When does it make sense to buy trip insurance?

When does it make sense to buy trip insurance?
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Going on a cruise or tour? There’s an indispensable insurance policy you need before your adventure begins.

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Weighing the benefits of a travel insurance policy

Clark often gets asked this time of year about buying travel insurance if you’re traveling during hurricane season. His answer? Buying a policy can make a lot of sense no matter what time of year it is—if you know what your needs are and what to look for in a policy.

The general rule is if you are buying a tour or cruise where if you don’t show up you then lose all your money…well, then you want to insure against that possibility!

Travel insurance policies are designed to protect consumers with refunds in the event of illness to the traveler or immediate family member. They also provide a refund in the case of company, tour operator or airline default.

When it comes to the issue of weather, coverage will vary widely by policy issuer. Depending on the trip policy you buy, it may help you with weather or it may not.

‘You really have to survey the marketplace to see if your particular weather circumstance will be covered,’ Clark says. ‘A lot of the insurance policies offer false hope on that front. That’s why you have to read the policy before you buy it.’

One caveat: Always purchase a policy independent of the cruise, tour or vacation planner. Never purchase the trip protection plan from the trip organizer. They are designed to protect only the company and not the consumer. Furthermore, you should always pay deposits and final payments by a real credit card and never by debit card or check.

Finally, you should expect the policy you buy to cost about 5% of your trip’s total cost.

Clark recommends people check InsureMyTrip.com for a policy quote. Be sure to pay special attention to any exclusions!

Read more: 5 things to know when it looks like weather might change your travel plans

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