Many companies offer travel insurance at different price points. Naturally your tour operator will strongly recommend you purchase theirs, and I cynically think it’s for the sole purpose of gaining kick backs, rather than wanting to protect you from shady tour operators. Here’s how I decide whether to purchase travel insurance.
I take an objective look at our hotels, flights and tour. Reputable companies and safe locations are less risky for something to go awry. Next I consider pros/cons and ask myself a few logical questions:
- Is this company likely to file for bankruptcy?
- Is this location susceptible to natural disasters?
- What is the cost of this trip?
- Is the destination risky for terrorist activity?
- Worst case scenario, and there’s a huge problem, do I think the airline will help?
I know airlines have a horrible reputation right now, (and rightly so… charging for pillows, checked bags, seat allocation… sorry, I digress) but I usually weigh these factors.
When taking a ‘vanilla milk’ holiday (a nice lovely break… not exciting, not adventurous, just pleasant, predictable and delicious like vanilla milk!), I probably wouldn’t take out travel insurance.
However, when heading to a third world country, Asia, Africa or South America, AND there are multiple moving parts in the itinerary, there’s a higher probability things could go wrong. I then factor cost of the trip, dodgy airline, and sketchy tour guide (we seriously had a guide who stopped the car to pick fresh marijuana he saw growing on the side of the road), I usually can’t add the two or three hundred extra dollars to my trip fast enough!
Paying with a major credit card for your vacation usually gives you 100% protection in the cases of bankruptcy. However, ‘usually’ is the operative word here, and I’d still for a minimal cost, have that added protection. A tour operator for a recent trip filed for bankruptcy, and we didn’t even need to use the insurance policy we had purchased. Our credit card refunded 100% of the cost since we paid for services we didn’t receive.
For most trips we use Squaremouth insurance, who have a comparison engine on their website. You can search, compare, and purchase travel insurance from every major provider in the United States. We have found them to be extremely helpful and timely with claims, and I would highly recommend them.
So in a nutshell, my opinion on travel insurance is, do it for sure for the costly adventure holidays, but probably not worth the risk or expense for ‘vanilla milk’ trips!