There is Trip Insurance… and then there is Medical Travel Insurance.
Most retailers will sell you both either stand-alone or combined into a package.
Trip Insurance covers you for things like…
You have to cancel BEFORE you go… but after the deadline for getting your money back from the trip retailer (so you fall and break a leg, and decide you can’t go treking all over Mexico with a full leg cast… so you cancel your Holiday… and you get any money you otherwise would have forfeited back from the Insurance… so be that just a Deposit… or if you’ve paid for the full vacation.. ie you broke your leg 2 days before going on vacation)
Trip Insurance will cover any PRE BOOKED items… so the Resort, the Airfare, Rental Car etc.
Trip Insurance also will compensate you if stuff comes up while you are on vacation. A flight is changed and you miss the connecting flight with a different airline. If your luggage is lost or delayed. Or if you have to leave your Destination to return home early (ie… someone dies)
Travel Health Insurance will cover…
Most health issues you have on your vacation. So if you get sick or are involved in any sort of accident (be that taking a tumble on the cobblestones or in a bigger accident like one involving a car or bus). Travel Health Insurance means you’ll be treated for your issues… and if need be transported (medical air lift) back to your home country for better medical attention (or god forbid if someone passes, they’ll repatriate the remains).
Getting Medical Attention… any sort of medical attention… is very very expensive… more so if you are out of your own country (with no regular coverage* from home) and find yourself on vacation at the mercy of whatever is available where you are.
IMO, it would be truly foolish to travel without any Health Insurance no matter what age the traveller
*NOTE – Some plans that people have back home will cover them to a certain extent while abroad. So if you have any health coverage at home… it is important to check on what it will provide if you are travelling.
Personally, I have on occasion travelled without Trip Insurance (depends what kind of trip I’m taking… and what I am risking financially… the more my trip costs, the more likely I am to insure it)… BUT I would never travel without Travel Health Insurance… infact as Canadians we purchase an Annual Plan because we are outside of the country often enough (be that a few hours in the USA… or 5 Weeks out of Canada like our recent Pre-Wedding & Honeymoon trip)
YES there is an expense to Trip & Travel Health Insurance… but it is nothing compared to what you’ll pay if something goes wrong !!
If you need both items, the pricing is usually much better as a “combo”
And some Vacation Plans / Providers you can buy it directly from the supplier… and in those cases the coverage is usually quite excellent and the prices much cheaper (example… when we cruise I buy directly from the Cruise Line… cannot beat the coverage & the price)
Hope this helps,