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Why people are buying travel insurance for international trips

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CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg also recommended that travelers get a coverage plan that includes medical evacuation benefits. Thomas M Barwick INC / Getty Images

While international travel isn't quite hitting the levels it did in 2019 – pre-pandemic, it's still expected to make a strong recovery this year. 

Searches for international flights are up 64% so far in 2023 compared to the previous year, according to Kayak, an online travel agency and flight search database. And with that increased travel demand, it's no surprise that prices for international flights have also risen nearly 30%, the site estimates. 

That's why it's vital that you prepare for the expenses associated with international destinations.

One way to protect your trip and your wallet is by getting travel insurance. If you're planning a trip overseas, consider inserting your traveler and trip information into the travel insurance marketplace SquareMouth's free tools to review dozens of insurance options available to you. You can even sort it by the least expensive options to ensure you're getting the best deal. 

Benefits of buying insurance on an international trip

SquareMouth, which studied 2022 travel trends, says that nearly 90% of all insured travel was for international destinations last year. That trend is likely to continue into 2023.

There are many reasons to buy travel insurance, especially if you're traveling abroad. But when it comes to international travel, medical and financial protections are typically top of the list.

Medical protections

Your health insurance may not always cover you everywhere you go. Some countries strongly urge tourists to purchase travel insurance to ensure they have medical coverage and others may even require it to enter their country altogether. 

"Most primary health insurance policies either don't offer overseas coverage or if they do, the coverage is limited. Travel insurance policies, on the other hand, can provide coverage in multiple destinations worldwide," SquareMouth explains in its travel advice section.

Most comprehensive travel insurance plans come with medical coverage. Shop around to find the right plan for you!

The U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have encouraged U.S. citizens to obtain medical travel insurance before going overseas.

"The U.S. government does not provide insurance for U.S. citizens overseas. We do not pay medical bills or unexpected cost. We highly recommend that you purchase insurance before you travel," the State Department writes online, adding that Medicare and Medicaid coverage generally doesn't kick in outside the U.S.

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg also recommended that travelers get a coverage plan that includes medical evacuation benefits.

"You absolutely need to have medical evacuation insurance. If you get sick or injured outside of the U.S., it pays for you to be stabilized medically wherever you are, and to get you home to a medical facility and doctor of your choice," said Greenberg.

Financial protections

This year, SquareMouth is anticipating that travelers will spend at least 25% more on travel, with Millennials seeing the steepest increase in spending.

"With lingering economic uncertainties, travelers are becoming more budget conscious and changing their spending habits," SquareMouth says.

Protect your trip by adding travel insurance. Shop a variety of trusted and rated providers now.

If you factor in potential losses due to delays, cancellations or lost items, then travel insurance is just a small price to pay for protection. The cost of insurance depends on a number of factors, including your age, geographic location, the total cost of the trip and the coverage you require.

Generally speaking, you'll end up paying no more than 10% of your total trip cost. The U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) predicts it will be even less – between 4% to 8% of your trip.

"The main reason most travelers buy travel insurance is for the Trip Cancellation benefits. Trip Cancellation-style travel insurance policies can refund your prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses if you are unable to travel due to a covered reason, such as an illness or injury, inclement weather, or a terrorist attack, among others," SquareMouth notes, adding that insurance with trip cancellation can offer you a 100% reimbursement.

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