This travel insurance guide arms you with all the information you need to know to understand how travel insurance works, why it’s a critical part of your trip, and how to book the best travel insurance deal. Travel insurance policies can differ in their terms and conditions however, so ensure to carefully review the specific policy before you purchase.
I never go on a trip without travel insurance, and it is the one thing I tell my friends to never leave home without when going traveling. My first experience was needing some medical treatment in the USA, which amounted to USD $900 per hour. Luckily, I just made a co-pay of $20 and the rest was covered by my Insurer. Phew!
Why Travel Insurance?
Travel is becoming one of the most important aspects of our culture. It’s now more accessible, affordable and professionally acceptable than ever before. Some of your friends may even expect you to travel!
This new trend of travel is an amazing step towards a closer, more understanding world, but what many people forget is that travel is an incredibly high risk activity. Seriously, it can be dangerous. You’re in a foreign place, exploring daily, partaking in activities you usually wouldn’t back home, with people you’ve just met or barely know.
Whilst this is the allure of travel, and what i believe is the key to personal growth, it’s important to not overlook the reality that by traveling, we put ourselves in a position to potentially have more misfortunes to our health, belongings and finances. High risk, high reward – it just goes with the territory.
When you’re a budget traveler, travel insurance is the last thing you want to spend money on. You may not even use it, so what’s the point! For many of us (myself included), we think we’ll never:
- Have an accident;
- End up alone in hospital in another country;
- Have our camera or laptop stolen in a hostel;
- Be mugged on the street;
- Have our airline or tour operator not honour what we paid for;
- Experience a natural disaster or need to be evacuated; or
- Die on a trip.
Each traveler’s potential loss varies and shifts according to a scale of the length of time they spend traveling, where they go and the activities they do. As you might imagine, the probability increases on the continuum, but the fact is you don’t have to be on the extreme end to be in a risky situation. You could be away for a short 7-day holiday and experience something grim.
Luckily, we don’t need to have a million dollars saved in the bank in case of an emergency. We can happily travel without that. All we need instead is travel insurance. Simply having this can significantly minimise the considerable risks of traveling, whether it’s illness, theft, accidents, missed flights or cancelled tours, lost baggage, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and emergency evacuations, or death.
If you’ve gone as far as planning your trip, don’t cheap out and not buy travel insurance and then regret it when something goes wrong. The expenses you’ll be working to pay out of pocket will be the thing stopping you from potentially traveling again for a long time. Instead, get travel insurance so you can enjoy your holiday with peace of mind, get the care you need when you need it, and not go potentially broke!
How Travel Insurance Works
Travel insurance covers problems that threaten you, your belongings and arranged plans in case of an emergency. Travel insurance will not cover the essentials of your trip that you failed to arrange yourself, e.g., accommodation, food, clothing, and adequate connection times between transport (unless this is a result of an accident which is covered).
When To Buy Travel Insurance
You may purchase travel insurance before or during your trip. Some insurance providers, if you have a pre-existing medical condition you need covered, you should purchase coverage as soon as possible as some insurers require you to be insured for a certain period before your departure date. Otherwise, if you become ill or have a medical condition preventing you from going on your trip and haven’t met this requirement, you may be liable for costs.
Where To Buy Travel Insurance
You can purchase travel insurance through your travel agent, your regular insurance company, or online. Shop around however, as travel agents and big insurance companies often sell overpriced policies. I find comparing policies online to be the best option.
Avoid buying “flight insurance” which is sold at some airports. This is a very overpriced form of accidental death coverage valid only for the duration of your flight.
Don’t waste your money with cruise insurance either. Whilst usually low in cost, they cover the bare minimum, so are not a good option if you are looking to take full advantage of the locations you will be visiting.
Making A Claim
In the event that you need to make a claim, it’s critical to contact your insurer as soon as possible. Most insurers have a 24/7 hotline that you can call, or an actively monitored email address just for making claims. Some insurers will not honour your claim if you advise them outside a certain period of time.
If you need to be evacuated, do not arrange your own transport unless your life is in danger. Otherwise, talk to the insurer first as your insurer may have their own means to arrange your evacuation and therefore avoid costs. They may not reimburse you for an evacuation if it is self-arranged.
Remember that all claims will need to be documented. If you are claiming medical expenses, you will need receipts. Likewise, if you are claiming for theft, you will need a police report detailing the stolen item/s and their value. You may also need to provide proof of the original purchase