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Does this sound familiar? You’ve saved and saved for that perfect vacation you’ve always dreamt about. You’re in the travel agent’s office, you’ve just purchased your very expensive ticket and she’s saying that you should buy some international travel insurance too. You roll your eyes because you’re sure all this international travel insurance business is nonsense and she’s just trying to get some more of your money. You say no thanks. While on your vacation, you crash your car and get hurt. Guess what? You’ve got to foot all the expenses yourself and because you didn’t want to get international travel insurance.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, international travel insurance is a must have if you intend to travel out of your own country. Since you’re not familiar, right about now you’re probably asking what international travel insurance is. Simply put, it is a temporary insurance policy which you buy before you leave on your trip. Typically, coverage lasts the full duration of your trip but, depending on who you’re insured with, your international travel insurance can be extended for up to 12 months.

A lot of people couldn’t be bothered with the added expense but there is always the small possibility that something can happen. A good international travel insurance policy will provide three things: good coverage at a reasonable price, readily available emergency assistance and efficient claims processing. It should also cover most circumstances. Your international travel insurance isn’t adequate if it doesn’t cover medical expenses, medical evacuation, travel cancellation and deferment costs, loss of luggage, rental vehicle expenses, death expenses, personal liability and legal expenses.

There is most often a need for international travel health insurance, to cover medical expenses. This can include hospital stays, medication and doctor’s fees. However, international travel health insurance is a godsend in more critical situations as it also covers ambulance services and emergency-related travel expenses, which is especially important in third world countries where supplies are limited and you may need to be transported to another country.

While you may not think that the cost of such international travel health insurance coverage is justified for a short, weekend trip, if you’re going to be hiking through malaria infested forests over those two days, you might want to think again. Use your discretion. It’s much better to be prepared for a possible emergency than to fall ill or get injured and not have any international travel health insurance coverage.

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