Let’s talk about everything you need to know about travel insurance. It might be boring but is important. Let’s talk about what it is, when you need it and how to get it. Ready? Good. Read on.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is protection against anything bad that can happen while you are on the road, from losing your luggage to losing your life. Insurance is one of those things that you never need until you do. So let’s start with what travel insurance covers. The basic categories are:
- Medical Insurance
- Emergency Evacuation
- Accidental death and dismemberment
- Travel protection
- Baggage protection
Plans typically combine coverage from all these categories. So the way to save money is knowing what you do and don’t need. Got that? Now, let’s dive into each category.
Medical Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment
Nobody likes to think about dying or serious injury but you want this sort of coverage, just in case…
This insurance pays for you to be airlifted to a local hospital, or flown all the way back home. Imagine that you are backpacking somewhere remote like the Canadian Rockies. You fall off a clip and you need a helicopter ride to go back to the hospital and save your life. Helicopter rides to the hospital are not cheap or if you get a serious accident in a developing country where there’s not a great health care system, emergency evacuation insurance will pay for you to fly home so you can get proper treatment in your own country. Without insurance, these situations can bankrupt you and your family.
There are countless bars in Southeast Asia with collection jars for backpackers who got in a motorcycle accident. They are too broke to fly back home… Don’t be that person.
Travel protection will reimburse you the cost of your trip if for some reason you have to cancel at the last minute. With travel protection, you get back the money from your flights as well as any other reservation that you made in advance. So do you need this? If you’re the traveller who likes to book everything in advance then it probably makes sense to buy this. But, if you prefer to arrive at your destination and wing it, you probably don’t need it. Also, keep in mind if you buy your airfare on your credit card, you could be insured from your credit card so just double check before you make a purchase.
This is the last type of insurance which covers anything loss or damage on your flight. Airlines are liable for any baggage lost or stolen up to a certain amount and if you bought your tickets with a credit card, that should have some coverage as well. Just make sure you check the limits and get insurance for anything over that.
You can also ensure your possessions against theft, loss or damage which is really smart if you carry around a laptop and camera equipment. Again, you might already have the coverage if you have renters or homeowners insurance, so just check your policy to make sure.
Whichever plan you choose, make sure that it includes the following coverage:
- Coverage in the country you’re visiting. Obvious, but crucial.
- Adequate protection for your valuables.
- 24-hour assistance.
- Medical coverage for injuries and illnesses.
- Protection from natural disasters, civil unrest, war or anything else that might turn your holiday into a hell-a-day.
Finally, remember most plans do not cover the following:
- Extreme sports – skydiving, hang gliding, bungee jumping or snowboarding off-peak.
- Any accidents that happen when you are drunk or high.
- Car accidents that involve a third-party.
Basically, if you do anything dumb or reckless, you’re out of luck. So be smart. If anything does happen, you’re gonna have to file a claim to get reimbursed. No matter which company you choose, their insurer is going to do everything they can to not pay you.
So remember to keep track of your receipts, tickets, hotel bookings or whatever electronics you bring with you. Filing a claim is a pain in the ass, can take a lot of time and there’s a ton of paperwork. So make sure you double checked everything before you send it in or else you’re gonna have to do it all over again.
Before travelling, we also recommend you to check the validity of your GHIC (FORMERLY KNOWN AS EHIC). If that’s not done yet, please click here >
And finally, check the validity of your passport. If you wish to renew it, please click here >
Keep safe, be safe!
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