11 Things You Didn't Know About Travel Insurance

The last thing we're going to do is spin some sad story about that one time we were on a trip and had our camera, laptop, [insert other expensive item here] stolen or damaged beyond repair. We all know it happens, we all think it won't happen to us and one more story won't change that. [slideshow:939]

We're not going to push you to buy travel insurance—that's not our job—and frankly, we're a little put-off by the premise of success in the travel insurance industry. In order for them to make money they must convince travelers that something could, and probably will, go wrong. You should enjoy your trip, not worry about it, and for some people the piece of mind that insurance offers is money well spent. Note: if you're a chronic worrier, travel insurance is a great investment. But this is not one of those purchases you should make because other people are doing it or because you read that it was important on a travel blog.

We'll let you know why you might not need it, where to go if you want it and how much you should be paying for it. Our only goal is to give you the most accurate and realistic assessment of travel insurance.

Read: Things You Didn't Know About Travel Insurance

The popularity of travel insurance has grown in the poor state of the economy, with people eager to protect their hard-earned vacations. At last report, more than 27 million American travelers spent almost $1.8 billion on travel insurance in 2010, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA). That number is up from $1.6 billion in 2008 and even more so from $1.3 billion in 2006.

The vast majority of travelers who bought insurance, 94 percent, bought policies that featured trip cancelation coverage in 2010. The remaining six percent bought travel medical insurance, medical evacuation insurance or both.

 If you're looking into travel insurance we would suggest first taking a look at your existing insurance and credit card policies, as they may cover you abroad. Then identify what coverage you need and shop around online.

Above all, you are the best person to decide whether or not you need travel insurance. If you're 80 years old and going to climb Everest, you probably want to look into medical insurance and medical evacuation options. A travel photographer will likely want to insure their equipment and if you have similar liabilities, you might want to consider insurance. Before you decide, plan your trip, do your research and read the things you didn't know about travel insurance.