By Josh Garskof
The website where I booked our family's vacation offers travel insurance. Do we need it?
These plans typically include provisions like cash for lost luggage and life insurance payouts if a plane goes down. Neither is worth the $60 to $200 per traveler cost, points out Birny Birnbaum, executive director of the Center for Economic Justice. The policies also include trip-cancellation coverage to reimburse losses if, say, an injury makes travel impossible. But if you've booked flights and hotels separately, most airlines will credit you for an unused ticket and hotels rarely penalize more than the cost of one night for cancellations. You may want trip-cancellation coverage if you've booked an expensive prepaid package, such as a cruise. Don't buy a one-size-fits-all policy from a travel-booking website or agent. Instead, comparison shop at specialty sites such as seven corners.com, insuremytrip.com or accessamerica.com. An aspect of these policies that you may want is health coverage in a foreign country. Check your regular health policy to see if that covers you. If not, contact the country's tourism board or U.S. embassy to find out whether government-funded health care covers visitors. No? Then get a policy.