Travel Tips: Travel Insurance

Written by  Ryan Judge

Travel Insurance is a high stakes game. Some consider it a gamble, the sort that most of us have to do, placing a bet against our luck.

How much money is wagered is really the game. The questions and criteria range from “How prone to accident or injury am I?” to “How lost or otherwise destroyed will my trip be if I have to do it without my luggage?” But these are only a few of the factors to take into account when figuring out the matter of international travel insurance.

Taking notes from the philosophies of certain twelve-step programs, the first step is admitting that there’s a problem – in this case that step means admitting that you need travel insurance – which can be a hard pill to swallow. Insurance is usually the last factor taken into account when planning a trip and for good reason - no one wants to think about what could go wrong on their vacation.

Brass Tacks: The Basics for Travel Insurance

These are most important questions to ask yourself when purchasing your travel insurance policy:

  • Am I covered for the entire duration of my trip?

  • Am I covered for medical care in case I become injured or ill?

  • Does my holiday insurance policy have 24-hour emergency service and assistance?

  • Will I be covered if I damage property? How about if I am sued?

  • Does my coverage extend to lost or stolen property?

  • If I should fall ill or cannot otherwise finish my trip, can I decide to curtail or outright cancel my trip? If so, will I get my money back?

  • What kind of extra risk will I put on myself on this trip? Will I be covered should the unthinkable occur?

  • If the airline I booked my flight through goes bankrupt, will I be covered?

You'll definitely need insurance if you... 

Tips for choosing the right insurance

  • Read the fine print.   If you don't understand the details in the fine print you might not be covered, so if you're at all unsure clarify with the policy provider.  
  • Assume the best, but plan for the worst. If you take an uninsured ski vacation in Aspen, one rock on the ski run could be the difference between a cheap winter excursion and a small financial apocalypse when you’re removed from the slopes by air ambulance at your own expense.   

  • You get what you pay for. Cheap insurance policies may seem thrifty, but there’s no point paying for insurance if it leaves you only partly covered.  If you’re holidaying somewhere like the Amazon Rainforest purchase a policy that includes medical coverage appropriate to the danger level of a wild tropical climate – get covered for illness and injury.

  • Insurance you buy from travel suppliers can be less inclusive than policies purchased through insurance companies - read the fine print and make sure you’re getting the coverage you need. 

  • Take into account how much you travel each year. Frequent travellers, can save time and money by purchasing annual multi-trip insurance.

  • Even if you insure your luggage watch your possessions like a hawk. When it comes to lost or stolen luggage, the company is only legally obligated to pay you the amount you insure it for which could be less than the real value. If you’re taking jewellery or expensive camera equipment etc. on your journey, you may want to insure it separately. So much fraud occurs with “lost” or “stolen” camera equipment that some insurance companies will hesitate to honor your policy outright – especially if it’s professional equipment – but it can be easier if you have separate policies.

  • Make sure you’ve got your visa before you schedule a flight and buy insurance. Countries like China that require a visa can put a damper on your plans by refusing your application and many travel and insurance companies will not cover you in that event.

More Adventurous Travel Experiences to tempt you

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