4 Best Ways to Choose Travel Insurance – When it comes to travel insurance, yes, it’s all a little bit different, but there are typically four main types that you should be looking for. I’ll briefly break down each category into simple human terms so you can get an idea of what’s covered and what you should be looking for, so you can get as much coverage as you need without paying any more than you need to.
All companies are different in what they will cover and how much they will cover. This article is a generalization of what may be included in each category and potential exclusions you should be on the lookout for.
4 Best Ways to Choose Travel Insurance
I’m hoping my stories will be a way to convince you to get travel insurance without having to lecture you on the fact that you should get travel insurance, which you really should. At least medical, please get medical. Which is the first one we will cover.
Emergency medical coverage – Travel Insurance
Emergency medical coverage can reimburse you for the costs associated with medical treatment for an illness or injury while you are outside of your home country. This can include coverage for the medication you need, treatment you have to get, the hospital stay, and even the ambulance that’s going to get you to that hospital. I was hiking in the Rocky Mountains with a friend from Australia. He had travel insurance, thank god.
But we were up there 10 hours into the hike. He ended up in a rock slide, broke his leg and had to be airlifted by a helicopter off the mountain. That helicopter ride alone would have been thousands of dollars that he thankfully did not have to pay for. You’ll want to read your policy very carefully ’cause there are a lot of exceptions as to what’s going to be covered and circumstances where things won’t be covered.
It’s often not covered if something happens and you’ve been taking recreational drugs or alcohol. So, if you drank too much and you have alcohol poisoning, you might not be covered. Another exclusion is any preexisting condition that is not stable or under control. A preexisting condition is an injury, illness, disease, or other medical condition, that occurs prior to travel for which you’ve had symptoms and sought a diagnosis, medical treatment, and are on a new prescription or there’s been a change in your prescription. Key here is that it’s something known.
So, if you book a physical one week before your trip, and then your doctor diagnoses you with high bloop pressure and you have a complication with this high blood pressure while you’re on your trip, you may not be covered.
However, if you went on that trip, didn’t have the physical before, didn’t know you had high blood pressure and had a complication with it, you probably would be covered. If you are not having any health concerns, you may not want to go for your checkup right before your trip. So that’s a risk you have to weigh the pros and cons on and make the decision for yourself.
Obviously, any nonemergency medical events, if you go to the doctor for a checkup while you’re abroad, not going to be covered. Also, every policy is a little bit different as to what activities are and aren’t covered. Definitely check this out, because you may be surprised what’s considered an adventure activity, like snorkeling. And then you’re not covered for any injuries associated with that activity. Another one that’s often not covered is if you’re doing something that’s considered reckless or if you’re putting yourself in some sort of unnecessary risk.
I swear, when traveling across Asia, every other person I meet has been in some sort of motorbike accident or complication. So, even if the law says you don’t need to wear a helmet or you don’t need a license, and you don’t wear a helmet and don’t have a license and drive, that could be considered – and should be – reckless behavior by your travel insurance company, and you probably won’t be covered for it. Not being covered for unexpected medical expenses abroad, especially depending on what country you’re traveling in, can literally bankrupt you.
So, definitely read the policy and consider getting emergency medical if you’re going to get any type of travel insurance. Also know that it doesn’t have to be expensive. I use SafetyWing, and it costs me less than $1.50 a day which has saved me hundreds of dollars in 2019. I’m thrilled to be partnering with them on this article to be able to share their service with you.
While I’ve personally never had to make a claim, they have great reviews for their claims process, and the policy is administered by Tokio Marine, which is one of the largest travel insurance companies in the world. SafetyWing is the most flexible travel insurance I’ve come across for long term travelers, because they have all of these benefits that most travel insurance companies don’t offer.
You can buy SafetyWing once you’ve already started your trip, and then you can stop it whenever you decide to finish your trip. This means you don’t have to pay for months’ worth of travel insurance up front. There’s no cap on the duration of travel, and they cover almost every country you could possibly be traveling to. SafetyWing is completely in line with my mantra of getting as much coverage as you need without paying any more than you need to. They exclude things that the average traveler doesn’t need, like cancer treatment or high risk sports, to keep the price low without sacrificing their service or quality.
You still get 24/7 emergency support and, if you have any questions, they have this awesome chat system on their website. Yeah, they know me. I literally use this every time before a trip to just clarify a few things. Even if I’m just taking a short trip, SafetyWing is still my go-to. I spent nine days in Mexico and my total cost was under $12. That is so worth it for the peace of mind, with just one little incident it’s paying for itself.
It’s also great if you’re going away on vacation with your family because you get one kid under 10 free with every covered adult up to two kids. SafetyWing is who I trust and will continue to use in 2020, but a great tool to help you compare the best plan for your travels would be InsureMyTrip. SafetyWing isn’t on this directory, but it was the tool that I used to compare SafetyWing to the dozens of other plans out there before I made my decision.
Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation – Travel Insurance
Next, we have category number two of travel insurance, which is emergency evacuation and repatriation. I will keep this one short and breeze through the rest of these categories ’cause they’re not quite as complicated as the emergency medical insurance is. Well, they kind of are, but I also know you don’t have all day, so I will make it happen. Emergency evacuation and repatriation usually covers emergency medical evacuations, international security evacuations.
