Hassle vs necessity: is travel insurance really worth the extra cost?


Travel insurance may seem like an unnecessary cost, but you’ll be wishing you had it when your flight gets cancelled. Source: Lloyd Dirks / Unsplash

YOU may chance it and head off on the trip of a lifetime without travel insurance, perhaps you enjoy taking risks, or maybe you simply don’t have the money to purchase travel insurance.

But the simple fact is, if you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel.

Fellow travelers may say, “Don’t worry about travel insurance, Southeast Asian medical bills aren’t that expensive” or maybe they lay the blame elsewhere with, “The airlines have to compensate you if they lose your bags” and try to convince you that “travel insurance companies tell you the worst stories to get you to buy insurance”.

That part is half true. Travel companies do tell you horror stories, but they’re simply trying to prevent you from having to fork out US$200,000 in medical bills.

Of course, nobody plans to seriously injure themselves while they’re away or only wear one set of clothes because their luggage disappeared in transit, but accidents do happen. And that’s exactly why travel insurance is a necessity, not a luxury.

Here are 5 ways travel insurance will get you out of a sticky situation:

Coming home early from a trip and then heading back out

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Some insurance policies will allow you to come home from a trip and then fly back out using the same policy. So if you’ve booked a six-month adventure but have to attend an emergency back home, you can do so in the comfort of knowing that the rest of your trip awaits you with full insurance coverage.

Medical emergencies

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If an emergency occurs while you’re a million miles away from home and you need urgent medical attention, you could be looking at around US$10,000 per day for treatment and if it’s a serious accident you’ll also incur the cost of emergency transportation.

But travel insurance will cover these costs for you so that you can focus on getting better. However, it is essential to check how much your insurance company is willing to cover and remember: the cheaper the policy, the more basic the cover.


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If your luggage and personal belongings are lost, stolen, or damaged while you’re away, the cost of replacing everything can be too much to bear. However, most insurance policies will cover the expenses of lost items, such as clothes, electronic devices and where possible, sentimental belongings too.

Sans coverage, you’ll be left to rebuild your wardrobe and iTunes collection without any financial help.

Disruptions or cancellations

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Most policies will cover you if you suddenly find you’re unable to go on your trip. Mishaps and accidents happen all the time without warning and can leave you devastated. The last thing you want to be worrying about at a time like that is how much money you’ve lost on flights and accommodation.

Again though, check the fine print on your documents and always buy the insurance as you book the tickets, not a week before your trip.