How often do you buy travel insurance from an airline?

The airlines “recommend” it, of course, because it’s usually an extra $21 in their pocket, but I was wondering how often people took advantage of this, and under what circumstances. In my case, I was booking for my friend’s wedding, a singular one-day event, so buying insurance would be pointless, since I can’t get my money back anyway. But do you do it for longer or more significant trips? If so, what kind?

Never. I get travel insurance with my credit card.

Not me within North America or Europe.
However, when I go to Asia I get a Travel Insurance Health policy so in the event something happens I get home quick.

Never even considered it.

Never done it. I get health insurance from my (former, since I am retired) employer. A friend who had a heart attack was med-evacked (for $25K) by the insurance company from New Orleans to Montreal so he could be treated here at no cost (no cost to the insurance company, that is).




I have never bought insurance from the airline, as that would cover (I assume) only the airline fare. I have bought travel insurance online for entire vacations covering the air fare, hotels, cruise, etc. when traveling overseas. We ended up using it one time when my wife got sick in the Dominican Republic, and it reimbursed all of the transportation and medical expenses we incurred down there.

Never. The whole idea is foolish almost all the time.

The purpose of insurance is to protect you against risks that would have a major financial impact if they hit you. Travel is, almost by definition, a luxury, and the losses are limited to the price you’ve already paid. If you can’t afford to lose that, you shouldn’t buy the ticket in the first place.

I could see it making sense in rare cases where, say, someone has saved up for a big once-in-a-lifetime trip , and an unforeseen event might make it so that they can’t take the trip again for many years, or might get stranded somewhere with no good way to make it back.

Are they still even selling it?
40 years ago, and longer, every airport had machines where you could buy travel insurance for your trip. I never did it, but I assume lots of people did. As air travel got safer and credit cards started offering it, the machines vanished. The insurance was from a private company, not the airline.
Travel insurance for a cruise, especially if it is to a place where a medical problem would be expensive, that I’ve done.

I would suggest this is far too simplistic, and not true in all cases. Losses are certainly not limited to the price you’ve already paid if you get sick in another country. Medical treatment and transportation costs can be extraordinary when you are far from home, and may not be covered by your own health insurance. Take a long ambulance ride or a chopper ride off a cruise ship and tell me you’re only out your original ticket price.

Beyond that, there are other people in the equation. If you have elderly parents who are in poor health, or children to care for, travel insurance will usually kick in if one of them becomes seriously ill or dies.

I’ve traveled with and without travel insurance. Luckily, I bought it the one time I needed it. Frankly, it’s not prohibitively expensive if you are looking at a serious trip that costs $3-$8k. But people’s actual and perceived risks, as well as their risk tolerances, differ.

None of this pertains to airfare-only insurance, however.

Methinks we’re talking about 3 different things here. There is travel (trip) insurance that reimburses your expenses should you miss or cancel the trip, then there is travel insurance that covers your health while on the trip. IIRC the machines at the airport sold travel life insurance. That has pretty much gone away as an option, I think.

I have never bought trip insurance, but I may if we were planning an expensive family trip some months in advance. Maybe. I do get the travel health insurance when going to less developed countries. It’s not so much for the health coverage itself, but as davida03801 said above, for the “get me the heck outta here quickly!” part of the coverage.

When my mother-in-law had stage 4 lung cancer before she died, my wife was always freaking out that we would be on vacation at the moment her Mom would suddenly reach the end . When we booked a cruise to Southeast Asia, my wife got especially upset about the idea of not being able to immediately fly back at a moment’s notice if that happened, and insisted we buy travel insurance. To this, I said “Well, since I am paying for the travel, how about you pay for the insurance?”. She did that once, and then for all other vacations afterwards, she chose not to do it, even when they were also out of the country. Mom hung around for many more years than anyone thought she would, so it’s a good thing we didn’t throw all that money away. She only just died last year, eight years after her diagnosis, and at the time they told us there was no way she’d even make it five years.

I’ve never bought it - I don’t even know how (aside from some sites that offer it up for an additional fee when you buy your ticket / pay for your hotel).

That said: if it were a major thing - like overseas, or a big financial investment - I’d consider it, especially now that we’re in our 50s and have aging parents a thousand miles away.

You do have to be careful: friends of the parents had insurance, had to cancel a trip due to a medical emergency, and had to fight the insurer to get anything. They wound up only getting about half their money.

A friend of mine wound up stranded overseas for a couple extra days - airline issues or something - and the insurance she bought covered hotel and expenses. Someone else we knew was badly injured overseas (broken hip - required traction) and the airline he flew on offered to fly him home in a hospital bed if he purchased 4 first-class airline seats all for himself, at a stiff fee of 20,000. Fortunately for him, he was travelling on business (for a DOD agency) and they were able to get him home on a military transport. But if he hadn’t had that option, travel insurance might have covered getting him back.

My understanding is that travel insurance from airlines generally covers only transportation, and that’s the question I was responding to.

I agree that emergency health care insurance is a reasonable idea when traveling.

I do not recommend buying travel insurance from the airline (or cruise line or travel agent). Its best to go direct to the travel insurance provider because if you have a claim, you will be submitting directly with the travel insurance company and get better service if they sold to you directly.

Often they offer better coverages at lower costs than via a travel agent.

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We used, directly. Customer service was good and they have 24/7 trip assistance and a concierge service.