Some travelers think that having basic health insurance is all they need to keep safe while away, but travel insurance will not just keep you secure, it can also protect your trip. Think of this: the cost of cancelled and missed flights, the inconvenience and expense caused by delay and the huge financial outlay of a whole package if a travel company goes bust. There also is the chance that you personally will have to cancel your trip, perhaps due to a death in the family or some other unforeseen event. You should cover yourself for that. After all, you never know, and that is exactly why insurance was invented.
It covers you for both errors on your part and errors on the part of others. Not everything is covered (those famous "Acts of God," for example), so check the small print. But now the real question, who should you get it from?
Jill Papworth, writing in the UK's The Guardian newspaper gives these great tips on how to buy the right insurance, her main advice being never, never, never buy insurance from airlines, travel agents or tour operators. Instead rely on private companies, such as InsureMyTrip.com, to compare numerous insurance sites to get you the best deal; its online and telephone agents will be able to give you unbiased help. LifeTips.com is another fantastic resource with a host of information, from the aforementioned Acts of God and travel insurance to advice on securing the services of a low-cost trip cancellation provider.
Also note, insurance coverage should also be upped depending on your locale and itinerary, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If you are going whitewater rafting in Nepal, then you should specifically mention this to your insurer, while if your trip is a week on Cape May, New Jersey relaxing on the beach, perhaps not. Yes, your daredevil vacation will put a few more dollars on your payment, but it will still be far cheaper than the considerable cost of an emergency evacuation helicopter.
Lastly look to see if you have some or full coverage from sources that might not be at first immediately obvious. I recently learned this for myself. I am a scuba diver, and I decided to purchase insurance from Divers Alert Network, more usually known as DAN. I mistakenly thought it was just there if you get into trouble diving, but upon further digging, I realized that it covers all medical emergencies. You might have a host of cards or memberships that either completely or partially cover you, just be sure to check.
Some credit cards may even cover your travels and health, with the general rule being the more powerful your credit card is, and probably the more it costs you to have it per year, the more coverage it will provide. If you do not have all the bells and whistles on your credit card, then you need to top up, so to speak.