When, What, and Why to Buy Travel Insurance

By Dan Drennen, Director, Travel

  • Originally published November 29, 2010 , last updated December 30, 2015
When, What, and Why to Buy Travel Insurance

As the director of Senior Market Sales' travel insurance division, I thought I would give you a glimpse into why I bought travel insurance this week.

I paid $1,330 for two roundtrip Delta tickets to the Bahamas in February. Yeah, that seemed a little pricey to me too, but what the heck, we're in Omaha and you "just can't get there from here" I guess. During the purchase process Delta offered me travel insurance for $70 to cover both tickets.

The decision to purchase a travel protection plan largely depends on your risk tolerance. I simply reviewed my personal extenuating circumstances. What could possibly affect this planned trip? I came to the conclusion that I would prefer to transfer the risk.

However, I declined the insurance Delta was offering, as I wanted a policy that would be the primary payer if there were any medical claims incurred during the trip. With a primary payer plan I wouldn't have to submit claims to my own health insurance provider first, then wait for the EOB, and send the remainder of the claim (what my insurance didn't cover) to the travel insurance company. 

Another factor that should be taken into account is your health and your age. My doctor tells me I'm in pretty good shape. Well, Jim Fixx's doctor told him that too. Fixx was 52 when he died. I'm 54. Another reason I decided to transfer the risk. 

But my main reason for purchasing a trip protection plan is the possibility of an unforeseen event that would cause cancellation of the trip. My mom is in a nursing home and you just never know how that's going to go, so I purchased my insurance plan a few minutes after I bought the plane tickets.