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Your regular medical insurance covers you abroad, if your credit card company includes insurance on purchases, if your homeowners (or renters) insurance covers your belongings regardless of location. Many existing forms of insurance cover more than you may think, check before you make the investment in travel insurance. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Alan Cleaver Click here to see the full Slideshow for Things You Need to Know About Travel Insurance

You're young and in good health, if you aren't planning potentially dangerous adventures or if you would classify the trip as low to moderate cost. Additionally, travel insurance is not very useful if it's a short domestic trip or a trip with a simple itinerary and few connecting flights. Ultimately the choice is yours, while anything can happen, the majority of Americans (either wisely or foolishly, depending on who you ask) travel without insurance. Photo Credit: © Flickr / David Hilowitz

Most experts recommend spending between four and 10 percent of the total trip cost. So, if you spent 3,000 USD and you decide to insure your trip, you should be spending between 120 USD and 300 USD on insurance. Any less means you'll likely be lacking in protection or the policy is a scam and more than 10 percent is typically exorbitant and unnecessary. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Konstantin Lazorkin Click here to see the full Slideshow for Things You Need to Know About Travel Insurance

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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.

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Just like searching for and comparing a hotel or flight on Kayak, you can find a travel insurance plan on an aggregator site. Two favorites are Square Mouth and Insure My Trip. There are plenty of other choices out there; these are just two of the better choices. But it's always a good idea to buy sooner, rather than later. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Michal Osmenda

-Diana Gerstacker, The Active Times

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.

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.

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.

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This seemingly obvious statement needs to be addressed. Your travel agent might not have your best interests in mind when pushing you to opt in to their insurance--that was the case for me when booking my latest trip. Read the conditions carefully and if they pressure you, walk away. There are plenty of other insurers out there and a search engine doesn't make commission. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Kompania Piwowarska Click here to see the full Slideshow for Things You Need to Know About Travel Insurance

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.

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.