Ask the CFP®: Should I Buy Travel Insurance?

Planning a trip is exciting, inspiring…and nerve-wracking. As you compare options, piece together the details, make deposits, and purchase tickets, the whirlwind of anticipation can quickly be derailed by “what ifs…”

What if one of us gets sick – before or during the trip?

What if a family emergency means we need to cancel our plans or return home quickly?

What if we need unexpected medical care while traveling?

And now we also know the realities of a pandemic or natural disaster to be a potential disruption.

When traveling internationally, these concerns are compounded by the logistics of finding a way home quickly if needed, and the amount of money invested months before the trip begins. To help manage these risks and the associated worries, many people turn to travel insurance.

There are many types of travel insurance to consider: comprehensive, International health, and travel assistance are three of the most popular.

Comprehensive travel insurance is the most common. These policies may cover you for things like cancellations, interruptions, hurricanes, medical emergencies, evacuations, and more. Lost, stolen, and delayed baggage may also be covered.

While this is helpful for cancelled plans or stolen possessions, a package deal often leaves one area of risk exposed: health insurance.

That’s where International Health Insurance comes in.

Check with your current health insurance carrier to understand coverage limitations for national and international travel BEFORE YOU GO – that’s extremely important. Even the best health insurance plans rarely extend beyond U.S. borders. And even if they do, benefits are often strictly limited to “Emergency Room Only” coverage. 

If you plan to travel abroad, you may want to consider acquiring temporary international health coverage. Ideally, this should include surgery, lab work, diagnostics, ambulance, emergency room, hospital stays, and doctor visits. Expenses can add up quickly if these services are not covered by your insurance package. Be aware that foreign hospitals often refuse to release patients until payment is received!

The cost of international health insurance can be surprisingly economical, and the peace of mind it provides is priceless.

Before selecting an international health insurance plan, check whether the coverage includes access to a large network, pre-existing conditions, prescriptions, and mental health services, as well as any coverage limitations that may apply to your specific destination.  Review any policy limitations, coverage exclusions, “acts of God” protection, customer support reviews, and what financial entity is actually providing the coverage. This can provide additional insight to make sure the policy you are considering really covers what you believe it does.

The third type of insurance to consider is travel assistance. Travel Assistance could include helicopter med-evacs, international security evacuations, and expedited travel from remote locations. These expenses can easily exceed $100,000, not to mention the significant stress of negotiating those situations. Travel assistance insurance usually includes a 24-hour hotline with specialists to help coordinate resources and arrangements during a crisis.

So, if you’re planning an international trip or even a significant domestic vacation, talk to your insurance advisor about coverage and options for purchasing the appropriate short-term travel policies.

If you have a question about this topic or a suggestion for a future video, please send it to Thanks for watching; we’ll see you next month.

© 2024 Advisory services offered by Moneta Group Investment Advisors, LLC, (“MGIA”) an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). MGIA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Moneta Group, LLC. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, is not intended to be comprehensive or exclusive, and is based on materials deemed reliable, but the accuracy of which has not been verified.

Trademarks and copyrights of materials referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Index returns reflect total return, assuming reinvestment of dividends and interest. The returns do not reflect the effect of taxes and/or fees that an investor would incur. Examples contained herein are for illustrative purposes only based on generic assumptions. Given the dynamic nature of the subject matter and the environment in which this communication was written, the information contained herein is subject to change. This is not an offer to sell or buy securities, nor does it represent any specific recommendation. You should consult with an appropriately credentialed professional before making any financial, investment, tax or legal decision. An index is an unmanaged portfolio of specified securities and does not reflect any initial or ongoing expenses nor can it be invested in directly. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. All investments are subject to a risk of loss. Diversification and strategic asset allocation do not assure profit or protect against loss in declining markets. These materials do not take into consideration your personal circumstances, financial or otherwise.

Additional articles