Many travelers decide against purchasing travel insurance for their vacations. But what are the real risks if you decide against buying a policy? Let's look at some of the variables you should consider.
Why Travel Insurance?
The Association of British Insurers states that travel insurance helps approximately 4,300 people every day with myriad claims. Forking out bucks for medical expenses, lost baggage, canceled flights or stolen possessions can be a shock, but, you'll be stuck if you have to contend with such problems without a travel insurance policy in place.
The biggest demographic that tend to travel abroad without travel insurance are people between 15 and 24 years old, according to government data. Of those people, approximately 48 percent hit the road without travel insurance. Additionally, 78 percent said they wouldn't have the money to pay for large medical bills if they were hospitalized.
The same study by the Association of British Insurers found the average claim on medical insurance by foreign travelers was approximately $1,413. For someone who decides against a policy this can be very expensive. Additionally, in most countries medical centers will refuse to administer help unless the facility or hospital is paid up front.
Many airlines allow flyers to purchase flight insurance directly through them online. However, if you buy the right travel insurance plan it covers flight cancellations, too. If for instance, you are traveling to an airport that is more than 100 kilometers from your home and the flight gets postponed for more than 10 hours, you'll probably need to find alternative accommodations or seek extended parking services until the next flight is scheduled.
In European airports like Heathrow, Gatwick or even Manchester you'll find a variety of parking options, such as long stay, short stay, mid stay and valet options that fill a variety of needs. If you have a detailed insurance coverage, you will be able to claim the money back from your insurance provider for parking costs and hotel bookings.
Although airlines are winning the war against lost baggage, luggage unfortunately still gets "permanently separated" from travelers. Airlines mishandled a staggering 21.6 million bags in 2014, so risks are still very much a part of the industry regardless of improvements. Losing baggage can mean having to replace clothes, jewelry, technological devices and much more if you don't have an insurance plan.
The Bottom Line
The potential problems of not having travel insurance can develop into a costly and unpleasant tangle. And unless you want to run the risk of losing a substantial amount of money if something goes wrong, make a travel insurance policy that caters for your specific needs part of your travel-planning ritual. The average cost of a policy is anywhere from 4 percent to 10 percent, on average, of your total trip cost, according to travel insurance comparison website InsureMyTrip.com. That means a trip that you paid $5,000 for might cost between $250 and $500 to insure, for example.
About the author
Dean Lawton has lived in Manchester, England for more than 10 years after graduating from college. He has an insatiable love for traveling, especially venturing to South America where his wife is from. Away from traveling, Dean enjoys playing soccer and watching local bands at his nearby pub.