I recently had a good friend contact me who is headed out on a trip. She wanted to know what I knew about travel insurance and what I would recommend. Quite honestly, I was little ashamed to admit that I knew very little about it. My current health insurance covers me while I am abroad, but many companies do not. I decided to take a look into some of the pros and cons of travel insurance for Generation-Y travelers and whether it’s something we really need (especially if we are operating on a budget).
Travel insurance does not just cover medical expenses.
Depending on the package you use, travel insurance can cover a lot more than just if you happen to have an emergency abroad. It can also include flight cancellations because of illness or personal problem, and you can almost completely recoup the cost depending on how much you’ve paid initially for the service. If you are working a full time job, a family member is ailing, or for any other major reason you might have to cancel at the last moment, travel insurance can be invaluable.
It also covers lost or stolen baggage. While this might not mean a ton to Generation-Y travelers (I know I could care less if someone stole my bag of dirty laundry and smelly shoes at this point), it can mean something if you are transporting something valuable.
Some credit cards include travel insurance.
If you aren’t into buying a full amount of travel insurance, there are some other options. Credit cards actually have some great reimbursement rates. Chase Sapphire, for example, will reimburse up to $10,000 if you have booked your trip with your Chase card. However, cards don’t tend to cover any health insurance—so if you are worried about that, you might want to pay the extra and invest if your health insurance doesn’t cover you while abroad.
What’s a reasonable rate?
When looking around, I found that most companies charge around 5% of the total trip cost. So if you spend a few thousand dollars, it really only ends up being a few hundred more. However, most Generation-Y travelers might not be willing to lay down the money (let’s be real, we can spend that on another few nights at a hostel or cheap hotel).
In my personal opinion, if you can afford it, it doesn’t hurt. If you can’t, it’s okay to go without. Before you head to your next location, though, make sure that you check to see if your health insurance covers you while you are away and if you are heading to a place with socialized medicine—you might end up spending very little or even nothing at all if you need to head to the doctor.