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Is Travel Insurance a Good Idea When Vacationing in Cartagena?

When you are planning a vacation in Cartagena, you must answer a lot of questions yourself. What part of the city do you want to stay in? Where can you find the best beaches in Cartagena? How many of the amazing restaurants in Cartagena can you hit up in a week? Which bar serves the best martini? But one question you will not have to answer for yourself is whether travel insurance is a good idea when planning a vacation in Cartagena. The simple answer is “yes.” Travel insurance is almost always a good idea whenever you travel anywhere—especially outside your home country.

Do you have to purchase it? No. Of course not. But sometimes it is better to err on the side of caution.

You can spend a wonderful time in sunny Colombia without ever needing travel insurance. Cartagena itself is relatively safe, tourist-friendly, and hospitable. However, if the 2020 Pandemic has taught us anything, it is to always plan for the unexpected.

Is Trip Insurance the Same as Travel Insurance?

Trip insurance and travel insurance (while often purchased at the same time) are two different things. Trip insurance is usually just one component of your travel insurance package.

Trip insurance is basically insurance that will help you recover some or all your investment should your actual travel plans go awry. For example, if your flight gets canceled and you have to rebook at a higher rate, your trip insurance can help you recoup some or all of the monetary value.

Trip insurance is often pricey and may not make sense for you if your travel plans or very flexible and you don’t have a rigid timeline. However, if you have planned (and paid for) multiple excursions, cruises, or purchased tickets to events, insurance may be a good idea for you.

Travel Insurance for Medical Emergencies in Colombia

Say you cut yourself on coral while snorkeling in the Rosario Islands and it gets infected. Maybe you slip on the quaint cobblestone streets of Cartagena’s Walled City and turn an ankle. Maybe you have an existing condition that flairs up on your holiday and you need to visit a doctor. The medical component of your travel insurance policy will cover that visit. But you may be surprised to learn it may be cheaper to pay out of pocket.

The medical system in Colombia is better now than it has ever been in the past. Indeed, people are flocking to Colombia for elective procedures and the amount of medical tourism is growing annually. But that quality care often comes with a minimal price tag that astounds many travelers (especially Americans) who are used to paying hefty prices for even basic medical care in emergency room settings. Sometimes, the amount that you would pay out of pocket here in Cartagena is lower than what you would pay for an office visit copay in The United States.

But what if you are one of the few visitors who suffers a fairly serious injury like a broken bone from slipping during a jungle hike or lost city tour? That is when your travel insurance really pays for itself. Your medical policy kicks and (usually) pays you a lump sum that will cover most or all your medical expenses.

Travel Insurance for Personal Items

Another component of your travel insurance package is designed to help you recover the monetary value of items that are damaged or lost during travel (like your luggage) or items that are stolen. If you have traveled much in the past (especially on commercial airlines) you know that your luggage takes a beating every time you hand it over at the baggage check. Bags break or rip, clothing is lost, personal items are damaged. Sometimes bags do not make it to their intended destination on time (or at all).

You can use your travel insurance policy to pay for the repair or replacement of those items and minimize the impact of that loss on your Colombian vacation. No more worrying that you will not have anything to wear once you get to your luxury vacation rental home in Cartagena. No more stressing about those expensive camera lenses you have packed in your checked luggage.

You can even use travel insurance to reimburse you for monetary theft as well.

Multiple Packages to Fit Your Needs

Travel insurance is not one-size-fits-all. Most companies offer a standard base package that is enough to cover any contingency a normal traveler may run into on a South American Caribbean vacation. However, most companies also offer upgrades and add-ons if you have specific worries that need addressing.

For example, if you are traveling with expensive camera equipment or jewelry you may want to consider upping the insurance on your personal property. If you have an existing medical condition that may cause you trouble while you are away, you may consider purchasing a higher tier of medical insurance.

These additional options are something that each individual traveler must assess for themselves. When doing so, it is important to keep in mind you may already have some forms of protection in place already.

For example, some credit card companies offer trip insurance as a standard bonus for their clients. Some health insurance plans are accepted beyond a vacationer’s home country.

Travel Insurance is a Personal Decision

While it’s a good idea to be safe and not sorry, the decision to purchase travel insurance or not is a personal one. You must consider things like:

• The value of the items you are bringing with you.
• The flexibility of your itinerary
• The likelihood of existing medical conditions causing problems while you are on vacation.
• Whether the plan offers good value for the money

While we do not endorse any specific travel insurance companies, many reputable providers are available online. We recommend thoroughly researching and comparing different policies to find one that best suits your travel needs and budget. This will ensure that you are adequately covered for any unforeseen circumstances during your trip.

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