Is Travel Insurance Worth It? Our Expert Weighs In.

falling off a surfboard is travel insurance worth it?
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You’re ready for adventure and now it’s time to prepare! Traveling is one of the greatest joys in life, but the associated costs can be a big financial risk if something goes wrong. That’s where travel insurance comes in.

Never purchased travel insurance before? No problem, we’ve got you! We’re breaking it down with Explorer Chick’s travel insurance expert Amy Mixell and talking all things travel protection so you can live your best life with total peace of mind.

Don’t hit commit on your next adventure before making an informed decision about protecting your trip!

Why Buying Travel Insurance Is Worth it (In Many Cases)

travel insurance for hiking trips

Buying travel insurance to protect your next trip can be a huge help in recouping costs if you have to cancel your trip or run into any nightmares in your travel plans. Trip insurance can also help cover unexpected travel expenses if you experience trip interruption, like a medical emergency or lost baggage, so it’s absolutely worth the additional cost.

The general rule for travel bookings is that they mean it when they say non-refundable, and no amount of begging or tears will guarantee your money back if you have to cancel. That’s why even cheap flights and hotel bookings are worth protecting! File a claim for any covered reason and money that you would have otherwise lost will be coming back to you.

Think about it — the cost of traveling is an investment in experience, and making the choice to purchase travel insurance is a seriously smart way to protect your investment.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

traveling hiking insurance coverage

Travel insurance can cover the types of mishaps that lead to trip cancellation or interruptions with your itinerary. Coverage depends on both the plan and the travel insurance company, so we can’t stress enough how important it is to read the details of your policy before buying insurance. 

You can choose to cover an individual or a family for just one trip or for a whole year’s worth. We at Explorer Chick love World Nomads because of their awesome travel insurance policies specifically for independent and adventurous travelers!

What Travel Insurance Covers If You Have to Cancel Your Trip

If you need to call the whole SHE-bang off (massive bummer), here’s when most trip insurances will help you get that money back:

  • Illness or injury before your trip
  • Medical emergency
  • Family member death or illness

What Travel Insurance Covers On Your Trip

If you’re having mid-trip issues, you can check these financial stressors off your worry list:

  • Lost bags or delayed baggage
  • Stolen or damaged gear
  • Overseas dental and medical care
  • Emergency evacuation
  • Assault or terrorist event
join the fun cta

Evacuation insurance is important for travelers who love to seek stoke and it’s an essential add-on if you’re planning to adventure in the backcountry

Explorer Chick’s travel insurance specialist Amy Mixell says this comes into play most often when travelers experience things like altitude sickness.

“The biggest claim we see is someone getting injured and it causing them to miss part of their itinerary.” says Amy. The financial protection of travel insurance means you’ll only have to pay for what you participate in.

What Is Already Covered by Airlines, Credit Cards, and Other Insurances

Credit card insurance coverage for travel varies. Many companies will include some level of purchase insurance in their annual fee, but most of the time this coverage is pretty minimal unless you buy travel insurance additionally. Always read the fine print!

It’s rare to have medical coverage from credit card companies, so if you don’t have your own health coverage then it’s wise to buy travel insurance that includes emergency medical care.

If you have concerns about what’s covered, purchasing a travel insurance policy is the best way to ensure you’re protected against major travel mishaps.

How to Decide if You Need Travel Insurance

When Is Travel Insurance NOT Necessary?

For short adventures or international travel, trip insurance is our best advice across the board unless:

  • You already have coverage with another insurance
  • Your adventure comes with trip cancellation
  • The destination is less than 100 miles away from home (not covered)
  • Your adventures are refundable

Amy says, “Small trips are totally worth protecting. Even if you’re not flying, there’s always the chance of a car accident or gear damage that” travel insurance can cover.

What Are the Disadvantages of Travel Insurance?

It’s easy to look back after a trip that went off without a hitch and ask yourself, is travel insurance worth it? But the disadvantages to protecting your trip are actually fairly few:

  • Upfront payment
  • Tedious claim process
  • Waiting for claims to go through
  • No “Cancel for any reason” coverage

The cost of travel insurance can feel like a lot on top of paying for a trip, especially if you have a good track record for travel.

“Sometimes claims can take weeks,” says Amy, “but Explorer Chick can assist with documentation and provide things like a letter of support to help with the process.”

Know that most travel insurance companies won’t cover trip cancellation for any reason, so changing your mind or fear of travel won’t be covered.

How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?

You can insure most trips for around 10% of the non-refundable trip cost, but the fine print depends on which travel insurance plan you choose. 

World Nomads’ plans cover up to $10,000 for unexpected trip cancellation, $100,000 for emergency medical insurance, and $500,000 for emergency evacuation. Yeah—we’d say it’s definitely worth the money to protect yourself from costs like that! 

If you do have to file a claim for your trip, expect to pay anywhere from $60-100 as a deductible and prepare yourself for a bit of a wait.

What’s the Deal with Covid and Travel Insurance?

Medical emergencies are never part of your travel plans, but it’s important to know the details of your personal health insurance plan. Systems can vary greatly from country to country, and your local plan might not cover medical expenses on international trips.World Nomads has plans that add in more than medical, with coverage for expenses related to COVID-19 if you’re unable to travel or experience unexpected illness while traveling. If you’re traveling abroad and can’t return home, filing a claim will help with costs like hospital stays, medical bills, and extra hotel nights if you have to quarantine.

Meet the Writer

April Brightman

April is an adventure lover and freelance writer based in New England, with a passion for public lands, wild places, and all things outdoors. She loves camping in any form and spends as many weekends as she can hiking New Hampshire’s highest peaks, or road-tripping with her sweet dog Marley. If not in the mountains, you can find her planning her next expedition or caring for one of her far-too-many-houseplants.

Favorite outdoor adventure: National Parks Hiking and Road Trips!

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