Let's Talk About Buying Travel Insurance, Shall We?

If you’re like us, you usually wave aside the online ticket agent’s offer to purchase travel insurance. However it could come in really handy and sometimes you’re going to want it. But if you do want to buy travel, when and how should you do it?

Luckily for all of us, travel writer Christopher Elliott is all over this topic on his blog.

The basics:

• Be wary of any policies under 4% of your total trip cost, and those more than 10% of it. Deals that are too good to be true might result in a difficult time making a claim, and expensive insurance prices should be researched so you know why you’re forking over so much dough.

• When to buy? The simple answer — You can buy insurance up until the day before you depart, but the sooner you buy the better. You know, just in case an airline goes belly up a day before you’re set to depart.

• Don’t take the first one you’re offered — shop around. Basically, there are a lot of different options so really think about what you are most likely to need and compare prices.

You also need to pick out the best option for you, from accidental death to a simple baggage insurance policy. For a full list of what to consider, check out the lengthy list at Elliott.org.

So you’ve decided on let’s say, employment layoff because you think hey, maybe you’ll get canned a few weeks before you planned a vacation and won’t be able to pay for it.

How do you go about purchasing insurance? There are three ways.

• Buy direct – there are companies like Access Americas, CSA Travel Protection and Travel Guard which sell right to the consumer, online.

• Get it through your travel company — this includes airlines, cruise lines, tour operators and more. Many of them sell optional insurance, but shop around first.

• Use an agent or third party — travel agents might offer a few choices, or compare other offers on sites like Squaremouth, Travel Insurance Review and Trip Insurance Store and InsureMyTrip.

How do I choose the right travel insurance policy? [Elliott.org]

When should I buy travel insurance and how much should I pay for it? [Elliott.org]