As a travel agent who has been in the business for over 28 years, I am constantly asked "Do I need travel insurance for our family trip/cruise?"
My answer is a resounding YES! I have story after story about clients who have not taken travel insurance, and have lived to regret it.
My very first family cruise that I booked way back when I started my agency is a case in point: This family was on a cruise through the Panama Canal. Three days into their trip, their middle daughter started experiencing severe pain in her lower right side. It turns out her appendix burst and she had to be air lifted off the ship and flown back to San Diego from Mexico! If she had not been air lifted, she would have undoubtedly died. Thank goodness they had taken insurance through the cruise line! Had they not, they would have been hit with a bill in excess of $35,000!! (And that does not include the costs incurred once they were back in the United States...their own health insurance kicked in for that.) If she had been flown to a Mexican hospital, their health insurance would not have applied, and they would have been charged another $30,000 in hospital expenses. Not to mention hotel rooms for the rest of the family, transportation, food, and any other expenses incurred because of her illness.
Last year I had two clients (out of over a hundred) decide to forgo travel insurance. They were the two that needed it most!
The first couple were on their honeymoon; they flew to Sandals in St. Lucia for a week in paradise, and then were going to fly to San Juan to pick up a Royal Caribbean ship for a week in the top suite onboard the ship. Unfortunately, after their week in St. Lucia, the airline cancelled their flight to San Juan and they missed the ship...the next port was two days later, and the airline refused to compensate them for anything other than flying them to San Juan. They had to pay out-of-pocket for hotels, transportation, food, the list goes on. They eventually got to the ship, but they had missed three whole days in their beautiful suite, and had a huge credit card bill waiting for them when they got home for their expenses. Had they only spent a couple hundred dollars for insurance, they would have been compensated for everything.
The second client was an older lady traveling with her extended family. She swore she was as healthy as could be, and never needed travel insurance. Within a day of embarking on the ship, she developed severe pnemonia and needed to be hospitalized for the rest of the cruise in the ship's onboard medical center. The bill...in excess of $11,000! She called me a few weeks later asking if she had any recourse, and I had to sadly tell her no. She was devastated as she was on a fixed income and had no idea how she was going to pay a bill that high.
I have dozens more stories like these, as does most travel agents who have been in the business for any period of time. Yes, we are in business to make money, and the insurance companies pay us to sell their product, but we are also here to take care of our clients and make sure they have the best possible vacation they can. Part of that is making sure they are covered for any eventuality, and travel insurance is an important component of that.
So, when the question comes up, "Do I really need to spend that money on insurance?" My answer is a resounding YES! PLEASE take care of your investment of your time and money! Cover yourself with a good travel insurance policy!!