travel, that may mean more hazardous activities scheduled in your itinerary. On another hand, if you’re traveling with a family, it’s more likely someone could get sick or injured and require you to take care of them. If you’re taking a cruise, you have to make sure you actually get on the ship at the right time or you (literally!) miss the boat.

“Yonder has curated the travel insurance plan it offers for certain types of travel,” says Boynton. “That way, you can get the benefits you need that cover your top concerns.”

blue outline of arrow pointing right When You May Not Need Travel Insurance

Although we always encourage travel insurance, there might be times when it doesn’t always make the most sense. Here are a few reasons why travel insurance may not be needed:

  • If you already have domestic and international medical coverage
  • If you plan on self-insuring your travel cost
  • You’re taking a road trip without any other tour, hotel, or ticket costs
  • If all your trip costs are fully refundable with no penalties

Essentially, if the danger is low for incurring extra costs or your travels won’t take you far away, you may not need travel insurance. Additionally, if you want some extra assurance, our friendly humans can walk through any questions you have so you have full confidence.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Where to Buy Travel Insurance

If you choose to look more into travel insurance, we recommend using a comparison site like Yonder Travel Insurance. You can compare multiple comprehensive policies from the top travel insurance companies and even use filters to make sure your coverage has specific benefits. No need to waste time going from site to site when you can do all your searching in one place.

Still confused about when you need travel insurance and when you don’t? Let’s talk! That’s what we’re here for. Here’s how to connect with us.

Kate's authoritative voice in travel writing is backed by years of extensive travel experience, allowing her to infuse her writing with the tips and tricks she has gathered over time. This wealth of experience enhances her ability to write authoritatively on travel-related topics.

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