When you're planning a major trip or vacation, insurance is probably the last thing on your mind. But it is something you should think about; if something goes wrong during your trip, it can get expensive really fast. In such cases, travel insurance offers you some financial protection and reassurance. As it is less common, you may not know much about this type of policy. Start with these top 6 things you need to know about travel insurance to decide whether it is right for you.

1. Travel Insurance Can Mean A Few Different Things

Travel insurance is an umbrella term that includes a few different types of insurance. It may refer to health insurance that covers medical bills abroad. Other types cover your belongings during your travels in case they become stolen or lost. Still, others protect against the cost of canceling a trip before or during your travels, which may be necessary if you get too sick to travel or you booked a flight with an airline that went out of business. In such cases, the trip cancellation or interruption policy would refund your money. In addition, a travel insurance policy might just cover one of these categories or could cover several. Know exactly what you're buying so you can rest assured in having the desired coverage.

2. The Longer the Trip, the More You Need Coverage

Not every trip needs travel insurance. Generally, the longer you plan on traveling, the more you should consider insurance. That's because on a longer trip, you typically book more flights and hotels, likely have more luggage, and more time for something to go wrong. If you're planning a six-month tour of Europe, take a look at travel insurance. If you’re going to Miami for a week, it’s probably not necessary.

3. You May Already Have Travel Coverage

Before you go out and buy travel insurance, check to see if you already have some coverage in place. Your health insurance policy could cover expenses abroad, including the expense of bringing you back home for medical care. Your homeowners policy might also cover your belongings even when you're traveling. In this case, the insurance company would pay to replace any lost or stolen property, the same as if the loss happened in your home.

Moreover, some credit cards also offer coverage against lost bags when you fly, provided you booked the flight using that card. Give your insurance and credit card companies a call to see what coverage you have in place to decide whether you have enough or want more protection.

4. Aggregator Sites Let You Easily Compare Options

The internet has made it easier than ever to buy travel insurance. You can find websites that collect quotes from a large number of insurance companies so you instantly see all your options. This way, you have a better chance of finding a good deal. Insure My Trip and Squaremouth are two well-known examples that offer this service for travel insurance.

5. Don't Let a Cheap Price Draw You In

While it's important to get a fair price for your coverage, cost shouldn't be the only factor in your decision. Some "low-cost" policies could end up giving you less coverage than you want or need. For instance, they may have a low amount of coverage, which wouldn't cover the full value of your trip and belongings. A policy could also have a very high deductible, which means you need to pay a large amount of the costs yourself before the travel insurance pays for anything. If you see a policy that seems priced unusually low, take a close look because there's probably a reason for it.

6. Beware of Exclusions

An exclusion is a risk, peril, or situation that an insurance policy does not cover. For example, some trip-cancellation policies do not cover losses due to a hurricane or if you have to cancel the trip because you started a new job. Some health insurance policies do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. Make sure to ask about any exclusions in a policy before you sign up so you don't miss out coverage something you really need.

Conclusion

While travel insurance might not be the most exciting part of your trip plans, if something goes wrong, it can easily be the most important. Keep these points in mind as you sort out your coverage, and then you can relax on your trip, knowing you're protected.