People have a lot of questions about travel insurance. What is it? What does it cover? Is it worth the price? Where do I get it? So here are some simple answers to help you make a more informed decision.

All travel insurance policies are different. So before you buy, make sure you’re getting the protection you want at a fair price. But don’t buy until you find out if you already have these benefits through your existing insurance coverage and credit cards. If you’re already covered, make sure the coverage meets your needs.

One of the main reasons people buy travel insurance is for trip cancellation and interruption protection. It would cover some or all of the charges if you had to cancel your trip or come home early due to an emergency.  Some travel insurance policies offer reimbursement for your pre-paid nonrefundable trip costs if your passport is lost or stolen prior to starting your trip.  A trip would have to be canceled if the traveler could not secure a replacement passport in time.

Another type of coverage protects personal effects while traveling. But again, do your homework before you buy. Some airlines will reimburse you a standard payment for lost  bags. Your credit card and homeowner’s insurance may also cover loss of personal effects while traveling.

Then there’s health-related coverage. If you need emergency medical care while traveling, it could get expensive – especially when the health emergency prevents you from making your scheduled departure. Costs could include medical treatment, evacuation, lodging, food, transportation and new travel arrangements to return home.

While your current medical plan may cover some costs of emergency medical treatment while traveling, it may not cover others – like accident-related costs from “high risk” activities, or charges for medical evacuation. If you’re traveling abroad to places where you don’t trust the level of medical care, you’ll want to make sure you have an exit plan in place if a health issue should arise. If you do decide to buy travel insurance with medical coverage, make sure you know exactly what you’re buying. Some policies may exclude pre-existing conditions or limit coverage for evacuation, travel and more.

So do your homework, then decide if travel insurance is right for you. And while you’re making your travel plans, make sure that you know where your passport is and make sure it is not expired. For more information about passports, including expedited passport services, go to