Insurance Blog

Posted: 08/16/20223,716 Views

Many US residents only consider purchasing travel insurance when they plan to go to another country. Benefits such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, and emergency medical coverage are absolutely essential to protect your finances when traveling abroad.

But what about trips where you’re staying within the United States? Your domestic health insurance should take care of your healthcare needs in your own country; and are those other benefits really necessary? As it turns out, the answer is often yes. Let’s explore why travel insurance can be a smart investment, even for domestic trips in the USA.

Trip Cancellation Coverage

You’re just as likely to need to cancel a trip from New York to Los Angeles as you are to cancel a trip from New York to London. Doesn’t it make sense to have the same trip cancellation coverage?

Picture this: You’re getting ready to fly cross-country to visit family for the holidays, when you suddenly become extremely sick. You’ve already spent a lot of money on pre-paid travel expenses such as airfare and accommodations, and those charges are nonrefundable. With travel insurance coverage, you can be reimbursed for your prepaid, nonrefundable expenses if you cannot take your trip for a covered reason. If you don’t have coverage, you could end up paying for a vacation you’re never able to take.

Trip Interruption Coverage

Let’s picture another scenario: You’re visiting family over the holidays, when a sudden emergency pops up at home, and you need to return as soon as possible, well before the date of your return airline ticket. With trip interruption coverage, your travel insurance plan can reimburse you for the additional expenses you incur from purchasing tickets to return home early up to the insured trip cost, so long as the interruption is due to a covered reason. 

Airport Hassles

Most of us are aware of the issues plaguing the airline industry right now. Flight delays are commonplace, and they can result in significant unexpected expenses. If you have travel insurance with travel delay coverage and your flight is delayed beyond a certain duration as defined by the policy, the insurance can reimburse you for additional expenses such as hotels and meal costs, up to the specified limit.

What if your baggage is delayed or missing when you arrive at your destination? Baggage loss coverage or baggage delay coverage can reimburse you for necessary essentials. Just make sure you save your receipts for when you file a claim.

Medical Coverage

Don’t assume that your domestic health insurance will provide all the coverage you need just because you’re staying within the United States. If you have an HMO, you may not have coverage outside the area you live in, or you may not have access to your PPO network providers at your destination, meaning you’ll have to pay out-of-network rates. In either case, the emergency medical coverage offered by travel insurance can be valuable secondary medical insurance for unexpected injuries or illnesses. 

But What If I’m Driving Instead of Flying?

While no one can blame you for wanting to avoid the crowds and delays at airports that are expected this holiday season, travel insurance can also be valuable for road trips. If you’re renting a car and suddenly must cancel your trip for a covered reason, the trip cancellation benefit can reimburse you for your prepaid, nonrefundable expenses. And if the vehicle breaks down during the trip, the trip interruption benefit can help you cover the cost of accommodations, food, and other travel expenses while it is being repaired.

When is Travel Insurance Not Necessary for Domestic Trips?

Most travel insurance plans will not provide coverage if your trip is less than a certain distance. In some plans, the minimum distance may be 100 miles, or 150 or 200 miles in other plans. This distance is considered the straight-line distance from your home; not necessarily the route you plan to drive.

Generally, there would be little to insure on trips shorter than that. Since you are likely driving your own car, there aren’t going to be major pre-paid trip expenses, and you may be staying with family or friends. You’re also probably going to be within the coverage area of your domestic health insurance plan, and any issues with vehicle breakdowns can likely be handled through your auto insurance policy or a local roadside assistance service.

In other words, if you’re driving 70 miles to visit your mother for Thanksgiving, you don’t need travel insurance. However, if you’re flying a thousand miles to visit her, bringing a checked bag, renting a car, and maybe booking a hotel for some extra space, you should strongly consider all the benefits of a proper travel insurance policy for your domestic trip within the USA.

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