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Any time you travel, whether it's across the state or around the world, you should consider the benefits of travel insurance. This type of insurance will usually protect you from losing the money invested in your vacation if something unexpected happens and you have to cancel your trip or cut it short.

Like every other type of insurance, it's important to get the right coverage for your situation. It's common for travel policies to reimburse your expenses if you get admitted to the hospital or get in an accident prior to the trip. They'll even reimburse you your expenses if that happens to a travel companion or family member. However, some won't cover your expenses if your trip is cancelled due to illness from a pre-existing condition. Your best bet is to read the fine print and follow it up with questions to the company issuing the insurance policy.

Travelocity offers these general rules on what travel insurance policies should cover:

  • Trip cancellation and delay
  • Baggage loss and delay
  • Flights
  • Accident and sickness
  • Emergency evacuation (for travel abroad)

You should also find out if your regular health insurance provider covers doctor visits or medical emergencies outside of the country, if that's where you're traveling. If it does not, ask the travel insurance agent about the possibility of adding that type of coverage to your travel policy.

Do you always need travel insurance? Not necessarily. It just depends on the trip you're taking, how much it costs, and what you can reasonably afford to lose if the trip doesn't happen. You have to ask yourself whether paying the extra cost for insurance will be beneficial is something doesn't go as planned.

Finally, Travelocity offers the following tips for what to look for in a travel insurance company:

  • Use a reputable company with offices worldwide that will be around if you need to file a claim.
  • Look for a company with 24/7 customer assistance, especially if you're traveling to another time zone.
  • Jot down the 1-800 number and make sure you bring it with you on your trip.
  • Familiarize yourself with your home owner's insurance policy, car rental, and credit card policies (some may already offer coverage.)