One of the biggest questions that I get asked from people looking to travel overseas is “Do I really Need Travel Insurance?”
I want to take the time to talk about travel insurance with you since it’s such an important topic. Your going to learn about the different types of travel insurance and what you should look for in a good policy.
What is Travel Insurance?
One of the biggest misconceptions about travel insurance is that it just covers you for medical emergencies while your abroad. While this is a big part of what most insurance policies cover, generally you will be covered for a lot more.
Travel Insurance can cover a wide range of circumstances including:
–Lost/Stolen/Broken Gear during your trip.
–Medical evacuation in case you need to be transported to a major hospital for treatment.
–Trip cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances.
What Coverage Should you Look for?
Before you buy insurance ahead of your travels you need to do your research. Look at a few different companies and see what they have to offer. When you become a seasoned traveller, you will have a favourite travel insurance company and stick with them for the majority of your trips.
Most good policies will have:
–High Coverage Limit
A good policy will normally have $100,000 USD coverage for your medical expenses. I definitely recommend getting a policy with at least $100,000 USD coverage in case of any emergencies.
–Medical Expenses Protection
If you are injured or fall suddenly ill, you want to make sure that you’re covered for any expenses you may incur while overseas. You will not be covered for any costs due to pre-existing medical conditions.
This is different to normal medical insurance and is for when you need to be airlifted to hospital or transported out of a remote area. With helicopters being expensive, I recommend having a policy with at least $200,000 USD emergency evacuation coverage.
–Coverage for Most Countries
While most companies don’t offer travel insurance for every country, you want your policy to cover you for most countries. Be sure to check which countries are covered under your policy.
–24 Hour Emergency Services
If there is an emergency, you want to know that there is someone you can talk to about your policy at any time of the day.
If any company you use goes bankrupt including airlines and hotels, you want to know that those expenses will be covered and there will be a way home so your not stuck in a foreign country.
If there is an emergency and you need to cancel your trip, you want to make sure your covered. This includes a sudden death in the family, sudden illness and natural disasters.
There is nothing worse than having your gear stolen, lost or damaged. If you have a lot of expensive gear, I recommend taking out additional coverage for your gear, because most basic policies only offer partial repayment of stolen, lost or damaged gear.
Do you Really Need Travel Insurance?
So…the million dollar question…do you really need travel insurance?
Although you might not believe me, this really can be a million dollar question. If you are badly injured in a remote area of the world and need to be airlifted out by helicopter, taken to a hospital and have surgery, the costs become sky high (like a helicopter).
While the chances of this happening are slim to none, for a few dollars a month, isn’t it worth having piece of mind knowing that you can enjoy your trip and not have to worry about being injured.
Making a Claim
In case you need to make an insurance claim, be sure to store copies of all your documents. You should also take photos of all your gear with a date, description and price of each item.
If you ever have to make a claim for stolen gear, make sure you file a police report immediately after the incident.
Be prepared to wait a while when making a claim because it takes time for travel insurance providers to validate a claim and reimburse you.
During my time overseas I’ve had my fair share of close calls, although I’ve never had to make a claim.
For the 5 years that I’ve been living abroad, I decided not to get travel insurance for about 6 months. I had already been buying insurance for a few years and never made a claim, so I decided to stop buying insurance.
During that 6 month period without insurance I got myself into a number of sticky situations. There was one incident in particular that made me swear I would always get insurance anytime I was overseas.
In early 2014, I fell off my motorcycle while driving to University. This not only caused extensive damage to my motorcycle but left me rather injured. Struggling to move both my arms and legs for a couple of months made me think how great it would be to go to the hospital.
But I didn’t have any insurance so I couldn’t go. I was a student and only working part time and couldn’t afford to go to the hospital for a check up to make sure everything was alright. It took about 2 months before my arms were back to normal and I stopped limping. A further 4 months passed before I could afford to get my motorcycle repaired.
Don’t be as stupid as I was!!!
It was a silly decision on my part and one that I regret even to this day. Pay the few extra dollars for insurance a month and you will have piece of mind and not have to worry about hurting yourself every time you get an opportunity to do something fun.
What I Use
For the past few years I’ve been using World Nomads as my Travel Insurance provider. They offer great, affordable plans that cover a wide range of things.
Here are a few of the reasons why I like World Nomads:
- You can extend when your plans change.
- Buy even if you’re already overseas.
- Covers your gear, from iPads to laptops to digital cameras.
- You can claim online while you are still travelling.
- Is available to travellers from most countries.
- Covers most adventure activities.
- Has exceptional worldwide Emergency Assistance should something go wrong.
My final advice is to make sure you read the fine print and know what your covered for and what your not covered for. Most policies won’t cover you for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you’re going to be doing any dangerous activities such as extreme sport (skiing/snowboarding, bungee jumping etc.) or riding a motorcycle/scooter, you may have to pay extra for additional coverage.
Do your research and compare different policies to see which one is right for you. Insure My Trip is a great website that compares different policy options.
Do the smart thing and take out a Travel Insurance Policy. The last thing you want to worry about when you’re abroad is to have to spend thousands of dollars in the event that something serious does happen to you. Pay a few dollars a month and enjoy your good health.
What Travel Insurance Provider do you use? Have you ever had to make a claim?