It’s no secret that I believe travel insurance is essential. It protects your investment before you ever leave home. It also covers those unanticipated medical mishaps (or worse) during your trip. And for the solo traveler? It’s not even up for discussion. You must have it.
Traveling alone is liberating. You get to choose where to go, when you want, and how long to spend at each attraction. Where, when, and what to eat. How much to spend. The list of benefits is long: Why Travel Solo? Here Are 7 Reasons to Get You Packing!
Solo travel is surging!
Solo travel is a real thing. Here are a few statistics from one of my posts:
- Boomers lead the way, with 40% of the surveyed travelers taking a solo trip in 2017–and another 21% intending to do so in the future.
- Traveling solo was so satisfying that 34% said it was in “the top five trips that they have already been on and would like to go on again.”
- Women are more likely to go solo: 65% of American women travel without partners.
Why travel insurance for solos
All that said, there are a few reasons that I strongly encourage travel insurance for solos. The basic reasons to purchase it are exactly the same as for anyone going with a partner or a group: trip and health protection. For solos, there’s a bit more: Your safety net needs to be bigger and stronger.
- You’re, well…alone. If anything happens, you’ll be relying on others. In a foreign country, this may mean a way to communicate in another language or locate a facility for your specific need.
- And you’ll need to know that you can cover those costs. Whether it’s lost luggage or a lost filling, it’s important to have support.
- What if you twist an ankle while exploring ruins? Or eat a bad batch of the local specialty? You’ll need medical care, pronto, without having to find it yourself.
- And then there are new threats, such as Covid-19. Although outbound travel becomes restricted, what happens if you are in another country if a pandemic erupts…or resurges? Or if you haven’t departed, but it’s only a few days before–and your trip is paid for?
I could go on, but you get the idea. There can be a level of anxiety with solo travel; it’s important to know you’ve planned ahead for unexpected and unpleasant events. Someone else will take the lead and get you back on your journey.
Okay! So what do I do?
First of all, don’t stop traveling! You can twist an ankle in the grocery store parking lot or lose a filling biting into a taffy apple. Stuff happens.
- Include travel insurance as part of your budget. The cost depends on a few factors: the length and expense of your trip, your age, and type or amount of protection. You should expect to pay between a 4-10% of your total pre-paid, nonrefundable trip cost.
- If you’re taking a tour, buy your policy from a third-party insurer, not the tour company. Most tour companies work with third-party insurers, but check to be sure. Knock on wood, I’ve never had to file a claim, but it’s reassuring to know that if something happens, I’m likely covered for at least part of my expenses.
- Consider upgrading to “Cancel for Any Reason,” (CFAR( which covers items not in the basic policy. To make a claim, you’ll need to cancel at least 48 hours before departure, but check the policy to be certain. You will be reimbursed between 50% and 75% prepaid, forfeited and non-refundable trip costs, plus what’s covered with the basic policy. With pandemics and epidemics, this is the safest bet these days, because CFAR will let you cancel. Travel insurance policies usually exclude pandemics from their coverage. For example, once the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, policies with pandemic exclusions wouldn’t cover COVID-19-related illness or losses.
- Check your current medical insurance policy to determine if you’re covered outside the US. Medicare does not pay for anything, so medical emergency travel insurance is a must. If you’re covered, super! There are policies that take care of non-medical situations.
- For domestic travel, consider your costs: airfare, hotel, etc. Can you cancel without penalty or minimal financial loss? Is your medical care is covered outside your network? If so, you may just opt out of purchasing travel insurance. I leave this decision to you.
Some good travel insurance companies
Just like other industries, there are websites that let you compare policies and costs, so you can make the best decision for you.
- Squaremouth lets you check out 80 travel policies from 20 providers. They also have almost 90,000 reviews…nice!
- InsureMyTrip has been in the business for 20 years, letting travelers compare plans. They guarantee if customer ratings give a plan less than 4 Stars, they will remove the provider from their list.
- If your travel agent or tour company suggests a certain product, check out this article by Forbes Magazine: The Best and Worst Travel Insurance Companies.
For solo travelers, travel insurance really shouldn’t be a choice. We have dreams to fulfill and discoveries to make. When we know we’ve got a safety net, we’re free to explore without worry.
More posts about solo travel–everyone should try it!