While booking an almost two-week vacation to the United Kingdom for Christmas and New Year, I was asked if I wanted to spend almost $100 on travel insurance.
They sure know how to make you feel like crap for not choosing it, too.
No, I do not want to purchase insurance to cover my $1300 trip.
(Not a direct quote, but it’s close enough.)
Like, okay, United, relax. You don’t have to give me the sassiest, most sarcastic option to decline your insurance. I’m sorry I don’t want to spend any extra $100 to protect my plane ticket.
I know, compared with $1300, an extra 100 doll hairs doesn’t seem so bad. However, to me, it is.
If I spent extra money on every plane ticket I buy, that could add up very quickly. I know, it’s better to be safe than sorry, but have you read what needs to happen to get a full refund?
You basically need to know someone who died, be dead yourself (or close to it), or get fired from your job to get a full refund.
You need the most extreme excuses to get all your money back. Sure, they’ll reimburse you for lost or stolen baggage up to a certain amount of money. And okay, they’ll pay up $25,000 for emergency transportation abroad. So what?
Maybe I’m naïve, or maybe I’m plain stupid, but I think it’s a waste of money for most trips.
I understand that things happen and people want some peace of mind when they’re going away, but that insurance adds up and may not even cover you the way you expect to be covered.
Here’s when I think it’s smart to buy travel insurance:
When you’re going abroad…
Plain and simple, not all insurance companies will cover you outside of your home country. Some might, so be sure to check your policy before you purchase another, unnecessary layer of insurance.
…for an extended period of time.
I know, it only takes one day, one hour, or even one moment for things to go wrong. You could be abroad for a weekend or a month, and it’s still possible for something to happen. The chances of needing it when you’re only gone for a week or two are slim. If you’re leaving for 3 weeks or more, take that insurance into consideration and see how your current healthcare plan covers you.
If you know you have a strong chance of not being able to follow through with your plans.
This sounds ridiculous at first read, but it happens! Sometimes people are looking for jobs in the midst of planning a trip. My sister purchased travel insurance for our vacation to Greece this August because there was a chance she would get hired as a police officer.
Turns out, she got the job! That’s fantastic in a lot of ways, but also means she’ll be in the academy while I’m soaking up the sun in Greece (sorry, Nicole). Because of her travel insurance, she’s able to get her money back for her flight. The crazy part? She needs several documents to prove she’s no longer able to go.
It’s just not that simple to get your money back, regardless of the circumstances.
If you’re hauling a mighty expensive collection of objects in your luggage.
Personally, I don’t think anything is truly that valuable. Things are things and can always be purchased again.
Fortunately for me, I don’t have many things that are worth all that much. I can go out and buy something I love again, because it’s likely $50 or less.
If you know you’ll be traveling with expensive, irreplaceable items, go ahead and consider purchasing the insurance. Your luggage will most likely not go missing or get stolen, but hey. Ya never really know.
My list is short—that’s easy to see. It’s short, because I don’t think travel insurance is worth it for your everyday Millennial looking to go on vacation.
They make it sound great, worth it, and necessary, but it’s not. Millions of people fly each day, but you don’t see the success stories of flights and trips going viral. You’ll only hear the horror stories. Don’t let them fool you into thinking every bag goes missing on connecting flights, or that you’ll need an emergency ride to the hospital while you’re away.
Here’s how I look at it: if I purchase travel insurance for every trip I go on, that’ll add up to the amount I’d pay for taking care of one freak accident.
Be smart with your money and be smart with travel insurance. If you reevaluate after declining it from the airline, you can always purchase it later.