So your bags are packed, the kids are in the car, you’ve got your neighbors taking care of the mail, garden, and dogs while you’re gone, and things seem to be all set and ready to go. Still, you can’t help but shake that awful feeling that you’ve forgotten something really important. Well, if you need a little hint, it involves the word insurance. Yes, that’s right folks—when you and the family are headed on out for the vacation of your dreams, don’t ever forget this super duper important purchase: Travel insurance.

First off, it generally costs very little to get a hold of but could potentially save you thousands of dollars in the event that your trip doesn’t go according to planned, which in this day and age, happens more often than wanted. Stay ahead of the game and push away all potential va-cay disasters so that your perfect getaway is nothing but that—perfect. Let’s just say that in the long run, travel insurance plans are a Godsend and typically share basic similarities across various carriers. Get squared away and ultimately prepared before loading up that car by purchasing some peace of mind and lots of extra assurance. We’ve even gotten you started with a few basics: Here are just some of the typical things that travel insurance covers.

What does travel insurance typically cover?

1. Cancellation & Curtailment

Like it or not, we all invest tons of money when planning any trip, especially through pre-paid deposits that are often times mighty expensive. If something does happen to go wrong, such as getting caught without trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage, you are at risk of losing a lot of your hard-earned dough.

Both travel insurance basics can reimburse you for non-refundable expenses in case your have to cut short your holiday, if you lose your job and can no longer afford to travel, or even if a relative falls ill while you are away causing you to rush home earlier than expected. Not only will typical plans pay you back for the lost portion of your trip, but you’ll also be covered for any additional expenses spent for that last-minute flight home. Make sure to pay attention to the small details and fine print though, as some insurers can extremely tricky.

2. Medical Expenses

Nobody wants to end up with a huge pile of medical bills after having taken ill or becoming involved in an accident while on holiday. Hence medical coverage, which for the most part, is covered by all typical travel insurance policies. Most experts recommend this lifesaver—not to mention money saver—for those traveling abroad, especially since most existing U.S. health care plans don’t always cover medical emergencies in foreign countries.

Dodge the risk of inadequate medical care and lots of worry by arming yourself with a plan that’s good for everything from accidents and emergency medical and dental care, to minor mishaps due to pregnancy. Most travel firms will gladly insure expecting mothers (though typically only up until about 24 weeks) and may also provide assistance if you happen to discover that you are pregnant while you are away and need to cut your vacation short to head on home. Don’t let health-related issues prevent you and the family from enjoying a spectacular holiday!

3. Emergency Evacuations

Face it. Evacuation expenses can be devastating and can easily add up to $50,000 at minimum. Having emergency evacuation coverage for unexpected 911 expenses such as airlifts, ambulances, and medically equipped flights back home can save your life as well as your wallet-- some plans will even allow transportation to the hospital of your choice for care. Play it safe and stay prepared.

4. Loss or Delays

It’s safe to say that no one likes lost bags, delayed bags, delayed flights, or just hours and hours of tiresome waiting. Hassles such as these will for sure stink up any holiday adventure. So get compensated if your flight is delayed for longer than twelve hours, or if your personal belongings or luggage are lost, stolen or damaged. Baggage Delay Coverage even provides money to buy essential items until your delayed bags arrive, such as toiletry kits, a swimsuit, or a set of new clothes. Similarly, Travel Delay Coverage offers reimbursement for additional expenses such as extra hotel nights or meals at a restaurant if your flight is delayed.

Avoid the big headaches and sleepless nights of boring old delays by getting rewarded for all that wasted time. Make sure to ask the airline to confirm the delay in writing and to keep all receipts from purchases made due to the delay. Though not as “life-threatening” as medical coverage, it sure is nice to be covered even for the “smaller things” such as your favorite silk blouse, peep-toed pumps, or that Apple iPad you spend your days on.

5. 24/7/365 Emergency Assistance

Most, if not all, insurance companies offer an all-day-all-the-time emergency helpline, which can often be a lifesaver, especially if you are in a different time zone. If something major or minor does happen, it’s the lifeline to call for everything from medical emergencies and stolen baggage, to lost passports and cancelled flights. Other travel assistant services include emergency telephone service as well as interpretation assistance to help overcome any language barriers in a foreign country. Be bold and seek out the world. You’re ready to take on anything because of travel insurance!

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This article was written by Pamela Chan.