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Do you need trip insurance for your vacation?

Is trip insurance necessary?
November 09, 2017

By Pam Leibfried

A friend of mine was planning a Caribbean vacation a couple of months back. We went out for lunch before her trip, just as this summer’s devastating hurricanes were bearing down on the islands. I asked her if she still planned on going, and she said that she and her husband were waiting to see if the resort where they had reservations would be damaged by the coming storms.

But she also said she wasn’t too worried about the impact of the weather on her trip because they had purchased trip insurance. They knew when they booked the dates that there was a risk of hurricanes, so they had insured the trip in case the worst happened.

Even though I don’t travel much now, I am planning on traveling more in the next couple of years. So I did some reading about insuring vacations. What does trip insurance cover? When is trip insurance worth the cost? And are there times when I should save some bucks and skip trip insurance altogether?

Trip insurance cost and coverage options

Trip insurance generally costs 5-10 percent of the cost of your trip, depending on the vendor and the coverage you select.

What the trip insurance covers varies by policy, so you need to do some research to decide which parts of your trip, if any, you are willing to gamble on. For example, my friend got trip cancellation coverage in case of a hurricane because her flight and hotel were expensive and she didn’t want to be out that amount of money. But she loves to shop and thinks of lost luggage as a message from on high that she should buy new clothes on a trip, so she never springs for lost luggage coverage.

Some of the most common trip insurance coverage options:

When you don’t need trip insurance

Most of my travels the past few years fit into the no-insurance-needed category. I’ve mostly taken weekend road trips to visit family in bordering states. If bad weather or illness had kept me from going on a trip, I would’ve actually saved money on gas. But even if you fly somewhere, you may not need to purchase trip insurance in some circumstances:


Pam Leibfried is a marketing content specialist whose love of words led to a writing and editing career. After a brief stint teaching English, she transitioned to corporate communications and spent 20 years at The Nielsen Company before joining Alliant’s content development team. Early in her work life, Pam’s friend Matt explained the benefits of a 401(k) and her dad encouraged her to start a Roth IRA. Their good counsel prompted her to prioritize retirement savings, which just might enable her to retire early so she can read more and live out the slogan on her fave T-shirt:  “I have a retirement plan: I plan on quilting.”