From how to pick the best places to go to identifying vacation essentials you can’t leave home without, it’s safe to say that most of us have gotten pretty good at travel prepping. But even with this, there’s one very important thing the average traveler still doesn’t give enough thought – travel insurance.

To be sure, I’ve heard travel insurance get called a lot of things. A friend once said it’s the “biggest scam in the 21st century” and that he was never going to buy one. In my early days of solo traveling, I didn’t think this insurance coverage was the worst thing around, but I wasn’t exactly sold on the idea, either. Until I ran into some sobering statistics, that is!

What does this all mean?

Long story short, if you don’t have travel insurance and you have a medical emergency or a missed connection while on your trip, you could potentially lose a lot of money!

However, it’s not enough to just get travel insurance. You need to make sure that you get the right package for you. Below are the most important things I’ve learned to look out for when picking travel coverage.

What to Look for in a Travel Insurance Package – Picking the Right Coverage for You

For me, the most important considerations when choosing travel insurance are:

One: Available Pre-Departure and Post-Departure Benefits

Non-refundable costs are a common part of many vacation plans. So, what happens if you can’t meet up due to a last-minute trip cancellation? This is where the pre-departure benefits of your package come into play. As such, the right coverage for you should include protection for elements like your airfare, hotel reservation, cruise fare, and other things of that nature.

Similarly, as I mentioned earlier, things like travel delay and medical emergencies while on a trip are common enough occurrences. A decent travel plan comes with post-departure benefits that ensure that you don’t have to cover these unexpected expenses out-of-pocket.

Two: The Insurer’s Global Affiliates

As you know, the quicker and more conveniently you can reach your insurer, the better for you. This is why it’s very helpful to check if the provider you want to use has an affiliate at your destination location.

Having a local point of contact can prove very useful as it’ll certainly help your insurer attend to your needs faster and more efficiently.

Three: Coverage for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Having travel insurance that kicks in in case a pre-existing medical condition starts acting up can also be very helpful. While you’re going on your vacation to relax and have a good time, there’s usually no telling how your body will react to the new environment. Having this type of protection in place means you’ll have one less thing to worry about should anything happen.

Please note that while you might think your health insurance will cover you for this, most of these policies don’t insure you outside the country. So, make sure you know the details of your health coverage so you can plan accordingly here.

Four: Affordability of the Package

This is pretty important, too, more so because you have to strike the perfect balance between staying well-protected and keeping your costs bearable. One of the best ways to ensure you get the best deal here is to comparison-shop as much as you can. It may take some effort, but you’ll surely find something that gives you maximum value for money in the end.

Five: Exclusions

It’s definitely important to have a clear idea of just what you’ll be getting out of your travel insurance. But just as important is knowing what you WON’T be getting. Most coverages will clearly state the conditions or events under which their benefits are voided.

Make sure you go over this aspect of your plan carefully and be sure that it’s both fair and acceptable to you.

Travel insurance isn’t one of the first things that people think about when planning a solo adventure or a romantic getaway. But if things go south, you’ll certainly be glad you had it!