Before I get into my tips for buying the best TRAVEL INSURANCE policy, let me just say this,
“If you can’t afford TRAVEL INSURANCE, then you can’t afford to travel”.
It’s that simple. Let’s face it. You don’t hesitate at purchasing car insurance when you buy a car, or house and contents insurance when you buy a home. So why not TRAVEL INSURANCE??
WHAT IS TRAVEL INSURANCE?
TRAVEL INSURANCE is financial security against accidents that may happen on your trip. It will provide you with medical coverage if you get sick or injured on your journey, reimburse you if your new iPhone gets stolen or your flight gets canceled, or if a family member dies and you need to go home. It’s protection against those emergencies that can come out of nowhere and cost you dearly if you are not prepared.
Since most health programs will not cover you overseas and credit cards often provide minimum protection, buying a good travel insurance is a no-brainer.
WHY BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE?
I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you why I NEVER travel without TRAVEL INSURANCE.
- For me, it’s peace of mind knowing that if I do get sick I do not run the risk of potentially running up huge medical bills and that there will be someone there to pick up the tab if I get unlucky and need to go to the hospital.
- It means that I can do the activities that I love like skiing, surfing, diving, and kitesurfing without worrying about the financial consequences of an accident.
- It means that there is someone I can call if I am in the middle of Cambodia with malaria symptoms, who will tell me what hospital I should go to or even more importantly which ones I should avoid.
- And if my bags get lost or stolen, at least I know I haven’t lost everything. I have someone to call that can help me with some emergency money if all my credit cards and money are stolen.
IF I’M ONLY GOING TO CHEAP COUNTRIES LIKE THAILAND, DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Sorry, but inexpensive countries don’t mean affordable medical care. Thailand, for instance, is among the world’s most expensive countries to get hospitalized in. And if you do get sick in some remote part of South East Asia chances are you may need to be airlifted to Bangkok or Singapore for proper treatment. That stuff is crazy expensive.
And it gets worse, in some countries like for instance Japan, hospitals can refuse to treat you if you can’t show them a valid travel insurance!
IS TRAVEL INSURANCE EXPENSIVE?
The price can vary depending on your age, medical history, where you are going, how long you will be traveling for and what you planning to do during your trip. Activities like hiking in Nepal, which is considered a high-risk activity with potentially enormous costs for medical evacuation, will for instance often add a bit to the price of an insurance.
But on average, for a regular travel insurance, we are just talking a few dollars per day. Less than you spend on a smoothie, a coffee at Starbucks or a beer!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Not all TRAVEL INSURANCE are created equal. Make sure you read the fine print of your policy. I can only tell you what we look for and you will have to decide for yourselves. We look for a TRAVEL INSURANCE that:
- Has sufficient coverage to pay for any medical expenses. Typically at least 100.000 USD, preferably more.
- Covers both injury and sudden illness
- Will cover emergency evacuation and care, so if I get injured on a trek in the jungle, it will cover the expenses to get me to the hospital.
- Will pay for transportation back home to my own country if necessary
- Includes the activities that I enjoy. If you think you might do a scuba diving course then make sure your insurance covers you for that. Sometimes you need to purchase extra coverage for more extreme activities like kitesurfing or horseback riding.
- Covers the countries I want to visit. Make sure your insurance covers you in high-cost countries like Japan and the US if you are traveling there.
- Can be extended while traveling if my travel plans change
- Covers my most important valuables should they get lost or stolen
- Has a twenty-four-hour emergency contact number I can call to get help
- Cover cancellations if myself or a family member get sick and we can’t travel after all
- Covers any political unrest or emergency situations that may result in the trip getting cut short
- Claims can be filed online
- Is reasonably priced
WHAT A TRAVEL INSURANCE IS NOT
TRAVEL INSURANCE is not a license to behave like an idiot. In fact, if you get injured because you were incredibly reckless then you might find that your TRAVEL INSURANCE may refuse to cover you. For instance, you can’t drive a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol and expect to be covered. Also, any third party damage you cause is often not covered.
Some insurances will refuse to cover adventurous activities, and their definition of adventurous can vary a lot. Read the policy carefully so you are sure you know what it will and won’t cover.
ANNUAL POLICY OR SINGLE TRIP COVER?
When searching for the best TRAVEL INSURANCE policy you should have a basic idea of your travel habits and plans in advance in order to choose the right policy.
If you know you are going to travel several times within in a year, an annual TRAVEL INSURANCE policy (multi-trip policy) covers all your trips and can be far more cost-effective – they do have a maximum duration per trip though!
Otherwise, stick with a single trip travel insurance policy!
HOW TO REDUCE TRAVEL INSURANCE PREMIUMS
A few tips on ways you may be able to reduce your premiums:
Check Your Home Insurance Policy
- If traveling domestically, often home insurance policies may include coverage for personal belongings outside your home. This will help you save on travel insurance costs.
Buy Direct and Online
- When buying the best TRAVEL INSURANCE, it tends to be cheaper online and direct through an insurance provider.
- Travel agents and airlines can get staggeringly large commissions from insurers for selling policies, sometimes up to 50%. Do your research just in case you discover an anomaly.
Traveling in a Group
- If you are traveling in a group for business or leisure, you could save by purchasing one group policy instead of one policy for each individual.
- Check your other insurance providers, e.g. car and house as you could get a discount for a travel policy since you are already a customer.
- Remember our Golden Rule, if you don’t ask the answer is always no. You can always highlight their competitor who charges less for the same coverage.
Family Travel Insurance
- For families, some of the best travel insurance policies will cover kids for free.
Travel cover is a common add-on with select credit cards. Read the fine print and contact your bank to check for details. Obtain written confirmation that you are covered, what the insurance covers, and who to contact in an emergency.
Keep in mind:
- Credit card TRAVEL INSURANCE may not provide medical or evacuation coverage
- You may have to pay for a higher level credit card in order to get insurance benefits
- Restrictions on what is covered and the limits
- You have to pay for the flights or other travel-related expenses using that credit card in order to get covered!
Also, many basic policies cannot be activated without producing a copy of your credit card and do not cover any business or sporting activities, such as rafting. And it’s not uncommon for the insurance to only last three months and once overseas, coverage cannot be extended. Personally, I wouldn’t rely on credit card travel insurance.
- Honestly, buying TRAVEL INSURANCE can be so cheap it’s a no-brainer. Peace of mind is priceless!
- I would much rather spend an extra $100 or so for our trip and most likely never use the insurance than wipe out my bank account if something did happen.
- Call it what you like – vacation insurance, trip insurance or holiday insurance, not having insurance is not worth the risk. Anything can, will, and sometimes goes wrong. If it does and you are not insured, you can be up for a lot of money AND inconvenience.