Travel Insurance – WHY?

The world is wide, and has many risks. For every risk, there is someone willing to underwrite it with an insurance policy. The more well-known risks, like fire, flooding, car accidents, and disease, have large insurance agencies shuffling hundreds of billions of dollars in their efforts to help people soften the financial blow of disaster.

The more obscure risks have no specific agency, but Lloyd’s of London will write a policy to insure against them anyway, for the right price. And then there is Travel, a risk well known to be fraught with peril, and yet, few people have bothered to purchase travel insurance until recently.

What is travel insurance?

It is insurance meant to cover unexpected expenses occurred when traveling. Medical problems, cancellations, repatriation of remains, return of a child, overseas funeral expenses, lost or damaged baggage, legal assistance, delayed baggage, missed flight connections, and hijacking can all be covered.

It is a growing insurance industry; the U.S. Travel Insurance Association says that Americans spent 1.9 billion dollars on insuring their trips in 2012, up 50% from 2011. Currently the industry has about 2.2 billion dollars in annual revenues.

It is not a large industry by any means, compared to the hundreds of billions of dollars that the Health Insurance industry deal with. And it is only since 2001 that the industry has grown much at all; prior to 9/11/2001 only ten percent of Americans bothered to insure their trips. After the events of 9/11 the industry grew rapidly, and the U.S. Travel Insurance Association was formed in 2004.