Choosing travel insurance is not for the faint-hearted. There are hundreds of providers, and increasingly numerous types of packages. A lot will depend upon your budget, and the type of things you want to cover against. Be careful when choosing any particular policy, and don’t presume anything (for example, check out these common reasons where travel insurance won’t cover trip cancellations). The first place to start is by understanding the main types of Travel Insurance.
There are comprehensive packages that cover the main types of travel insurance. Be extremely careful here, though, to read the fine print of what is covered, and what isn’t. Many vacation travel insurance packages have a very broad outline, but when you look at them in detail they exclude a lot of things that you would imagine are covered.
Individually, here are some of the basic types of travel insurance available.
This is insurance to protect you if you need to cancel or curtail a trip. The most important thing to stress here is that you should check first what the policy covers. This type of insurance generally does not offer blanket coverage, but rather depends upon the reason why you had to cancel/curtail your trip, so check first. Some people erroneously believe it’s enought that you’ve cancelled/shortened your trip, to be reimbursed for costs; most policies have a specific list of conditions to validate your claim. Common reasons that claims aren’t validated include pre-existing medical conditions, lack of documentation, airline bankruptcy etc.
Many companies now offer a separate ‘cancel for any reason’ policy, with different premiums and payout rates. Typically they’ll offer to refund up to 75% of your travel costs. Here, despite the name, you still need to look at the fine print.
What would you do, abroad, if you had a medical emergency? That’s a question that any traveller should consider, and the answers you give yourself may determine whether buying travel medical insurance is worthwhile or not. For example, if you are a European Citizen, with an EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card), travelling in the EU, the likelihood is that you won’t need travel medical insurance, as you’re already entitled to the same medical care you would recieve at home. ON the other hand, if you’re travelling to a country where health care is expensive (for example, the USA), or inaccessible (meaning you’d require specialised transport/care) you should look into getting travel health insurance. If you’re travelling long-term, to many destinations, it’s a good idea to look into the different policies available.
It’s important to note, as usual, that there are lots of clauses to watch out for. Most travel health insurance plans won’t cover pre-existing conditions, or non-emergency conditions.
When getting travel health insurance, you should check whether it covers emergency evacuation, particularly if you’re travelling to a country with poor or inaccessible healthcare facilities. Imagine that you have an accident requiring serious medical attention, that is not available or safe in the country that you’re travelling around. In this case, if your travel insurance doesn’t already cover it, you may want to stump up for an extra policy covering emergency evacuation, as the costs for this without insurance can be horrific. Often this coverage can also extend to repatriation of remains in the case of death. Different policies have different coverage though, so be informed.
Robbery and theft are serious events when you travel. However light you may travel, you’ll have important things with you (documents, electronics, cash & credit cards). If these get stolen you can find yourself in a difficult situation, so travel insurance against baggage and personal items loss can be a worthwhile investment. As usual, though, you should check what the insurance policy covers, and doesn’t cover.
The Daily Express in England reported that up to 75% of respondents, to a survey by Travel Insurance Epxlained, wrongly believed their travel insurance would cover various items in their baggage at full cost. For most policies, most items will not be replaced at full cost, unless they are less than six months old. Often there is a budget limit, which may not cover the replacement of items like digital cameras, ipads, iphones etc. So take this into consideration before choosing a policy.
Tags: travel insurance