So, if there was a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, And then repatriation of your remains back to your home country. What that means is that the travel insurance company will cover the expenses and the arrangements necessary to get the covered body of the insured person back home to their family.
Not something you want to think about, but also important. And when it comes to emergency evacuation, check your policy to see where you are evacuated to. Some policies will evacuate you back to your home country, so that’s paying for a pretty big flight, while other are going to evacuate you to the nearest place of safety. That’s a big difference. You also may not be covered for emergency evacuation if there’s an ongoing or known event in the country that you are traveling to. An example of this would be this ongoing volcano that is erupting, not erupting – I don’t even know what’s going on with it now – in Bali. Yeah, people are still traveling there.
It may be considered a known event that there is a volcano and it is not safe to go there. And therefore, your coverage, if you needed a flight out of the country in emergency situation, would not be covered. What I recommend you do is to think about where you’re going, if you have any questions at all, send in a very detailed email, your exact travel situation, the policy you’re getting, and ask point-blank if you will be covered or not.
This way you’ll have it in writing and you will have the peace of mind and you will know. They should get back to you quickly and, if they don’t, then pick a different travel insurance, because this is something that you need to know.
Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption – Travel Insurance
Category number three of travel insurance is trip cancellation and trip interruption. These two are usually packaged together and give you financial protection on the prepaid and nonrefundable expenses of your trip. Trip cancellation is going to refund you for the nonrefundable expenses if you don’t go on your trip at all, while trip interruption is going to pay you for any unused portions of your trip that you’ve prepaid for and don’t complete.
Trip cancellation can refund your trip expenses if you cancel the trip before leaving for a reason covered by your policy. Some policies are limited to reasons that you are allowed to cancel, like if there’s a terrorist attack in the destination, severe weather or death of a family member, or even if you’re too sick to travel. But there’s also another type of upgrade you can usually get, which is ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance. Which is exactly as it sounds, you can literally cancel for any reason. So, if you’re fighting with your travel partner and you no longer want to go on the trip, you can cancel.
If you ended up not getting the raise you expected for your Christmas bonus and you can’t afford the trip, you can cancel. This is an upgrade and it’s going to cost you more but may be worth it based on your specific situation. Trip interruption begins the day you leave for your trip and reimburses you for any unused trip expenses. They also will cover the cost of any additional transportation incurred if you need to return home early. Both trip cancellation and trip interruption become more important if you have prepaid for a lot of the different expenses on your trip.
However, if you are flying to Asia and just backpacking around and winging it without all these prepaid accommodations, it may not be worth it.
Theft or Loss of Belongings – Travel Insurance
Moving on to category number four of travel insurance, which is theft or loss of your personal belongings. This refers to coverage if your possessions are lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip. This category can include baggage travel insurance, electronics and gear coverage, travel documents like your passport or your driver’s license, and sometimes even money. Baggage travel insurance covers travelers in two instances: It will either reimburse you for any clothes, medication, or other essential items, if your baggage is delayed in arriving to the destination.
So, if you arrive at an airport and your bags don’t, anything that you need while you are waiting for your bags can be reimbursed by the company. Baggage travel insurance is also going to cover you up to a specific amount to reimburse you for any items if your baggage is lost. So, if it’s not just delayed but you literally never get it back, you’ll receive a certain amount of money to replace those items that were lost in the bag. In addition to delayed or loss of baggage, you can often find policies that are going to reimburse you for any damage, loss, theft of your personal items, gear, electronics.
Sometimes even money – not usually. This is one of the toughest travel insurance categories that you can claim for because there are a lot of exclusions, like leaving your gear behind, not keeping an eye on your things and then they get stolen, leaving your gear in an unlocked car, or if you don’t get a report from an authority. Every travel policy I’ve seen requires a report from an authority of some sort.
So this could be a police report, or it could be a report from the bus authority if you were riding on that bus while your camera was stolen. You also need to prove that the item was yours and what it was actually valued at, which is going to deteriorate from what you bought it at based on the wear and age. Whether you incur a loss to your gear or to your baggage, you also have to keep in mind that there are often going to be limits per item.
So, if the per-item limit is $500, and then the maximum full-baggage limit is $2000, and you had a $2000 laptop inside of you luggage and your luggage was lost, you’re not going to receive $2000 back. The most you’ll receive, due to the per-item limit, is going to be $500. Based on the limits put on by policies, and to the difficulty of actually claiming and proving the value of the item, it may not be worth insuring your gear.
I had a friend that was traveling with a Kindle E-reader, he left it in this hostel, it was stolen, he went through this entire process, got the report from the police officer, only to be reimbursed $15 for that Kindle E-reader. So, think about the gear which you have, think about what it’s worth, and see if it’s going to be worth insuring it for you.
By this point in the article, you should have a good idea of generally what you should be looking for in a policy that you’re considering. I’m hoping it will help you decide so you can get all the coverage you need without paying any more than you need to.
Well, now you’ve read about How to Choose Travel Insurance. Did you learn anything from the above review? Give some responses in the comments column below