Travel insurance best for medical emergencies, natural disasters

June 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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NEW YORK, June 28 (UPI) -- Half of U.S adults don't know what travel insurance covers, but those who do say the trip cancellation protection is the main reason they buy, a survey says.

The survey by, a travel news and advice website, found 37 percent of Americans said travel insurance was worth the cost, but only 21 percent purchased travel insurance. Seven percent said they always purchased travel insurance and 14 percent said they sometimes did.

Fifty-two percent of those who bought travel insurance said the trip cancellation protection was the main reason for their purchase, followed by 27 percent who said they bought the travel insurance for the medical coverage.

"Travel insurance can be extraordinarily helpful in certain situations, such as expensive trips to international destinations with limited access to medical care," Brian Kelly, founder of, said in a statement. "However, people need to know that travel insurance doesn't protect against all types of trip cancellations. It usually won't reimburse you if you simply change your mind and decide not to go on a trip.

A refundable plane ticket is a better choice if you might change your mind, Kelly advised.

"Travel insurance is intended more for unforeseen circumstances such as medical emergencies and natural disasters," Kelly said.

Kelly also recommended consumers check with their credit card issuers to find out which protections they already qualify for when using their cards for travel purchases.

"Many credit cards automatically offer various forms of protection such as emergency accident assistance, rental car insurance and more," Kelly said. "It's important to understand what is covered and what is not when deciding whether travel insurance is the right option."

The survey of 1,004 U.S. adults was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from June 6-9. The survey's margin of error was 3.7 percentage points.

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