Travel insurance is top of mind these days. Whether it’s your vacation, your health or your luggage, having insurance, and more importantly having the right type, is as essential as packing your passport.

Finding out what type of coverage you already have is the first step. Research the details of your homeowner’s insurance and your existing health-care policy. Then contact your credit card company to find out if they offer insurance perks for situations such as lost or delayed baggage, trip cancellation or accidental death.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
This coverage is designed to help you get money back when you need to cancel your trip or if your tour company goes under. Base the need of this insurance on the cost of your ticket or trip. If you are flying from Vancouver to Calgary, you can likely forego it. If you are taking an expensive trip-of-a-lifetime, then buy insurance. And look for a policy that will cover you returning home early if there is a problem at your destination.

Baggage Insurance
Although airlines are liable for lost or damaged luggage, what they offer you will likely not cover what is lost. The limit for lost, delayed, or damaged baggage is $3,000 per passenger on a domestic flight and about $450 per bag for an international flight. If you do want extra insurance, travel experts suggest asking the counter agent for “excess valuation.” This provides you with up to $5,000 additional coverage.

Health-care Insurance

Many people make the very big mistake of assuming that, while travelling, their medical needs will be covered by their existing health-care insurance. If you are travelling outside of your own country, check your policy. If you are not covered, be sure to purchase medical insurance. Also buy a policy that covers “medical evacuation and repatriation” insurance. In other words, if you are sick or injured while in another country, you will be treated, stabilized and then flown back to your own country.

A Final Note
Be sure to buy all of your insurance through third-party insurers rather than travel agents or cruise lines. The reason is simple — if your travel company goes bankrupt, they won’t have the money to pay out the insurance.

Knowing you’ve covered your bases will make you a more confident traveller. Bon Voyage!

– Tune in Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. EST/PST on the W Network and be sure to visit for more tips.