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Explore options when considering travel insurance

The Minnesota Department of Commerce wants consumers to know that travel insurance is not required to travel. However, it may benefit some consumers but not all.

Travel insurance is used to protect against the loss of non-refundable travel costs, such as airfare, hotel and tour expenses. Some travel insurance policies offer limited protection against losses due to medical emergencies, damage to personal property, and even death.

Before you buy travel insurance, review the policies you have now. If you have life, health or homeowners insurance, you may not need to buy certain types of travel insurance.

Read your policy and speak with your insurance company or agent to learn what personal property and medical coverage you have while you're traveling. Also ask what insurance benefits you may have if you use a credit card to pay for the trip.

Travel insurance may be a smart buy for some people. It can potentially save consumers money and provides some travelers a peace of mind.

Different types of traveler's insurance include trip cancellation/delay/interruption insurance, medical/accidental death insurance and baggage/rental car damage insurance.

Beware of "opt-out" travel insurance, which automatically signs up consumers for travel insurance unless they state they do not want it. This tactic can cause rushed consumers to buy optional products that they otherwise would not have selected.

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If you have a problem with a company that sold you a travel insurance policy, contact the Commerce Department's consumer response team at 1-800-657-3602.