These days, you can take out an insurance policy on everything from your left leg to your labradoodle, but that doesn’t mean you need to. So when it comes to buying insurance for business trips, it may sound like just another silly expense — but don’t turn your nose up just yet.
Sure, as a small business CEO, your financial decisions have farther-reaching implications than they would if you ran a big-wig business. But some of the perks of a travel insurance policy may be worth the extra cost.
Consider, for example, these all-too-common scenarios:
1. You’re heading home with a meeting hangover
Tired doesn’t even begin to describe it, but the weather gods don’t seem to care. Your flight is canceled due to severe storms, and the airline assumes no responsibility. Now you have to cover the costs of overnight lodging yourself.
2. Your business event is canceled
You just spent a good chunk of your travel budget to attend an important conference only to find out that the organizer is canceling at the last minute. While your conference ticket is refunded, you still have to eat the costs of a car rental, hotel, and flight back.
3. Your personal effects are damaged or stolen
A thief decided to nab your tablet, phone, or computer while you were on the road. The worst part? You need a computer to show your proposal to your client. Looks like you have to head down to Apple to grab a new one.
4. You arrive, but your bags don’t
It looks like you’ll be stopping at the nearest outlet mall to buy the essentials until your luggage shows up.
When you’re traveling for pleasure, canceled flights and lost baggage are merely inconvenient and annoying. But when you (or your employees) are traveling for business, these mishaps can directly affect your bottom line. In all of these cases, travel insurance would help cover the added expenses that are about to drain your bank account and refund what the airlines usually claim is nonrefundable.
Other Types of Travel Insurance
So what happens when you or one of your employees gets sick or injured while on the road? Remember, if your employees are traveling on your time and your dime, you’re responsible for them.
That’s where medical travel insurance could come in handy. A medical travel insurance policy extends your employees’ medical coverage. (Plus, it’s a nice perk to show your employees you care about their health and well-being.) It will also save your business an unexpected headache if employees have a medical emergency or contract a local influenza.
It’s a win-win, really (besides the whole influenza part).
Some companies will also offer travel delay insurance, which will require the airline to reimburse you for expenses accumulated because of the delay. Think along the lines of meals, accommodations, and transportation.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Travel Insurance Policy
Luckily, to determine whether travel insurance is worth it, all you have to do is think like a businessperson — something you’re familiar with.
First, consider the total cost of the trip against the cost of the insurance. How much is at stake? If it’s an international trip and you’re forking over big bucks (more than $5,000, according to most experts) to get from point A to point B, insure it. If your business plans are fickle for a particular trip, simply purchase cancellation coverage. If your itinerary involves catching numerous planes, shell out the money for coverage.
However, there are also situations in which travel insurance might not make sense for your business.
For example, it’s not worth the cost if you’re traveling domestically and your trip costs less than $5,000 — period. Keep in mind that additional medical coverage definitely isn’t necessary because your staff’s medical coverage is valid within your own country. And in most cases, you can skip cancellation and baggage insurance if it’s a domestic trip.
Simply consider whether you’re willing to lose what you’ve spent on the trip. If it won’t hurt your finances, skip insurance. Another thing to consider is that there are certain situations in which travel insurance can get a little tricky.
When it comes to investing in travel insurance, the jury is still out for many small business owners. Travel insurance can be a good investment — and it can be a bad one. It never hurts to explore the potential cost of coverage, but at the end of the day, do what’s best for your business.