Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

If you’ve booked a trip somewhere, you may have wondered about travel insurance. Travel insurance can cover things like trip delays or cancellations, lost luggage, medical issues, etc — depending on the coverage you purchase and the restrictions in effect. But should you buy travel insurance? Is it worth it?

I’ve wondered the same things, and generally speaking my answer has been “it depends”. I usually end up buying it only if I feel that there’s both a better-than-average chance that I might use it and if I stand to potentially lose more money than I care to lose due to a problem with the trip.

That means I typically only buy travel insurance for trips to say, the Caribbean during hurricane season.

I may be buying it more often now though, since I’m 2 for 4 on my last few big trips for issues that probably would have been covered by travel insurance. When we went to Italy, our luggage took a detour and we didn’t see it again for 3 months after we returned home. When we went to Cozumel, there was a hurricane that could have delayed our return home if it had come just a little closer. Thankfully, it only stirred up the water immensely and had the locals prepping and the hotel issuing instructions. We did have travel insurance for that one, but didn’t need it.

However, we had a little adventure on the trip to New Zealand that we just got back from. Our return flight was canceled, and then rebooking was delayed by several days — all due to the ash plume from the volcano in Chile. I’m not complaining about the extra time in such a beautiful place by any means, but it did get pricey to pay for those extra hotel days, meals, and transportation. That said, we’re lucky that we decided to go to the North Island instead of the South Island, otherwise we’d have been in an earthquake during that same time period too!

The moral of the story for me? I’ll probably be buying travel insurance for most trips from here on out, if only to stave off Murphy. I’ll be happy if I never have to use it. I’ll also be checking to see if the credit card I booked our airline tickets on happens to offer it as a benefit.

What about you? What’s your take on travel insurance?

P.S. If you want to see some gratuitous shots from our New Zealand trip, head over to my Facebook page. Why not become a fan while you’re at it if you haven’t already?


  • I have mixed feelings about travel insurance. I bought it twice, one trip I returned home due to illness. It paid my final day hotel room. Another trip my wife lost a camera lens and we were out of luck because we did not file a police report. We were leaving Barcelona and there was no way to file one there without missing the plane. I have not bought the insurance since and no regrets. Maybe I was lucky!

  • We were sick in Thailand and I was so glad that we got travel insurance. I think it leads to peace of mind and is worth the money.