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I've Always Wondered How Travel Insurance Works And If Its Worth It — This Is What An Expert Had To Say

I don't want to get screwed, but I also don't want to screw myself over. Ya know?

I've pretty much dedicated the last six years of my life to travel, and I've never bought travel insurance. I've always seen it as an added (and unnecessary) expense.

But as I've cautiously started traveling again, the realities of COVID-19 have me rethinking things.

So I picked the brain of someone who's in the travel insurance biz to see if buying a policy is actually worth it.

1. Travel insurance usually covers the cost of your trip and any unforeseen hassles or expenses.

2. But ..."foreseen expenses" aren't always covered.

3. If this is all a little too wishy-washy and you want everything (or almost everything) covered, you should probably just buy the "cancel for any reason" add-on.

Screenshot of a cancel for any reason add-on

4. If you're worried about COVID-19, keep in mind that the pandemic is often categorized as "foreseen."

5. If something goes wrong before your trip, your travel insurance should refund you for what was prepaid and nonrefundable.

6. Just keep in mind that the refund process could take up to 14 days.

7. If something goes wrong while you're traveling, call your travel insurance provider before you pay anything — they might handle payment upfront (rather than reimbursing you after the fact).

8. Travel insurance typically costs around $120.

9. And around 30 percent of people who purchase it end up using it.

10. The best time to buy travel insurance is right after you start confirming and paying for your trip.

Screenshot of when the best time to buy travel insurance is

11. Buying a policy should be easy.

Screenshot of the battleface quoting process

12. Don't assume that your medical insurance (or health coverage) will cover you while you're traveling.

13. And don't assume that credit card insurance will cover you.

14. You should also be wary of the travel insurance policies that airlines push at you when you're booking your flight.

Woman in airport looking at her phone

15. Even if travel insurance saves you in the end, there are a few things that can make it a pain to deal with.

Screenshot of services offered by battleface

16. Your policy should always be tailored to you and your trip.

Screenshot of countries you can add to your policy

17. Travel insurance is really more of a must on big, expensive trips. But it all depends on your comfort level.

18. No matter what you decide, don't pay for a travel insurance policy before you understand what benefits (and what exclusions) you're signing up for.

Woman on her computer typing

Tip: It may help you in the long run if you take a day to understand your current medical insurance coverage and any travel coverage your credit cards offer.

What's been your experience with travel insurance? Have any tips to share?

And for more money tips and tricks, check out the rest of our personal finance posts.