Before you write-off the idea of buying travel insurance, consider that over fifty million people get injured in car accidents every year. And although 53% of all cars worldwide are found in developing countries, 90% of all accidents occur there. So if you are planning a trip to an exotic destination, chances are you’ll be in a high-risk area.
That, of course, doesn’t account for the many other mishaps you can encounter abroad. Beach bags, laptops, suitcase, and camera theft are on the rise. There’s not much you can do but keep an eye out for trouble and buy good travel insurance, which costs several dollars a day in exchange for peace of mind.
Dangerous or extreme sports only add to the reasons why you really need a good travel insurance policy.
Many parts of the world are also prone to natural disasters, and I have personally experienced floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Much as we feel these events are unlikely to affect us, natural disasters do strike–and when they do–they strike indiscriminately. From a tidal wave in Thailand, to an earthquake in Nepal, to a mysterious flu in the Middle East–being prepared and properly insured is our only recourse.
How To Buy Good Travel Insurance: Tips & Advice
A great travel insurance policy should have all of the following features:
- 24-hour live hotline for any emergencies–medical or otherwise.
- Cover the cost to cancel all or part of your trip due to any medical or delay/emergency beyond your control. This includes hotel and airline bookings.
- Cover the replacement cost of any lost or stolen items, including laptops and cameras.
- Cover the cost of an emergency evacuation in case of a serious accident. This could include airlifting you to a nearby country, or repatriating you back home for medical attention.
- Cover your medical cost for the treatment of sudden illness or injuries.
- Cover you for personal liability in case you cause unintentional harm or damage, and subsequently get sued.
- Possess world-wide coverage.
- Should include the U.S. or Canada. You’d be surprised to know some world-wide policies exclude both of these major destinations.
List of the most popular travel insurance providers:
- World Nomads
- IMG Global
- Clements GlobalCare (geared for long-term expats)
- HTH Worldwide
- Amex Travel
The above providers offer policies that deliver both value and service.
Do You Need Travel Insurance?
If you are planning on exploring the outdoors, climbing mountains, or doing anything adventurous, you should definitely considering getting travel insurance. This includes adventures in subtropical climates, where a simple mosquito bite can lead to illnesses, such as dengue fever. I realize many travelers decide to chance it, but that’s what insurance is all about–reducing risk. Specifically, the risk of losing a lot more money down the road by not having travel insurance.
You should consider that many accidents are the fault of others,
and completely out of a traveler’s control. A simple Google search will reveal how many tourist buses get into serious accidents in places like Thailand every year. And as I mentioned in the statistics at the beginning of this article, developing countries are most prone to these dangers.
The great thing about travel insurance is that it also covers your belongings.
So if your laptop or camera goes missing, your insurer will reimburse you, up to a certain amount. The peace of mind this affords is invaluable.
I purchased my travel insurance before taking off to Asia. Like most people, I didn’t really think I needed it at first. I had never gotten into any accidents while traveling before, but I erred on the side of caution.
Four months into my trip overseas, I got hit by a car in the streets of Myanmar.
The car came out of the blue and sideswiped me. It cut my trip short and forced me to seek medical attention in nearby Kuala Lumpur. My travel insurance ended up covering my hospital costs, which saved me close to $3,000.
Thankfully, I only suffered from serious sprains and major bruising, and no broken bones. The latter could easily have cost me $20,000 or more. That price could have skyrocketed to over $100,000 if I needed to be airlifted. It’s shocking how an adventure can end up ruining someone financially. Especially when the cost could have easily been avoided.
What Does Travel Insurance Not Cover?
Travel insurance does not cover any preexisting conditions. This means you cannot seek care in another country for your existing knee pain. You must arrange pre-existing conditions with your physician back home before traveling.
Another important consideration is the political climate of the country you are looking to visit. Most policies will not cover you if are traveling to areas flagged as dangerous. This may include countries under interim government or military rule.
Check with your travel insurance provider to see if they cover your intended destination before you commit to any policy.
Selecting the best travel insurance is a great way to protect yourself and your family while you are traveling away from home. When you buy a good travel insurance policy, you get an extra blanket of protection that your current insurance plan may not offer.
How To Make A Travel Insurance Claim
Here is where great customer service comes into play. You’ll find many travel agencies, or smaller insurance companies, enthusiastically trying to sell you policies, claiming they’re as good as the best policies out there. When you file a claim, however, you’ll be on the receiving end of some terrible customer service.
Here are some tips and advice on filing a successful travel insurance claim with your provider:
- In the case of any theft, be sure to immediately file a police report and keep it as simple as possible. You don’t want your travel insurance claim to be denied because of a loophole found in a lengthy police report.
- Make sure you have a witness present whenever possible. If you are making a phone call, record the call on Skype (let the other person know you are recording them).
- Do not jump the gun if your claim takes a little while. Travel insurance providers process numerous claims every day. But if things do drag on, escalate the issue to the next level up.
- Do keep receipts handy for any large purchases you’ve made, including your laptop, camera, and electronics. Always keep these receipts handy in case you need to file a claim.
- Remember that insurance fraud is a huge issue for insurance providers. The industry loses hundreds of millions every year due to falsified claims. Just because your provider seems defensive at first, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to pay up. Promptly provide them all necessary paperwork, don’t delay.
Most importantly, don’t substitute a great travel insurance policy for the sake of saving a hundred dollars or so. The idea is akin to buying a Toyota instead of a local or unknown cheap brand. That’s because we value reliability and quality–it’s no different when it comes to buying a good travel insurance policy.
My personal preference is World Nomads. They sell great policies that have been weather-tested by millions of travelers. But whomever you end up choosing as your travel insurance provider, do make sure you carefully read the fine print. Many travelers, for example, are caught unaware by the fact their policy doesn’t cover them in popular destinations undergoing certain government changes. Thankfully, World Nomads policies are written in clear and simple English.
How Do You Buy Good Travel Insurance?
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