Does Travel Insurance Ever Make Sense?

Review these scenarios to find out when to add extra protection to your trip

Does Travel Insurance Ever Make Sense?

As soon as you start planning a vacation, the pop-up insurance requests to “protect” your getaway begin in full force. Whether you’re booking a flight, reserving a hotel room, or putting a deposit on that cruise getaway, there’s a chance to tack on extra fees at every leg of your journey. But is it worth it? The short answer is: It depends. There are certainly times when travel insurance makes sense, but sometimes being overly cautious can lead to overpaying. Here’s how to decide if you need the extra protection—or if you can get by without it.

Scenario 1: You’re renting a car

Verdict: Skip it

While you might think this is exactly the time you’d want insurance (who wants to be on the hook for a fender bender?), odds are you’re already covered if you own a car and have insurance, have a credit card that provides rental insurance, or have a home/renter’s policy that includes it, too. Call your insurance provider or credit card company to double check that they’ve got your back. If you’re already covered, adding on another policy just for one trip often means you’re double paying.

Scenario 2: You’re traveling to a high-alert location

Verdict: Worth it

If you’re traveling to a city with a high risk that something may go wrong, it could be cost effective to tack on traveler’s insurance. For instance, if you’ve signed up for relief work in an area with a high crime rate, you may want to insure your belongings, such as cameras or laptops that are coming with you. When traveling abroad, emergency medical coverage can be a safe bet, too. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some travel policies don’t cover incidents in locations placed on high alert by the State Department.

Scenario 3: You’ve been saving for this trip for more than a year

Verdict: Worth it

If you’ve planned an epic getaway that is going to take a large bite out of your savings, travel insurance is probably a good idea. But how much do you need? And what kind? A site like can help you compare different packages to determine what makes sense based on what you have planned. You’re going to need different coverage if you’ve booked an adventure-filled trip (skydiving! safari!) compared to something more laid back.

Scenario 4: You can’t afford for your luggage to go missing

Verdict: Skip it

Need that suit or designer dress for a friend’s wedding? Sometimes packing light isn’t an option, but you don’t need extra coverage to feel secure. Airlines have to reimburse you (and some will even give you cash to go shopping) if they can’t locate your suitcase in time, and most credit cards cover lost or stolen luggage, too. Just make sure you book your flight with the credit card that gives you the best coverage on trips.

Scenario 5: You travel frequently

Verdict: Worth it

Statistically speaking, the more often you do something, the more likely something is to go wrong. If you often take short domestic trips, you probably can pass on insurance. But if you’re a frequent flier to locations all over the world, yearlong coverage (that you pay for once) may give you the most bang for your buck to cover everything from trip cancellations to medical emergencies.

Travel with confidence

Make sure you have the appropriate coverage, and the appropriate card. Take advantage of a Travel Rewards Credit Card and see the world your way.

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