Why is it such a fundamental necessity to get travel insurance before stepping out your doorstep? Does it subtract from the very core of being a free and independent traveler?
Actually, no. True freedom means being able to take away all the worry that lurks in the back of the mind when you don’t have comprehensive travel cover. Whether skiing on snow or water, jumping out of planes or just tripping down temple stairs, travel insurance has your back.
The list of travel illness and injury horror stories make interesting reading for anyone who wants cautionary tales. From the middle-aged lady who scratched a mosquito bite on a Bali beach and got impetigo to the snowboarder getting frostbite, the possibility for a visit to the doctor/hospital doesn’t take a vacation just because you have.
The highest category at risk for skipping travel insurance is usually visitors who have free medical care in their home country. Citizens from Britain and Canada often struggle to comprehend how devastatingly expensive it can be to fall sick in the beautiful lands they visit.
Picture courtesy of South Central Ontario Systems & Services.
Travel insurers are much more than just dry institutions, silently skimming no claims bonuses from millions of travelers. The insurance community has listened to the travel needs of every age group and economic sector and created some really user-friendly services.
What Should I Look for in a Good Travel Insurance Policy?
A good policy for any international traveler, is one that offers value for money. Look for travel insurance policies that provide:
- The correct amount of cover at a reasonable premium
- A 24-hour Emergency Assistance contact desk that is reachable from your destination
- An efficient and fair claims process
- The general quality of the policy along with premium costs. The cheapest in not always the best.
What Should a Travel Insurance Policy Cover?
Look for a policy the covers events that are best for you. Read the terms thoroughly to check this before buying, as some will be subject to certain conditions. As each policy is different, check carefully what the inclusions (what the policy covers) and exclusions (what the policy does not cover) are on each one you consider.
Look for –
- Medical evacuation and repatriation
- Travel cancellation and deferment costs
- Medical expenses
- Baggage, devices and personal effects cover
- Emergency travel arrangements
- Rental vehicle costs
- Death expenses
- Personal liabilities and legal costs
There may be some event descriptions in the above list that make you immediately switch to “It won’t happen to me” mode. But please remember that travel insurance is, first and foremost, a plan to make you enjoy your holiday with carefree abandon. Just because something is on the policy doesn’t mean it will happen.
Travel insurance is a solid investment before any trip. Once all the benefits are known it will be easy to avoid that Homer Simpson moment of saying “Doh!” if something bad happens. There are policies for the staider tourist and there are policies for the adventure junky like World Nomads.
Keep in mind, before you cheerfully hop on the transport to the great wide open without travel insurance, the quote from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade – “If you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel.”