Why I’m still buying travel insurance for international vacations — even if it isn’t required

Oct 3, 2021

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Before the pandemic, I never gave travel insurance a second thought. To me, it was always an extra expense that I didn’t see the need for, and I always figured it was worth the risk to save the cash. Oh how the times have changed.

Last month, I visited Costa Rica, my first trip to Central America since the start of the pandemic. Prior to August 2021, visitors to the tropical country were required to purchase and show proof of travel insurance as one of the country’s entry requirements. However, the insurance requirement was lifted on Aug. 1, just a few weeks before I was set to arrive.

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Even though it wasn’t necessary for me to purchase traveler’s insurance to enter Costa Rica, I decided to buy it anyways, and here’s why.

In case I need to cancel

I always get tested before traveling on a flight, even if it’s not required to enter the country (Costa Rica currently does not require a negative Covid-19 test result as an entry requirement for visitors). If I had tested positive for COVID-19 before I even left the United States, I wanted to make sure that I had “cancel for any reason” or coronavirus-specific coverage to make sure my flights and any other cancellation fees would be covered by the policy.

Related: 5 things to know about at-home COVID-19 tests for travel

The pandemic isn’t over

Even with protection from the COVID-19 vaccine, traveling during the pandemic is still much riskier than it was two years ago. There are thousands of new cases a day, including breakthrough cases and reinfection cases that are rare, but still possible. With the amount of COVID-related variables that could cause disruption to my trip, I wanted to make sure that if anything did go wrong, I would be covered for the brunt of the costs.

Related: 5 things travelers need to know about the mu COVID-19 variant

COVID-19 is not the only consideration

While a majority of my trip was filled with days lounging at the beach, massages and spa treatments and yoga, I also went on a few hikes that could have resulted in a bad injury if I had slipped or pushed myself too hard. My policy would have covered this type of injury, so I was less stressed about the possibility of being injured in a foreign country and not being able to get the help I needed.

I am happy to say that my trip to Costa Rica went off without a hitch. I did not need to activate my travel insurance, but I’m still glad that I bought it. Having the insurance made me less anxious about all the things that could have gone wrong, and I was able to relax my mind and just enjoy my vacation. I may not purchase travel insurance forever, but for the foreseeable future, it will be part of my planning budget for all international trips.

Photo b7 Kryssia Campos/Getty Images

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