Budget-minded travelers are often skilled bargain hunters and when they find a travel deal, they snap it up. It might be a quick last-minute weekend trip or a two-week vacation deal in Hawaii. Either way, when it comes to travel insurance, you don’t have to buy a lot to get a lot of coverage. Even the cheapest travel insurance can save you a whole lot of money if something goes wrong.
What are the risks of budget travel?
Some of the unexpected things that can go wrong on a budget trip include the following:
- You have to evacuate your destination – in some cases, budget travel deals to exotic locations can be found when trouble is brewing. That trouble could be in the form of a civil uprising, an impending hurricane, or other nuisances. The key to being safe on this type of trip to be sure you can leave without having to spend a lot more money.
- Your bargain street vendor lunch makes you severely ill – food poisoning, viruses, and unfamiliar bacteria are the plague of travelers, but they can also cause a very dangerous medical emergency. Medical care is expensive everywhere, and having medical coverage wherever you go is very affordable when you compare it against the potential risk.
- You’re suddenly informed that you have to work on a critical project and your trip will just have to wait – even budget travelers experience situations where a trip has to be cancelled. Don’t lose all your non refundable trip payments.
- You arrive safe and sound, but your bags don’t – baggage is mishandled by the airlines all the time, and if your bag is delayed, will that put a crimp in your trip? Will you have the extra funds to purchase the essentials while the airline works out what went wrong? And what if they determine your bag is gone forever?
- Your cheap flight is delayed due to a severe storm – while a flight delay on a long vacation is annoying enough, any delay on a shorter one can leave you with little time at your destination. If you’re stranded overnight, you’ll have to fork over additional funds for lodging or settle in to sleep at the airport. If the delay causes you to miss a connection and therefore miss a cruise departure, that could mean even more additional costs if you are to catch the ship.
- You are badly injured in a taxi accident far from the city and need to be evacuated – when you need emergency medical care, getting to an appropriate facility that can treat your condition is of the essence. This is also a very costly event, so being sure you have evacuation coverage is key to protecting you from financial losses.
What coverage do you need as a budget traveler?
While the following is not an exhaustive list of all the coverages available with travel insurance plans, it describes those that are most useful to budget-minded travelers.
- Medical coverage provides the funds you need if you are ill or injured on your trip. This coverage is essential to avoiding a high medical bill, plus the travel assistance services team can help you quickly locate local medical facilities. (Review the details of emergency medical coverage.)
- Trip cancellation coverage provides reimbursement for pre-paid non refundable trip costs when a trip has to be cancelled for a number of reasons. (Review the details of trip cancellation coverage.)
- Baggage delay coverage provides a certain amount of money to reimburse your purchase of travel essentials when your bag is delayed a certain number of hours. (Review the details of baggage delay coverage.)
- Baggage coverage provides a certain amount of money to reimburse your replacement of clothing and personal effects when your bag is lost, stolen, or destroyed. (Review the details of baggage coverage.)
- Travel delay coverage provides a certain amount of money to cover unexpected travel costs such as lodging, meals, transportation, and more if your travel is delayed a certain number of hours. (Review the details of travel delay coverage.)
- Missed connection coverage provides a number to call for help and a certain amount of money to cover unexpected travel costs to catch up to a cruise ship. (Review the details of missed connection coverage.)
- Medical evacuation coverage will arrange and pay for an emergency evacuation so you can reach the medical care you need. (Review the details of evacuation coverage.)
Who should buy cheap travel insurance?
Travelers like these should purchase cheap travel insurance:
- Singles and young couples on a budget. Even if cheap thrills are your cup of tea, it’s important not to endanger your finances. Having just a little travel insurance protection is crucial to coming home safe without a load of bills.
- Families traveling with children. Many travel insurance plans come with adequate coverage at affordable prices and kids are covered free. That’s a great cost savings for families on a budget.
- Students on scholarship or working their way through school. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and you’ve got a long way to go. Spending a few extra dollars will ensure that you don’t come home with a bill you can’t afford.
- Anyone for whom the trip costs are a stretch to their budget. When it’s hard to afford the trip costs, it can be hard to see the value in travel insurance until something happens on your trip and you are facing very high bills. Spending just a little more can protect you in the long run.
When should you buy your travel insurance?
Purchase your policy just after making your first trip payment. In some situations, this timing is important because some benefits:
- pre-existing medical condition waivers,
- ‘cancel for any reason’, and
- ‘cancel for work reasons’
are only applicable if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days (usually 10-15) from making your initial trip deposit. Plus, you’ll benefit from the longest period of cancellation coverage.
Remember that all travel insurance companies offer a free look period with a refund if you decide the plan is not what you need.