Deciding whether or not to buy travel insurance is a big debate among travelers. Many say it’s a waste of money and have been all over the world without getting it. Some won’t go on a single trip without making sure they’re completely covered. I’m in the middle and haven’t gotten it for every trip, but have purchased it for trips I thought were more of a risk. Here are a few cases of why you should buy travel insurance.
You’re Going on an Adventure-Filled Trip
I’ll be going to Patagonia in Argentina this fall, and you can bet I bought travel insurance. We’ll be hiking and camping throughout the region, so even though I’m sure the company I’m going with is professional, it’s nature. You can’t ever predict what will happen, especially in a region like this which sees all four seasons. If I were to hurt myself and needed to be airlifted out, that could cost thousands of dollars. I’ll feel much better knowing I’m covered in case something does happen.
You’re Traveling to an At-Risk Country
The first time I purchased travel insurance was when I went to India. I was traveling around to different places in the country and heard about how bad the traffic and drivers could be. Two girls I was traveling with even had an accident in the rickshaw they were in, but luckily didn’t need medical attention. I’d also heard about the dreaded “Delhi Belly” and didn’t want to risk having stomach issues with no insurance. Again, I didn’t need to use it, but felt more at peace while I was there knowing I was covered.
Like I said, I don’t get it for every trip. For example, I go to Canada on a semi-regular basis due to its proximity to Seattle, but I’ve never bought travel insurance. The main reasons for this are 1) the trips are often short and 2) I don’t do any high-risk activities while I’m there. If I wanted to be safe and make sure I was completely covered I could buy it, but I’m taking a slight risk there.
It’s also important to realize it’s not a substitute for regular health insurance. If you plan on living in a country for awhile and want to get your yearly checkup, you’ll need to get separate health care coverage for that. You also can’t be careless and expect to be covered, such as getting drunk and injuring yourself. Travel insurance covers you when you’re making reasonable decisions while traveling and happen to get hurt.
Now let’s talk about what it actually covers. Every plan will be different, so be careful to read the fine print. Here are the main items you’ll see.
This is a big reason people buy travel insurance. The terms will vary on each plan, but this covers your trip up to a certain amount if you suddenly get ill and have to cancel your trip. If this is a huge trip you’ve spent thousands of dollars on, I would say that alone is a good reason to purchase it.
With my recent venture into sports such as scuba diving, it puts me at ease to know I’m covered if something should happen. They cover over 200 different activities (however, the extreme ones are not covered). To check if your sport is covered, check out their list.
Tourists are targets in certain countries, unfortunately, and it can be easy to stand out. You shouldn’t have all your belongings on you in the first place, but if you do have valuable items that get stolen such as your passport or money, travel insurance will help you out.
Some plans also cover if you suddenly have to go home from your trip because a family member got ill or passed away. Again, read the specific terms so you know what exactly it covers, as pre-existing conditions may not be included.
The last thing you want when you’re waiting for your luggage at the baggage claim is for it to not come out on the belt. Baggage does get lost, and having travel insurance will cover you if this happens. If your luggage is delayed, they’ll reimburse you for each day your luggage is gone so you can wear more than just the clothes you wore on the plane. If it’s completely lost, they’ll reimburse you for the cost.
Each plan will vary, so make sure the items that are most important are covered on the one you choose.
It’s Not That Expensive
People tend to think they’ll be spending hundreds of dollars for no reason and don’t purchase travel insurance because of that. Depending on where you go and how long you’re gone, it may add up quickly. For me to be in South America for two weeks, it only cost me $120, which is more than worth it to know I can hike Patagonia with the reassurance that I’ll be able to get the help I need should the situation arise. What I get out of that is up to $100,000 in emergency accident and sickness medical expense (including $750 for emergency dental treatment), $300,000 in emergency evacuation, $1,000 for baggage and personal expense (and $750 for baggage delay), and $5,000 for accidental death, just to name a few.
I’ve used World Nomads for my travel insurance every time and while I haven’t had to use it, I’ve been very pleased with their customer service. I had several questions the first time I bought it, and they were very quick to respond and answer my questions clearly. Another reason they are great for travelers is unlike many other travel insurances, you can extend your policy while you’re still on your trip.
What I love most about them is how easy it is to figure out an estimate of how much your trip will cost. You just have to enter your travel dates and where you’re going. Why wouldn’t you get travel insurance when it’s that easy?
Have you purchased travel insurance before?
I make a small profit on any purchases made from links in the post above, but I recommend World Nomads only because I’ve used them myself several times.
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