You asked: Should I buy travel insurance for my honeymoon?

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By The Way Concierge checks in with insurance experts on one couple’s concerns

Traveling has always come with complications. Our By The Way Concierge column will take your travel dilemmas to the experts to help you navigate the new normal. Want to see your question answered? Submit it here.

When she’s not managing social media for The Washington Post climate team, Erica Snow is busy planning her June 2024 wedding and honeymoon to South Africa and Mozambique. This week, we’re helping her tackle one question that’s come up with readers often: “Do I need travel insurance for my honeymoon? It seems really expensive. Apparently less than $500 per person is a good deal. Does the price depend on where I’m going?”

Long story short: Get the insurance. Or as Laura K. Frazier, founder of Bliss Honeymoons, summed it up: “Unless they are independently wealthy and willing to lose thousands of dollars, they should spend the money and get trip insurance every single time.”

The longer story: I went to travel planners, insurance reps and former honeymooners with your question, and the overwhelming majority came to the same conclusion that this is probably the most expensive trip you’ve ever planned, so travel insurance is essential.

Let’s start with how it’s priced. Steven Benna, the marketing manager for the travel insurance marketplace Squaremouth, says where you’re going isn’t really a factor. What does matter is how long your trip is, how much it costs, how old you are and what you want insured.

There are few different types of travel insurance to consider for your trip:

  • A trip cancellation or interruption policy: These plans cover the costs associated with disruptions before or during your trip, such as getting sick or flight cancellations.
  • A medical policy: This will cover you for any illness or injury during your trip, plus emergency medical transportation.
  • A comprehensive policy: These packages are a one-stop shop to protect your honeymoon. These bundles can include coverage for trip cancellations, travel delays, medical emergencies, lost luggage and more. Expect to pay between 5 and 10 percent of the trip cost for these.
  • A policy through your credit card: If you booked your trip with a credit card, you may already have some coverage for things such as trip interruption, evacuations and lost luggage.
  • A “cancel for any reason” policy: This is an expensive add-on so you can cancel your trip beyond those covered reasons.

If costly parts of your trip are nonrefundable, I’d go with a comprehensive package to protect your investment from the many surprises that could unfold. I heard stories from the travel planners about their unlucky honeymooners. Some were simple, such as flights being canceled, throwing itineraries out of whack. Then there were burst appendixes, emergency rehab and deaths in the family. Worse yet, “we had two different couples call off their wedding last year because they broke up,” Frazier said.

They got a hotel voucher in 1983 for their wedding. They’re using it Sunday.

If you don’t go for a comprehensive package, at minimum, you’ll want a medical policy. However, it won’t cover you if you get sick before your trip. Daniel Durazo, director of external communications at Allianz Partners USA, says many Americans are surprised to find they aren’t covered by their personal health insurance when they go abroad. “If you get sick or injured in Mozambique, you’re going to have to pay for that out of your pocket,” he said. “And you probably won’t be reimbursed by your domestic health insurance company.”

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If you’re curious what other travelers have done, the honeymooners I surveyed had mixed feedback. Most said they bought insurance because the trip was too expensive to risk. A handful were very relieved they did, such as the couple who got the coronavirus and had to postpone, or the spouse who was struck in the head by a falling rock on their trip and needed stitches. Others made sure to book an itinerary that could be refunded. Some said they skipped buying a policy and relied on their credit card’s travel insurance coverage.

Esther Klijn, an adviser with Cire Travel, notes that travel insurance isn’t a perfect safety net and doesn’t cover everything. For example, you’ll need a special policy if you’re partaking in adventure sports such as bungee jumping. Most insurers won’t approve your claim if an accident happens while you’re under the influence. And with general trip cancellation policies, you can’t skip the trip for fear of something bad happening. That’s when you’d need a cancel-for-any-reason policy, which will still only get you a percentage of your money back.

For some of those concerns, you can get an additional cancel-for-any-reason policy that will give you more flexibility. However, “it does typically increase the policy’s premium by about 50 percent,” Benna said.

Go into your travel insurance shopping with an idea of what exactly you want covered, and read the fine print. As for who to go to, travel advisers say it depends on the trip. But adviser Marisa DeSalvio said Travelex is a favorite for its strong customer service, and Piper Fenton of Remarkable Honeymoons has sworn by Allianz for the past seven years.

If you’re getting sticker shock, I have two words for you: wedding registry. Whether you add a policy as its own line item or factor it in to your budget from the honeyfund, crowdsource the cost from your loved ones.

Have a question for By The Way Concierge? Submit it here.

More travel tips

Vacation planning: Start with a strategy to maximize days off by taking PTO around holidays. Experts recommend taking multiple short trips for peak happiness. Want to take an ambitious trip? Here are 12 destinations to try this year — without crowds.

Cheap flights: Follow our best advice for scoring low airfare, including setting flight price alerts and subscribing to deal newsletters. If you’re set on an expensive getaway, here’s a plan to save up without straining your credit limit.

Airport chaos: We’ve got advice for every scenario, from canceled flights to lost luggage. Stuck at the rental car counter? These tips can speed up the process. And following these 52 rules of flying should make the experience better for everyone.

Expert advice: Our By The Way Concierge solves readers’ dilemmas, including whether it’s okay to ditch a partner at security, or what happens if you get caught flying with weed. Submit your question here. Or you could look to the gurus: Lonely Planet and Rick Steves.

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