Many people we know travel overseas without taking out travel insurance. It is true that, in most cases, we do not feel travel insurance is needed or worth the extra cost. You do not usually run into emergencies much, so why fill the pockets of insurance companies? But then, there are those times when something unexpected does happen, things go wrong and you wish you had insurance. Instead of waiting for things to go wrong, you can feel more at ease when you know you have travel insurance to handle travel emergencies. So the question must be asked: Is travel Insurance worth it?
In most cases, travel insurance is worth it as many common travel emergencies can be effectively handled if you have insurance. This can include trip cancellations and delays, loss of baggage or personal effects, baggage delays, and also unexpected medical expenses. What is of more importance is the type of insurance and the various terms and conditions of each which can seem confusing to most people.
But if you are like me, it can be difficult to decide if we need another drain on our finances especially for short trips and unplanned ones. Let us investigate some of the necessary considerations and determine how and why travel insurance is worth the extra cost.
The risks that most of us don't realize when we plan our travel
Travel insurance may appear to be an unneeded drain on your budget, but it can save you money by preventing you from having to pay for costly unexpected scenarios. While we may not be at risk in most cases, ongoing political and social changes, as well as new legislation in different countries, require us to examine the benefits of travel insurance. Imagine falling ill or being robbed while traveling; it can be very difficult to not panic and feel helpless. This is because since it is a new place, we are unlikely to know the area well or have people who can assist us. Travel insurance can be beneficial in such situations since it protects you financially and gives you the peace of mind that you have access to resources and assistance when you need it.
Some people tend to be overly worried and may take too much insurance or insure unnecessary aspects. While for these people, the driving factors are their uneasiness and extreme concern for safety and well-being, going overboard with choosing insurance and paying through your nose is not sensible as well. A balanced and cautious approach while choosing travel insurance is the best in most cases. All situations cannot be predicted, rather being prepared for probable situations and having them covered will lead to peace of mind during your travel.
What is covered in travel insurance?
Some of the key aspects the travel insurance covers are:
- Trip cancellations
- Trip delays
- Loss of Baggage and personal effects
- Baggage delays
- Travel medical expenses
Travel Insurance is one of the most important things you can buy to protect your travel plans, be it a vacation or a business trip. Here are a few reasons why: It pays for your trip cancellation and interruption, medical emergencies like an ambulance or hospital bills, and other travel-related losses including baggage loss or delay.
People who buy travel insurance can have their flights covered if they are delayed or canceled due to a temporary flight disruption like bad weather, strikes, etc.
What's not covered in travel insurance?
Usually, unforeseen expenses can include trip cancellation or delays due to severe weather or baggage loss or delay, and medical expenses. But it is necessary to understand that if they are foreseen then it can be hard to claim your reimbursements. An example is if there is a severe storm predicted then the flight cancellations that happen are no longer under unforeseen. So, you will not get reimbursed for that.
Some of the conditions where you may not be able to claim travel insurance could be:
- If you have left baggage unattended
- Participating in high-risk activities
- Medical conditions that are unapproved (read through the terms carefully or contact your insurance provider to clarify which are not covered)
- Reckless behaviors and breaking of rules
- Traveling against Government advice
- Traveling when bad conditions are predicted
How much travel insurance should you get?
This depends on many factors and least of all your confidence levels. Let me explain: If you are traveling to a known place and are familiar with the area and have people to rely on, you may not be very worried. But if you are carrying expensive items and going to an unknown place your levels of apprehension can be fairly high as you start considering the many things that can go wrong and fears increase. Most people take insurance to ally their worries and to feel more confident about their travel. So primarily insurance is for peace of mind more than anything else. So, we know the ‘why’, but what we feel unsure about is the ‘what’ and ‘how much.
What type of insurance should I choose and how much is needed?
Rather than grapple with the question of ‘what type of insurance’ and ‘how much, you need to take the insurance for, it may be easier to decide the type of insurance and amount once you consider these:
- Your insurance should cover basic needs and things that can happen such as flight cancellations, baggage delays, and losses and medical expenses. Make careful note of the terms and conditions for these aspects and compare them with other insurance providers.
- Get clarity on what the insurance company terms as unforeseen as, after an event occurs, you do not want to find out that it will not be covered by the insurance.
- If you find that the terms are vague in some matters and you have the choice of “cancel a trip for any reason, take that as you can then get up to 75% refund in case you run into situations for the trip that you are unsure will be covered by the insurance terms.
- Before making payments while traveling it is good to check with the insurance provider if they can pay directly rather than reimburse you. You will need the cash while you travel on hand rather than waiting for reimbursement. Reimbursements can take a lot of time; in some cases, it can be up to 14 days or more.
- Double-check the medical and health plan terms and conditions and have a clear understanding of what will be covered and what will not be. Also, get information on the laws and requirements of the destination country with regards to the medical insurance requirements and facilities.
- The insurance companies vary in the level of customer services and the ease of processing claims. There can also be hidden customer charges which may not be expected by the customer. So as soon as you plan the trip start scoping out suitable insurance. The best way is to ask friends and family, who you know have taken travel insurance.
How much travel insurance you need varies a lot by how often you travel and how long you are going to be away. The longer the time of stay the more necessary the insurance and what it covers. You can always change your insurance when circumstances change or even change your insurance provider. So, get insurance for any overseas travel. The amount of insurance can be decided based on the length of travel and the issues that you are most likely to face.
Most people do not consider insurance necessary because they did not give adequate thought to what to do if things go wrong. It is when they experience a situation that they realize that there are costs that they incur that can take a huge bite of their finances.
Yes, travel insurance is confusing to start with, and deciding on which one you need can be an even more challenging task. But regardless of these problems, you are better off with travel insurance than without it. Several situations may arise which can be effectively handled if you have an insurance policy! You will feel safe in the knowledge that you have access to resources and assistance when you need them.
Top rated insurance companies
- AXA Assistance USA - Great for baggage and personal effects coverage
- Cat 70 - Best Pandemic travel insurance
- GoReady - great for the price
- HTH Worldwide - good for medical coverage
- Nationwide - Good for Trip interruption coverage