Of all the items that most of us are willing to pay for, insurance tops the list of things we buy just so we don’t have to think about the kinds of unfortunate events we hope to avoid. Perhaps that is why so many of us neglect to stop the spinning wheels of our lives even for the minute or two that we should pause to give the subject the attention it deserves. And so it should come as no surprise that this turns out to be true most frequently when we are planning vacations.
For people who use travel agents, there may be a reminder, perhaps as a policy, or perhaps as a courtesy. But for the rest of us – the vast majority of us- who prefer to avoid middlemen and instead conduct our business matters solely on our laptops and smartphones, it is up to us to either read every bit of fine print that flashes on our screen or consider the matter of Trip Insurance on our own.
Every time we board an airplane or step aboard a cruise ship, chances are we are not to be automatically covered for the range of mishaps we ordinarily come to assume we are. In fact, once we go beyond our nation’s borders, the chances are quite high that we are not only without the coverage we typically take for granted, but even if we were, we may be in a place where the concern goes beyond monetary considerations.
Keep in mind that not every nation has the standard of medical care most of us come to expect at home, nor does every place in the world provide the same resources or access to the kind of goods and services that may be required to replace or repair items that have been lost, stolen, or damaged. And if they do, it is by no means a certainty that the price tag will be the same.
Have you ever noticed how much more many of your favorite toys cost in some European countries?
The first consideration is the determination of how frequently you travel. If you plan on taking multiple trips throughout the year, annual trip insurance is probably going to be the most economical approach. Rather than buying a whole new travel insurance plan for each trip, you can just purchase a single plan. (Shop around to see how many trips are covered by various plans as well as the maximum duration time permitted for each trip.)
Plans vary, so check to make sure that your trip travel insurance includes medical insurance as well as evacuation plans – yes, evacuation plans, as some regions of the world have more frequent and/or more severe natural climactic disasters than one’s native country, with floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, lightning, and tsunamis as likely as crossing paths with a drunk driver in one’s own country.
On a more optimistic note, most of us will return from our trips with fond memories or new business opportunities. Or we’ll have digital photos to last a lifetime. But as responsible adults, we accept the notion that it is better to be safe than sorry.
We also accept the reality that life is full of unforeseen events. Several years ago, a colleague of mine brought his eight-year-old daughter on a business trip from New York to London so she could see the castle she had always wanted to see. During his one and only important telephone call, his daughter managed to overflow the bathtub in one of England’s oldest and most expensive hotels. Had it not been for his travel insurance which, fortunately, happened to include liability insurance, both he and his daughter might still be living there today, washing dishes.