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Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Vacation is so close you can almost taste it. The feeling of freedom in the air, the sun shining on your face, and the road trip tunes blasting from your car stereo. You’re ready to get out of town and you don’t care who knows it! But then you remember the last time you tried to take a vacation—back when COVID shut down the entire world and your trip was canceled with no warning. That sure sucked. You don’t want that to happen again if you can help it. So you wonder, Do I need travel insurance? If that’s you, then hop aboard. We’re about to get to that question and a whole lot more . . .

What Is Travel Insurance? 

Travel insurance is a lot like other insurances you use, except this one covers costs and losses from your travel (either throughout America or internationally). In a pre-COVID-19 world, people didn’t think about travel insurance too much—only 38% of people took it out back in 2018.1 But then COVID hit, and now everyone kind of wonders if the plug will be pulled on their vacation. And if it does, travel insurance will help you recoup the costs you put out.

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The main thing travel insurance covers is your trip being canceled or interrupted for some reason. But some options even cover things like lost baggage, medical expenses, damage to rental cars and paying your ransom (seriously)! They’ll basically handle everything for you like you’re in an action movie—except for coming to your aid to rescue you.

Do I Need Travel Insurance Before Going on Vacation? 

The short answer here is—no. You definitely don’t need to take out travel insurance every time before you head out of town on vacation. Normally, we’d say travel insurance falls into the gimmicky category. But if you’re worried about it, the best thing to do is check with your current coverage, see what you’ve got, and compare that to what you think your risk might be.

If you think there’s a high chance your trip could be derailed by sickness (hi, COVID) or even a location’s travel restrictions (hi again, COVID), then yeah, you might need it for this trip. But save yourself some money and don’t just grab travel insurance on a whim every single time you’re skipping town.

Let’s say your four-night vacation to another state is setting you back about $600. That’s a lot of money. But not nearly as much money as a 10-day trek through France costing $4,000. The higher the price of your vacation, the more likely you might need that travel insurance. But for a 600-buck trip in the states, you can probably just go without. If you just like the flexibility of being able to change your plans, then book a hotel that will let you cancel your reservation right up until the day of check-in.

If you do think your travel plans could change, then maybe you should rethink where you’re traveling to. Staying closer to home with a cheap vacation can be easier on your budget, your family’s mood and your sanity. It’s worth a shot to see what vacation spots are open and aren’t too far from your neck of the woods.

Should I Be Going On Vacation? 

Well, if you have to ask us, then maybe not. Okay, before we dive into things, we have to say this—if you’re looking into travel insurance, that means you’re getting ready to go on vacation. That’s awesome! Adventure awaits! But just be sure taking this vacation is the right thing to do for where you’re at on the Baby Steps. Don’t take a 10-day trip to Europe when you’re still paying off your student loan debt. Just don’t. Keep in mind what step you’re on before you get too excited about a possible a vacation.

What Is Travel Medical Insurance? 

Travel medical insurance is insurance that covers emergency medical issues that happen while you’re on vacation. And no—stubbing your toe on hotel room furniture in the middle of the night doesn’t count. But if you get a killer case of food poisoning after chowing down on all-you-can-eat sushi and are rushed to the ER, then travel medical insurance would have your back. Most of the time, travel medical insurance covers things like ambulance costs, emergency room visits, your hospital stay and other medical expenses like that.

It might not be the first thing you think of when making your vacation travel checklist, but having travel medical insurance might be worth looking into.

Do I Need Travel Medical Insurance? 

Your regular health insurance should cover you, but don’t just assume it will. Go ahead and check with your insurance provider before you book your trip. Find out what your normal medical health insurance covers as far as out-of-network costs and those kinds of things.

If you’re planning on traveling internationally, be sure to ask about how your insurance would cover those out-of-network costs at a hospital in a different country. If your current coverage isn’t good enough for your international trip, then you should look at travel medical insurance and decide if it’s best for your situation.

Do You Have the Right Amount of Insurance?

So, do you need travel insurance? That’s the question. When it all boils down to it, you need to do what’s best for you and your specific situation. And hey, we get it—trying to decipher your insurance coverage can be confusing. If you’re super lost and need some trusted help, contact one of our Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs). They’ll help you find the right insurance coverage that you need while finding you ways to save money on it too. The average person who uses an ELP ends up saving $700 on their insurance. Now that’s enough to go on a pretty swanky vacation.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.

Do You Have the Right Coverage? 

Do You Have the Right Coverage? 

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Do You Have the Right Coverage?  

Find out with our free 5-Minute Coverage Checkup!
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