The Noob’s Guide to Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is among the most critical aspects of travel planning, but it is still somehow the most neglected. And while this is not a glamorous topic, it is important to ensure that you are safe, and that life happens, and life always happens! Imagine how difficult it will be to have a health emergency, lose your luggage, or get your expensive photography equipment stolen while on the road without coverage. These are all things that we hope will never happen of course but should intend for if you are planning a short-term domestic trip or a round-the-world trip.

Prevention is cheaper than treatment, as the old saying goes. Insurance is structured to cover the significant financial risks that you don’t want to bear on your own. Sometimes you might feel that there is no need of travel insurance this time, but it would give you a sense of security. It is important especially when you are going on big budget trips with costly bookings.

Buying travel insurance is often an issue. After reading this article I hope it will help you understand the importance of travel insurance better.

Why you need travel insurance?

It’s never a good idea to travel without an insurance plan, especially if you travel through unknown regions and have laws and regulations that vary from the one you know in your region. Not only does an insurance plan help protect you from unsafe health and financial threats, but it also gives an assurance on your journey which may include fun things that are slightly risky. Accidents occur and we cannot avoid them all the time, but you will not have to face the entire cost of a loss if you are covered by the insurance system. It will also offer a peace of mind not only for you but for your friends and family too.

What do travel insurance policies cover?

What basically is travel insurance, and what will it cover? Travel insurance is a travel accident antibody. It helps you to avoid and resolve situations beyond your power. Below are the main things travel insurance should cover.

Ø Medical Emergencies

While we often exercise safety and caution, illness or injury can strike at any time. Travel medical insurance is intended to include coverage in case of emergency medical needs when away. This also covers the cost of ambulances, prescription medications, hospital treatment, and emergency department expenses. Some services also cover medical evacuation and restitution. Before you buy travel medical benefits, you should be familiar with your medical history as any costs incurred due to a pre-existing illness will not be provided. We suggest keeping your receipts to prevent any issues when you are applying for claim so that you have proofs.

Ø Trip cancellation or interruption

When you have to cancel your travel arrangements before departure due to unexpected circumstances, sickness or accident, travel cancellation compensation would cover the non-refundable component of your travel expense. Trip disruption insurance covers the expenses that you will incur in the event that you have to return home before or after your scheduled return date due to sudden death, illness, or accident that affects you, your immediate family member, or your travel companion. It usually also refers to any unused sections of your prepaid travel plans that are non-refundable. 

  • Baggage and personal possessions

Think of arriving at the airport and waiting for your suitcase to appear and travel your travel adventures. Minutes fly by and you are still not finding yours while others grab their luggage. You slowly get engulfed in fear and quietly hope to hear more about your dear luggage… but when your baggage does not come on the transporter belt, your hope dissipates. You should be aware that –

  1. It might take a couple of weeks to even recognize the lost baggage of an airline,
  2. The value of personal belongings is not valued in close proximity to what you actually spent on baggage
  3. Aviation companies have strong liability limits which may not cover some of your products.

Ø Emergency medical assistance, evacuation, and repatriation

This coverage covers medical bills when you get sick or injured on a flight. A medical evacuation plan covers for moving you to the closest hospital, and medical restitution pays for carrying you to your homeland.

Ø Rental car Insurance

This will pay for fixing your rental car if it is destroyed in a crash, an attacker, or a natural disaster. The policy does not include liability insurance which covers damage to other cars or for the medical care of others if you have caused an accident and are held liable. Car insurance policies are complicated since they differ from country to country.  Some companies only cover excess and not the full repair cost of your rental car. In general, you can buy liability insurance from the rental car company.

How many times should I purchase travel insurance?

You can buy single trip travel insurance any time before you travel, or you can opt for annual multi-trip travel insurance, which typically covers any number of trips over a period, normally a year. Annual insurance can be cheaper if you are a frequent traveller or planning a long-distance adventure. It may also be the case that the standard of compensation, in particular, for medical costs, luggage, and cancellations, appears to be more generous in terms of the annual policy. If you’re a regular traveller, annual travel insurance also removes the hassle of the need to buy travel insurance for any trip you might take.

How to get travel insurance

When you need travel insurance for a future trip, you’ll be glad to know that some of the aspects of your trip might already be insured. For example, you may get trip cancellation and disruption coverage when you book a trip using your credit card, depending on the card you use.

So, check to see what you are currently getting through your credit card before deciding on the amount of coverage you need. Then, specify what extra coverage you would like. Travel medical security is not generally included with your credit card, so it makes sense to buy a general travel insurance policy if you’re looking for more robust coverage.