Tired of Travel Insurance? Try These Tips Instead

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  • You might spend 5% to 6% of the cost of your trip to put insurance in place, and your policy might come with restrictions.
  • If you don't want to buy travel insurance, try finding a credit card that offers good protection and keep your plans as flexible as possible.

Taking a trip can be an expensive prospect. Not only might you have to pay for airfare, lodging, checked baggage, and food, but you might have to fork over some extra money to cover the cost of travel insurance.

Forbes Advisor says the average cost of travel insurance is 5% to 6% of your trip cost. So the more expensive your trip, the more you might spend to insure it.

The problem with travel insurance, though, is that it's not always worth the money.

For one thing, some policies won't let you just cancel for any reason, and you may even have a hard time canceling due to an illness. And policies that do allow you to cancel your itinerary for any reason often don't give you all of your money back -- just a portion of it, leaving you with a loss on your hands.

Now, you'll often hear that it's important to buy travel insurance in case you're hurt or get sick in the course of your travels. But if you read the fine print, you may not get coverage depending on the activities you're engaging in. For example, if you're traveling and going rock-climbing, you may not be eligible for medical coverage because you were engaging in a riskier activity.

If you've reached the point where you no longer want to pay for travel insurance, it's understandable. But you should still try to take steps to avoid financial losses when traveling. Here's how to get some protection without buying insurance.

1. Use the right credit card

Some credit cards offer built-in protection for snags you might hit or losses you might bear in the course of your travels. This especially holds true if you book your itinerary using a travel rewards credit card. You may, depending on your card, be eligible for reimbursement if your luggage is lost, or if your plans are disrupted due to certain circumstances.

2. Book the right lodging

These days, a lot of people tend to favor private rentals over hotel rooms because they often make it easier to spread out at a comparable cost. But one benefit of booking a hotel room is that you can often cancel without penalty as long as you do so 48 to 72 hours before you're scheduled to arrive.

Many of the private homes you might rent on a site like Airbnb don't offer that same flexibility. Instead, you might have to cancel weeks or even months in advance to get your money back. So if you're not going to buy travel insurance, you may want to stick to a hotel instead.

3. Buy flexible airline tickets

Refundable airline tickets commonly cost more than those that are non-refundable. But you also get the benefit of being able to pull the plug on a trip without bearing a financial loss. If the upcharge is reasonable, it could pay to book a refundable flight if you won't have insurance as backup.

In some cases, it very much pays to get travel insurance, such as if you're going abroad and want to make sure you're covered in the event of a health emergency. But it may be easy enough for you to make the case to not buy travel insurance. And if so, you should at least do what you can to protect yourself financially in the absence of having a policy.

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