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If you're planning a vacation you've probably already been offered travel insurance more than once. And if you're like most people you quickly dismissed the idea and went about your business.

But don't be so quick to decide. While travel insurance is not always a good idea, there are times when it can come in handy.

What is covered?

While coverage can vary from one carrier to another, travel insurance policies generally cover:

Trip cancellation or interruption due to weather, sickness, airline bankruptcy/strike, or terrorist activity.

Medical expenses incurred while in a foreign country. If you get sick while on African safari, you may find that your medical plan does not cover foreign care or that the coverage is severely limited.

Baggage and belongings that are lost, stolen, or damaged.

Accidental death and dismemberment if you are seriously or fatally injured while on vacation.

So when should I buy travel insurance?

Well, if you are going on a relatively inexpensive trip that is not likely to be canceled or delayed and you are young, healthy, and not planning on doing anything dangerous then you can probably skip it.

But if you are planning your honeymoon or a once in a lifetime trip, especially to a an area where weather is a concern, you should consider travel insurance. The small investment will be well worth it.

If you are elderly or in poor health you're more likely to need medical attention while on vacation. Likewise if you are planning to take part in potentially dangerous activities such as rock-climbing or cliff diving.

Remember too that you don't have to be doing anything risky to get hurt. You could be taking a lazy afternoon sightseeing drive and get hit by a reckless driver. If that happens, you'll be glad you bought some extra insurance.

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