The world can be a dangerous place sometimes. The random nature by which our destiny is cast cannot be predicted. At any time, in a heartbeat everything can change.
The last thing on the minds of most people is to consider travel insurance, this one decision can turn holiday heaven into your worst nightmare. Failure to buy travel insurance and selecting the right cover, can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, cause grief to your family and loved ones, and limit the quality and timing of medical care you experience. And, it doesn’t stop there. It could impact you for the rest of your life!
So, you are young, invincible and free - you wear an invisible armour that will ensure – these things only ever happen to other people! Not me! No way! WAY!! Do you want to wager on that? Well, without taking out travel insurance, you most definitely are…So,
The first question to ask yourself is – Do I need travel insurance? - The answer always is YES! If you are in any doubt about the affirmative answer to this question, go back to paragraph one and read it again. Alternatively, search travel nightmares and bear witness to the thousands or horror stories of the failure by people to take out travel insurance. Young and old alike.
Now, you have come to your senses and know travel insurance is a must, the next things to consider are…
What specific insurance do I need? Your insurance requirements can differ, depending on a number of factors for example, are you going to be skiing? Riding or hiring a motor scooter? Are you carrying valuable equipment on your travels? Are you a young or older traveler? Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions? What about travel cancellation or interruption to travel? Are you pregnant? Do I require my policy to include loss of baggage? What about natural disasters? Travel provider insolvency? Tour cancellation?
It may sound complicated, however a visit to a few reputable insurance comparison websites, can sort through the cloud of uncertainty around the key items to cover. You probably have a good idea about the type of holiday you will be taking – beach, snow, action, adventure, and where you will be travelling to – Asia, Europe, Americas or Oceania. So, by a process of elimination, you can drastically reduce the amount of cover you require. Insurance companies utilize the method of assumption, so by minimizing or eliminating activities you won’t be participating in during your holiday, is the key factor to keep costs down.
For example, if you are going on a group tour to Ireland, you probably won’t be paragliding, or snorkelling.
Should a cancellation occur during your travel, for example, a scheduled train service being delayed, this may impact your potential to arrive at the airport on time – you may miss your flight, rebooking fees or new tickets may need to be purchased – if you have chosen wisely, these amounts may be recoverable by you travel insurance provider.
Should you make a claim upon your return home, consider the policy excess, as it may be that it applies for each claim you make. As an example, if you experience a number of recoverable events whilst on holiday, your baggage was lost, your wallet was stolen and you required a Doctor visit to your hotel room. These potentially would be three separate claims against your policy, meaning – if your policy excess is $100.00 – in order to claim against each event, you will have to spend a total of $300.00 My advice is, keep the excess as low as possible, or opt for an excess free policy. It will cost more when purchasing the overall policy, but in my experience, bad stuff happens in three’s.
Generally, there are three types of cover available on any policy – basic, comprehensive and fully comprehensive. In my personal experience, there is only a small difference in price between tier two and tier three of the policy grades. My advice is, always get the full cover.
Other things to consider – Jenny’s story is used as an example of unconsidered events whilst travelling overseas.
Jenny had travelled to Bali for her holiday, and was out nightclubbing with friends when she fell ill after drinking a cocktail. Her friends were quick to recognize the symptoms of methanol poising and quickly got her to the hospital.
Thankfully, Jenny recovered after spending two weeks in a Balinese Hospital, however, because she had been drinking alcohol and was under the legal age to drink in Bali (the legal age is 21 years old), her insurer refused to pay her claim. Her family had to source money and sold their car to pay the $25,000 in medical expenses.
Moral of the story is – be responsible, travel insurance does not give you super powers. Consider the laws of the country in which you will be visiting and always, always take out travel insurance before leaving home.
Safe and happy travels! Bring back lots of memories to treasure for a lifetime.