When Travel Insurance is Worth it, and Why

Aerial photo from plane window by Connor Jalbert via Unsplash.

Ever spent hours on the phone with an airline, seeking compensation for a canceled flight? 

The (often literal!) headache,  the struggle to speak kindly despite your rising frustration,  the tinny hold music… If that sounds familiar, then you’ve been through a situation where you could’ve been covered by travel insurance. 

And that’s just one common example!

At The Travel Yogi, we’re here to help you find adventure,  joy,  awe and connection through travel – so we totally get that worst-case-scenario thinking isn’t your jam.

That’s why we swear by travel insurance. We’ve seen it protect our team and adventurers alike from all sorts of unforeseen events – from finger injuries to lost bags to global pandemics! 

The best part? A small investment of time and funds upfront will earn you peace of mind from the moment you enroll in travel insurance until you return safely home. 

(So you can get back to planning your adventure to France, Fiji, Sicily, Colombia or wherever you’re off to next!)

First order of business: understanding the basics of travel insurance. That’s why we’re breaking down what travel insurance covers and why it’s helpful, when it’s worth it, and a few situations when it’s not. 

What Travel Insurance Covers

Travel insurance is a type of insurance designed to protect you from unforeseen events that result in financial loss during travel.

While certain credit cards have travel insurance benefits (now’s a great time to check that fine print), most travel insurance policies are one-time purchases you make out-of-pocket for a specific trip. 

Just like any insurance, travel insurance plans vary by the level of coverage and all sorts of details that are unique to you. So, your age,  destination,  trip length and planned activities all impact your options (and the cost of the premium).

Types of Travel Insurance

There are many types of travel insurance – usually, you’ll find these listed as benefits under a comprehensive policy. Primary categories of travel insurance (that you should consider!) include:

  • Trip cancellation insurance: This is pre-departure insurance. This type of travel insurance covers pre-paid travel expenses in case of unforeseen events that occur before the trip.
  • Trip interruption insurance: The post-departure counterpart to cancellation insurance. If an unforeseen event causes you to miss part of your trip or need to return home early, you’re covered by trip interruption insurance.
  • Trip cancellation for any reason (CFAR): The last two benefits we discussed require a specific, covered reason. These are usually pretty extensive: medical emergencies, natural disasters, loss of a loved one – you get the idea. But if you want the flexibility to cancel for any reason at all, certain insurance companies offer CFAR as an add-on. Take note, though – this one gets pricey!
  • Travel medical insurance: Coverage for unforeseen medical treatment while abroad. Most likely, your US-based health insurance has limited coverage overseas, so this coverage will reimburse additional expenses.
  • Medical evacuation coverage: In extreme medical emergencies, this type of travel insurance covers the costs of transporting you to your home country for care.

How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?

For US citizens, the average cost of travel insurance is between 4 and 8% of your total trip cost, according to the US Travel Insurance Association

To be safe, budget for 10% of your trip cost – the insurance premium will almost certainly be less than that, and you’ll get a pleasant surprise instead of sticker shock! 

So if your trip costs $6000, set aside $600 for insurance. You’ll probably end up paying less.

When Travel Insurance Isn’t Necessary

Now, a quick caveat. Our frame of reference is action-packed, far-flung Yoga Adventures. For these trips, travel insurance is essential (more on why in a moment). 

But are we going to claim that you should take out an insurance policy for every trip? Definitely not. 

Say you’re taking a weekend road trip to visit your cousin who lives out of state. Travel insurance isn’t worth it for this trip, which is:

  • Domestic, so your normal health insurance will work.
  • Short in duration and distance.
  • Cheap, because it’s free to sleep on your cousin’s bumpy guest mattress and you haven’t booked any special tours or excursions.
  • Air-travel-free, and you have (we hope!) car insurance to cover your journey.

Even trips that are somewhat more involved than this might not require travel insurance. Ultimately, it comes down to a personal assessment of risk. 

You also don’t need travel insurance for business travel (or any trip that’s being paid for by someone else!)

When Travel Insurance Is Necessary

When you book a Yoga Adventure (or any kind of similar travel, for that matter) travel insurance is a must! The Travel Yogi team always has policies for our travels, and we highly recommend them for all our adventurers. Yes, even you!

In simple terms, travel insurance is worth it for trips (like ours!) that are:

  • International: From Bhutan to Kenya to Peru, we adventure in countries all across the globe. Flights are long and usually involve a connection – meaning there’s a greater chance of delays, cancellations, or misplaced baggage. Plus, your home health insurance won’t do you much good abroad if you’re based in the US.
  • Remote: Some destinations take you truly off the grid. (We’re looking at you, Arctic Yoga Adventure!). In spots like these, unforeseen medical transport costs could be astronomical without the help of insurance.
  • Adventurous: Whether you’re paddling in class-three Patagonian rapids or too lost in thought to watch your step as you admire ancient Cambodian ruins, adventure comes with inherent risk. Even a small wound or sprain could be costly to treat out-of-pocket! 
  • Activity-packed: Our itineraries are full of pre-booked activities and excursions every day. In the unlikely (and super-unfortunate) event that you have to leave early or miss your trip, travel insurance can compensate you for all that missed value.
  • Long: Our adventures are a week, minimum, of immersive experiential travel. They’re a big investment of your funds and time, not to mention bucket-list trips you’ve been dreaming of for months or years! Covering your trip protects your investment, and sets you up to plan many future adventures. 

How To Pick the Best Travel Insurance Plan

Now’s the tough part: shopping for insurance can be confronting, especially a new type of insurance! But it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips to find the best travel insurance plan. 

Follow a trusted travel insurance recommendation. 

In our years of guiding adventures all around the world, we’ve witnessed some awesome travel insurance experiences… and some less-than-stellar ones. 

We love and trust the coverage from Redpoint – their plans are comprehensive and affordable. Plus, we put our adventurers directly in touch with a company that knows our itineraries well! This way, you can relax knowing you’re paying for exactly the coverage you need. 

Have another company you’d rather use? No problem. Still, we highly recommend using a company you’re already comfortable with, or have heard glowing reviews from friends and family. 

Check your must-have coverage items. 

Above, we discussed some of the major categories of travel insurance. Trip cancellation, trip interruption, and travel medical insurance are common. But sometimes, smaller (but equally important!) areas of coverage are itemized separately. These include:

  • Trip delay insurance
  • Missed connection insurance
  • Baggage loss or delay insurance

Make sure you read the details of each category to see what’s included, and don’t hesitate to ask an insurance rep about anything you don’t see listed.

Compare premiums and coverage

As we mentioned earlier, you should expect to pay a premium between 4% and 8% of your total trip cost. And the coverage you get should be enough to actually cover the item in question!

In general, higher premiums give you better coverage. But if, say, you’re paying upwards of 8% of your total trip cost for travel insurance, but only 50% of the cost is covered under the trip cancellation policy? Well, you should probably find different coverage.

Adventure Well, With Peace of Mind

We love adventure, and we bet you do, too! But to immerse yourself in the present moment free of worry, you want to know that you’re protected from unpleasant surprises. Even if they’re unlikely, the peace of mind pays dividends. 

When you adventure with The Travel Yogi, we’ll always send you an insurance quote from our partners at Redpoint and always encourage you to get the best travel insurance plan for your unique circumstances.

And for everything travel insurance doesn’t cover – the knowledge that your activities are booked and your timeline planned; that you’re in the hands of amazing yoga teachers and local guides – that’s where we step in. 

So you can travel without worry,  dive into the experience and adventure well

[Explore Yoga Adventures]