Every now and then travelers are reminded of how important travel insurance is and what it can cover. One of the most recent reminders came with the Bali ash cloud, which resulted in numerous flight cancellations and thousands of travelers having to spend more than expected on accommodation, food, and alternative flights home.
Travel insurance is an essential part of any traveler’s safety kit, because you can’t guarantee you won’t get sick, injured, have your luggage lost or stolen, or even have to suddenly cancel your holiday. Travel insurance can reimburse you for the unexpected costs of emergencies and some can provide guidance to help you if an emergency occurs.
It’s important to get the right cover for your trip. You can use this guide to help you understand what you are covered for by travel insurance.
When to get Travel Insurance
According to a survey of over 1000 travelers from Fast Cover, 21.5% of people get travel insurance a month before they go travelling and 11.2% buy insurance a week before they go travelling. Putting off buying travel insurance, however, is one of the greatest mistakes a traveler can make.
If you get travel insurance as soon as you book your flight, cruise, or accommodation, you can immediately have cover for unexpected travel cancellations such as a relative getting sick or injured before you leave. Travel insurance only covers you for unforeseen events, so you won’t be covered for cancellations once something occurs which makes cancellations likely. For example, if you bought travel insurance for Bali before the ash cloud interrupted flights, you would have cover for cancellations. If you bought travel insurance after the ash cloud was in the news and travel alerts were placed on travel insurance websites, you would most likely not have been covered.
Getting the Cheapest Policy
There are numerous travel insurance providers, but it is still worth your time to compare a few if you want the best deal. Travel insurance companies can offer similar cover at different prices. Or, there might only be a small difference in the cost of two policies but a significant difference in the level of cover. Either way, remember buying insurance yourself is far cheaper than booking through an airline or a travel agent!
If you’re a regular traveler, consider whether you would save on a multi-trip insurance policy. You might be able to be covered for numerous trips without having to purchase insurance before you leave each time.
Getting Medical Cover
Consider this: the costs of going to hospital for treatment overseas can mean an upfront payment of a couple of hundred dollars. Treatment can increase these costs to thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars and being repatriated from another country by air ambulance can cost over $150,000.
Experiencing a medical emergency, requiring medical assistance and being repatriated home can be expensive and unfortunately, needing medical attention while travelling is not uncommon. That is why some insurers provide unlimited medical cover, which means they do not have a limit to the cost of medical assistance that they will cover you for.
It is also important to consider pre-existing medical conditions. Some insurers will not cover you if you experience a medical emergency that relates to a condition you already are aware of having. Others will. Find out if your condition is covered or can be covered before purchasing a policy.
Cover for Luggage and Cancellations
Luggage being lost or stolen and travel cancellation are among the top five types of travel insurance claims. The cover offered by an insurer for your belongings and potential cancellations can be significant. Cover for luggage is often limited to a certain amount, while cancellations can be either unlimited or limited to a certain amount.
Cover for Valuable Items
Find out how to keep you belongings safe and whether your travel insurance covers valuable items. For example, electronics can sometimes take the value of your luggage beyond what an insurer will pay. Mobile phones may be covered to a limited amount such as $1,000. If you’re taking multiple valuable items or highly valuable items it is best to find out whether you can be covered for the entire cost of the item through an additional premium.
Some adventurous activities such as bungee jumping or riding an elephant are covered under travel insurance and others are not. Unfortunately people do fall off elephants, cut themselves on coral while snorkeling, and otherwise injure themselves doing activities that appear pretty safe. If you are going somewhere where you’re thinking of doing an activity, it’s best to find out if you’re covered for it, just in case.
by Laura Hedge from Fast Cover