MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The five day ordeal on the Carnival cruise ship Triumph certainly illustrates how travel plans can go awry.

So when should you get travel insurance?

“Definitely, if you’re going overseas,” said Carol Ruzin, coordinator of trip insurance at University Travel in Minneapolis.

Ruzin sells travel insurance through Access America. They price their insurance on a scale that’s based on the price of the trip and the age of the passenger.

An $1,800 trip for a 31 to 59 year old costs $91 and covers trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental coverage, Ruzin said.

The coverage includes $25,000 for emergency medical and $500,000 for emergency medical transportation, in the event you need to be evacuated from wherever you’re vacationing.

Coverage also protects you before the trip, in the event you have to cancel because of illness, injury, death, loss of job, even a car crash on the way to the airport.

“I would never tell somebody they don’t need it,” said Sandy Lovick, owner of Travel Leaders. “We’ve had a lot of experience with times we’re thrilled our clients have it.”

According to Lovick, she would analyze the cost of the trip and the location of travel when deciding whether or not to purchase.

“Our last three out of six claims were for younger people,” Lovick said.

She added: “We had a 40-year-old gentleman on a flight from Minneapolis to Ft. Myers, he needed medical attention on the flight. They brought the plane down in St. Louis, then he flew to Ft. Myers, and he died in Ft. Myers. Getting his family home was a nightmare. His wife bought the insurance, it really came in handy.”

Online travel agents like Expedia sell travel protection plans that have can lower coverage amounts. For example, we priced a $1,800 trip with $5,000 of medical coverage and $15,000 of emergency evacuation coverage, for just $59.

“Check your own medical insurance,” Lovick said, “because sometimes your insurance won’t cover treatment overseas.”

If you’re making a simple domestic trip, the expense of the insurance may not be worth it, according to Ruzin.

“I wouldn’t even purchase it if you’re going to Chicago or even to Florida,” she said.

But if you’re booking quite a bit in advance, or if you’re going on an expensive overseas vacation, travel insurance is a relatively low-cost way to give you peace of mind.

“You buy it to protect yourself, so if there’s issues down the line, you’re covered,” Ruzin said.

Jason DeRusha

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