"Do you want insurance?" When you buy a travel service, you're likely to get that question from an agent or see it near an online check box. And often it's a "gouge coming" alert: Lots of travel insurance is, in fact, either unnecessary or overpriced—or both. But certainly, there are times when travel insurance really is a good idea.
- Trip-cancellation insurance (TCI): You need it any time you have a prepayment that is larger than you can afford to walk away from if you unexpectedly have to cancel the trip.
- Trip-interruption insurance (TII, almost always bundled with TCI): You might need it if you're traveling someplace where having to return home unexpectedly would cost you a lot in extra fares and fees.
- Medical insurance: You probably need it if your regular health insurance doesn't cover you adequately when you're out of the United States. That includes everybody on Medicare plus many others.
But with any insurance, you have to worry about hidden gotchas that can leave you uncovered and unprepared. Insurance companies hire agents who are experts at figuring out reasons not to pay claims. So read on to find out the main trouble spots before you buy.