Travel insurance isn’t the first thing you think of when you start planning a trip abroad. Researching beaches, hotels, and restaurants is so much more fun, right? However, travel insurance has become all the more important now that we all know what it’s like to live through a global pandemic. Today I want to talk about travel insurance and how it can protect you from unexpected travel mishaps!
Most people don’t think travel insurance is necessary but they couldn’t be more wrong. Traveling abroad exposes you to different germs that your body may not have any protection against. Even in western countries, the risk is still present.
I personally had to go to the hospital during my second trip to Madrid in 2017 after contracting a nasty flu virus. I was a healthy twenty-something so the whole thing was very surprising. After getting stuck with a 300 euro hospital bill, I knew that purchasing travel insurance would have been worth it.
When to Buy Travel Insurance
Generally speaking, it’s always best to buy travel insurance right after booking your trip. What if the airline goes bankrupt? What if you become sick and can’t travel at the last minute? What if borders are closed due to a global pandemic? All of these scenarios may seem far fetched, but as we learned in 2020, everything is possible!
You’ll get the best rates if you buy insurance before leaving home!
Don’t panic if you are already on your trip, though, World Nomads is one of the few insurance companies that let you buy coverage after you’ve already departed on your trip!
Travel Insurance Coverage
From contracting malaria in Tanzania to dengue fever in Vietnam, there are dozens of ways that having travel insurance can give you peace of mind. When searching for travel insurance, it’s important to be sure you understand what is and isn’t covered! There are many different types of travel insurance, too which may cover other events like theft or trip cancellation. Here are some aspects of travel insurance to consider and the best reasons to consider getting a policy.
1. Medical Costs
Whether you suffer an accident or develop a sudden illness, make sure you’re covered for medical costs associated with hospitalization and medical costs. You can find plans for less than $1 a day that cover up to €30,000 for example. Be sure you understand the limits of the coverage as well as the average cost of hospitalization in the country where you’re traveling to. Check if there is a deductible – a minimum you have to reach before reimbursement kicks in, as well.
2. Trip Cancellation
If your trip gets cancelled due to inclement weather, travel restrictions, or a global pandemic, it’s important to know if your travel insurance covers the costs of re-booking due to trip cancellation! Will the price of a hotel stay be included if you are stranded overnight somewhere? These are important questions to ask.
Theft is an unfortunate reality of traveling these days. While hotel rooms offer some security through safety deposit boxes, the rise of Airbnbs means you are at a greater risk of residential theft during your time in one. While a Pacsafe provides some protection for valuables like a passport or electronics, it can be impractical to lock up all your valuables when traveling. Ask if your travel insurance covers theft of electronics – their full value or just a portion?
4. Lost Luggage
Lost luggage is becoming more and more common, which is why most travel bloggers recommend you pack an extra set of clothing in your carry-on luggage. If you don’t, you could suspend your entire trip without the essentials you packed! Insurance for misplaced luggage could reimburse you for your expenses incurred while your suitcase is lost in transit.
5. Emergency Evacuation
If a natural disaster strikes and you’re forced to evacuate the country, does your insurance cover this? The 2012 film “The Impossible” depicted the incredible true story of how a tsunami in Thailand turned one family’s vacation upside down.
Terrorism is a real threat to travel in modern times. In the event of a terrorist attack, does your insurance plan permit reimbursement of the costs to flee the country you traveled to?
7. Adventurous Sports
Accidents that are out of your control are generally covered, but what if you willingly engage in a dangerous activity like skydiving or rock climbing? Check to see that these types of activities are covered by your policy if you intend on participating in them!
8. Some Countries Require It
Did you know that some countries require you to have travel medical insurance in order to enter? While Americans who visit the Schengen Zone of Europe are not required to show proof of insurance, many other countries want to know that you will not be a financial burden on their healthcare system.
9. Get a Group Discount
If you’re traveling with a group of people, ask if you can get a group discount if you join up on the same insurance policy. Many companies are happy to do this.
10. Peace of Mind
One of the best reasons to get travel insurance is for simple peace of mind as you travel. As they say, the only constant is change and it’s better to sleep at night knowing you are covered in case of an unexpected hiccup in your journey.
Travel Insurance Companies
So what are the best travel insurance companies to buy from? Let’s take a peek at a few options:
Best for Long-Term Insurance: SafetyWing
SafetyWing is backed by some of the largest insurance companies and is ideal for long-term travelers. Pay a low fixed monthly price and get coverage around the world. Plans start as low as $40 for 4 weeks! The plan renews automatically until you decide to cancel it. You are even covered for short trips back to your home country (15 days in the US) every 3 months.
Best for Trip Based Insurance: World Nomads
World Nomads offers affordable insurance policies for trips. Simply fill in your trip details, country of residence and age, and get a quote.
Best for Long-Stay Visas: Axa
I used AXA Assurance Voyage for my visa application when moving to France. Be sure to check with them to verify that the plan you choose qualifies for your visa’s needs!
I hope this article helped shed some light on travel insurance! Let me know if you have any questions or experience with travel insurance you’d like to share!