Most people only think of buying travel insurance when they're leaving home and flying overseas to an exotic foreign country without government sponsored medical care. However, if you're planning any trip that will take you out of the country, or even sometimes out of the state or province you live in, then you should look into buying insurance. This article will outline some of the types of insurance available to travelers, how to tell if you need it, and where to get it.
There are two types of insurance that you're going to want while you're traveling. The first is trip cancellation insurance, which will cover any fees associated with canceling or changing flights or hotel bookings because an emergency forced you to return to your home early. The other type is medical insurance, which covers any hospital or doctor's fees you might accumulate if you get hurt or fall ill while you're away from your own health care provider. Savvy travelers make sure they have both. A dual policy including both types of insurance is around $100 per adult for a two to three week vacation.
Before you buy medical insurance, however, you'll want to check into whether or not you need it. Canadians, for example, do not need to buy medical coverage if their road trip only takes them to different provinces within their country. Americans, meanwhile, have many different health plans. Some may be covered to go north to Haliburton cottages for a vacation for example, while others are not. Check with your provider. Any time you're leaving your home country you'll most likely need medical insurance.
You only need to buy trip cancellation insurance if your trip contains pre-bookings where you will be charged hefty fees for canceling inside of a certain time period. An example would be if you had purchased round trip flights to Shanghai. However, for most road trips, you will not need trip cancellation insurance. Generally only people whose vacations involve airline flights are at risk for generating heavy cancellation or postponement fees.
However, road trips have their own problems. Even if you're just driving a few hours out of town to the waterfront cottage rental, make sure that all drivers who will be operating the vehicle are insured. Guest drivers are covered under most policies, but if you're traveling with someone you live with who is not on your insurance and does not have their own, you could be held personally liable.
Automobile insurance is something you would usually use a broker for, but trip cancellation and medical insurance is often sold by travel agents and banks. Additionally, you can buy and compare plans online by visiting the websites of prominent insurance providers.
A few websites to get your travel insurance search under way: