Travel insurance, worth it?

Is it worth buying travel insurance? My friend and I would like to know what is the best insurance to get? What should we look for in a plan? This will be our first time going out of the country. We are going to Europe (France, Italy, Greece). What is the difference between primary and secondary coverage? What does deductible mean? If we get insurance, then do we have to pay on it weekly, monthly? Or do we pay one time and that's it? Does anyone have any knowledge or experience on the subject? Please help! Thank you.

Posted by Tom
2876 posts

I'll assume you're talking about travel health coverage - although there are several other kinds of "travel" insurance. If you have two health insurance policies - for example the policy you have at home plus a travel health policy - the "primary" policy is the one which is obligated to pay first. A "secondary" policy may pay whatever's left over after the primary policy has paid its share. (If you have health insurance, you should of course check to see if it covers care rendered outside the US.) The "deductible" is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. The frequency of payments depends on the insurance company. Often, you the insured will have options on this. If you're asking about other kinds of coverage (such as trip cancellation), please specify.

Posted by Emlyn
East coast, USA
49 posts

What's the most basic travel insurance? I believe we want one the covers us if we are to get in an accident or something like that. Neither of us have our own insurance here in the US. We are just a couple of college students starting out.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8735 posts

Take a look at There, you can compare lots of different policies from lots of different companies, so that you can find just the right coverage without paying for something you don't need. Generally, you buy a travel policy and pay for it once. Since you don't have health insurance, I suggest you get some kind of medical insurance and medical evacuation insurance. If you have an accident and need a first class seat on the way back home in order to accomodate a cast, say, it could get very pricey.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
6030 posts

At minimum I would buy medical insurance and evacuation insurance. It doesn't matter how healthy you are. You can get sick or injured anywhere. I use to compare policies and choose the best one for me.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1759 posts

I'm always in a distinct minority in the conversations about travel insurance and to insure my minority status I will say that neither me or my wife have ever bought any kind of travel insurance. She is 67 and I will be 73 in a few weeks. I think if you are reasonably healthy and know how to watch where you step you will probably be okay. Of course you have to take sensible care of yourself too. As long as we will be able to travel I doubt we will ever deviate from our observations regarding insurance. I also believe we travel with a much lower threshold of paranoia than most other people.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
1122 posts

"I think if you are reasonably healthy and know how to watch where you step you will probably be okay. Of course you have to take sensible care of yourself too." I guess there's no need for auto, home, etc. insurance if you are careful. I buy insurance to cover potential catastrophic loses as sometimes I'm not 100% careful in all activities and others fall into that category as well.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
9478 posts

Megan since you don't have medical insurance at home I personally would not even consider travelling without some. I always get medical insurance and I always make sure it has evacution insurance included. A "deductible" is a portion you will pay yourself until insurance kicks in. So if you have a 200 dollar deductible that means if need care you will pay the first 200 dollars worth then the insurance will pay the rest of covered costs. This makes the insurance a bit cheaper since if you just have a little incident you will pay for it, but if you need some more major attention you are covered. Its a good compromise. I am very healthy, and always get health insurance ( i don't bother with cancellation or luggage insurance) and I absolutely know that many people who end up with big bills didn't plan on anything happening to them when they elected to pass on insurance. I don't know why, its pretty cheap, but its priceless if you need it. And as I said, without insurance at home you are really playing russian roulette.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
6030 posts

"I think if you are reasonably healthy and know how to watch where you step you will probably be okay. Of course you have to take sensible care of yourself too." Have you ever been in an accident that wasn't your fault? No matter how careful you are, stuff happens.

Posted by Tom
2876 posts

You may already be covered. If you and your friend are under age 26, it's very possible that you're both still covered under your parents' health insurance - even if you're no longer financially dependent on them or enrolled in school. Ask your parents. If you are still under their coverage, check and see if their insurance covers care outside the US. Most policies do cover emergency care when traveling, but check to be sure. It's definitely not smart to go uninsured. There are plenty of young, healthy, careful people who get things like acute appendicitis or a kidney stone or you name it, or who suffer accidental lacerations or bone fractures. You're very wise to be thinking about it before your trip.

Posted by Emlyn
East coast, USA
49 posts

Thank you everyone for helping me out on all my questions. I am firm believer in asking questions. I was never trying to start a riot or cause any harm. I guess you could say that I am a real young person who's just starting out, and I never had any guidance on major events such as this. My parents never had the money or opportunity to do something like this, and so they can't help me. I like how every single one of you are positive and wise! I appreciate the advice, I really do. I guess I just have to quit over thinking everything and live life. It's just that when I think of the world I feel so small compared to it. And, If I can't ever manage to go beyond the limits of my own home town, then I'll never go anywhere or do anything with my life, and I don't want that. I want to be brave, strong, and experience the world. I will stop posting from now on and just go with the flow. Thank you all for being so kind. You have really made this easier. I wish you all luck and joy for years to come!! Farewell.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Megan, if you stop posting I'll hunt you down like a rabid dog. Keep asking the questions.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
916 posts

My husband and I have always used American Express Travel Insurance. American Express suggests you call up for the policy about two weeks before departure. That is in time to receive your paper work and your I.D. cards. You pay monthly for as long as you want. Then when you return, you cancel it. It is very reasonably priced. While we were in Australia, six years ago, we had to visit two different doctors. We just sent in our receipts when we returned home. We were promptly reimbursed by American Express. Our Tauck Ireland tour, in 2012, included Insure My Trip and it was fine also.

Posted by Patty
Steilacoom, WA, USA
721 posts

Have you checked out STA(Student Travel A...)? My daughter used them when she traveled.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
5074 posts

Megan, Some good suggestions given here. I also say check with your parents' family coverage. When I went over the first time over 40 years ago, the issue of travel insurence never even entered my mind, most likely the same with my contemporary college backpackers. I know now I was under the company family plan where my father worked. Keep asking the questions, keep researching, planning the trip, so what if you start a riot.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
5298 posts

Megan left the building in a huff a few days ago.

Posted by Love to Travel
San Diego, CA
126 posts

hi there, I use World Nomads for my insurance. You pay for it all at once, they give you regular and extra quotes (usually for extreme activities like unfortunately hot air balloons). I think it really depends if you want to get it or not. Usually coverage is only a $100-150 depending on how long you're going. My first trip to Europe I didn't even think about it. Not until my 3rd or 4th trip. But that's because I was going for several weeks/months and had some unwell family members at home. I'm in good health, but you just don't know.

Posted by John
Blue Bell, PA, USA
57 posts

I used it once when i booked a cruise, never used it again, but I book hotels and flights myself rather than pay for a prepackaged tour which I think are ripoffs.
most hotels don't require anything or more than 1 night to reserve so if you have to change you can negotiate.

Posted by Debra
Lakesland, Nsw, Australia
3 posts

My niece works for Flight Centre In Australia and she says if you cant afford travel insurance you cant afford to travel. I am 50 and it cost me $400.00 for six weeks and thats approx $9.50 per day for the TOP cover i could buy. So for peace of mind if you look at it like that i would say its well worth it. Depending on your age and what you want covered it could be cheaper. I an from Australia so it may be different where you are

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1546 posts

The last few trips I have purchased Travel Guard trip insurance.