Shortcut Navigation:

I'm going on a cruise--do I need to purchase travel insurance?

It depends. The decision to purchase travel insurance really comes down to whether the financial benefit outweighs the cost of the policy premium. For example, if you had to cancel your trip, could you afford to lose the money you paid for the trip? If not, a travel insurance policy might be right for you. You can purchase travel insurance from a travel agency, tour operator, cruise line, car rental company, or directly from an insurance company. There are a number of different types of travel insurance, and the type of coverage offered, policy terms, and cost will vary.

The most common type of travel insurance policies are those that offer trip cancellation/trip interruption coverage. This type of coverage will reimburse you if you have to cancel your travel plans before you leave or cut your trip short due to an unforeseen event. Covered contingencies can include anything from a hurricane to your cruise line operator going out of business. Other types of coverage that are marketed to travelers include baggage protection, which provides 24-hour protection for your belongings, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance (AD&D), which compensates you if you lose a limb or eye or compensates your beneficiary(ies) if you die in an accident. Keep in mind that before you purchase travel insurance, you'll want to make sure that you don't already have other types of insurance that offer duplicate forms of coverage. For example, your homeowners policy may cover your belongings if they are lost or stolen while you are traveling, or your life insurance policy may provide coverage for accidental death and dismemberment.

Finally, whenever you travel, you should make sure that you'll be adequately covered by your health insurance policy. If you aren't covered or if the coverage provided is limited, you should consider purchasing a temporary health insurance policy. These policies pick up where your current health insurance coverage leaves off and provide coverage if you are hurt, injured in an accident, or get sick while you are traveling. They can even provide coverage for medical evacuations--something that is especially important if you are traveling outside of the United States.