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The U.S. Travel Insurance Association reported that the number of Americans purchasing travel insurance increased by 19 percent between 2014 and 2016. This trend coincides with the increase in adventure tourism and the increase of Americans traveling abroad. But even if you're planning a relaxing domestic trip, you should still consider purchasing it if it makes sense for your travel plans. Here's why travel insurance is important and what you need to know before you buy it.

What It Covers

Purchasing travel insurance covers you for a variety of fees: medical expenses, trip cancellation and other financial losses — like lost, stolen, delayed or damaged luggage — incurred when traveling within the country or abroad. Travel insurance is intended to cover areas where your other insurance policies (health, car and/or property) won't cover you.

What Kind to Get

If you're taking a personal trip, you'll want to look into standard travel insurance. However, if you're traveling for business, first check to see if your workplace has a corporate travel insurance policy, or if they'll purchase insurance for the duration of your trip. If not, and you travel multiple times throughout the year, look into annual travel insurance plans to save you time and money.

Where to Get It

Several reputable online companies make it easy to purchase travel insurance. One great example, World Nomads, offers easy-to-purchase options online and, if you end up traveling longer than anticipated, will allow you to extend your coverage. Another site, insuremytrip, lets you compare prices from a variety of providers.

What It Costs

The cost of travel insurance depends on where you're traveling, how long you'll be gone and how many people you need it to cover. It also takes into consideration the ages of the travelers, the cost of your trip and the type of coverage needed.

When to Get It

Whether or not travel insurance makes sense for you largely depends on your situation (How likely are your plans to change? How likely is it you'd fall ill?) and the trip you're taking. For example, if you find a great deal on a trip, but aren't sure if you can get time off from work, you can purchase travel insurance, book the deal and only pay for the insurance if you have to cancel your trip.

If you're planning an expensive trip or one where you may injure yourself — for example, a bucket list trip to hike Mount Kilimanjaro followed by a week-long safari — travel insurance is there to give you peace of mind. Or, if you're traveling for the holidays or during hurricane season, travel insurance can protect you from weather-related cancellations. Some travel tour providers require you to purchase travel insurance, too. Confirm with your tour provider before leaving.

Check with your other insurance policies to see what they do and don't cover in relation to travel, as well as with your credit card company. Some credit cards provide auto rental coverage, as well as travel and emergency assistance. You'll want to understand the specific terms to find out what you're covered for, and where travel insurance can fill in the gaps.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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