I know travel insurance might seem like a frivolous expense before you leave. After all, it's not like you're going rock climbing. And vacations cost enough as it is. But, the truth is you need this. You need the safety net it provides.
Think about it. Different countries have different laws. And no matter how much research you do beforehand, you're never going to be completely prepared. Some states don't have medicare. There's a possibility your regular insurance might not even work.
Say you trip and fall, and the hospital charges you thousands of dollars for a twisted ankle. Add to that a legal system you don't understand, maybe a foreign language, and your dream vacation turns into an absolute nightmare. If you're going on vacation, then travel insurance needs to be on the top of your to-do list.
How do you do this?
Finding the perfect insurance is a two-step process. First, you research all the options available to you. And believe me, there are a lot of insurance options out there. Depending on where you're going, what type of trip it is, and multiple other factors. Second, you find something that fits your needs, which provides good value for money. So, how do you get your money's worth?
Researching travel insurance
We're going to start by giving you an intro to travel insurance, which has two main categories.
Named perils policies
These insurance policies are prevalent but only apply in a limited number of situations. Specifically, those listed on the plan. So, you have to be careful when choosing yours. They are a cheaper alternative to complete coverage policies.
When you visit a travel insurance site like World Nomads, there is a range of options available to you. Most policies will cover refunds in case of trip cancellation, emergency medical costs, and gear protection.
Additionally, you can choose from a range of over 150 activities, picking the likelihood of injuries related to your particular trip. For example, you may get injured during sledding, canoeing, sky-diving, zip-lining, camping, sports, etc. There are also options related to potential losses related to restaurants, hospitality, or child care.
Some packages give you the option of adding things after purchase while others do not. So, make sure your trip and activities and finalized before you buy your insurance. Popular travel insurance companies are Generali, Allianz Travel, and World Nomads. You can compare plans using tools like Square Mouth or Travel Insurance.
Cancel for any reason policy
These policies are not as common, mainly because they cost more. Statistics place the price increase at around 40 percent more than the cost for a named perils policy. However, they cover almost anything. And experts say that the complete coverage might just be worth it. It even covers extreme circumstances like a civil disturbance. You can also regain more than half of your prepaid expenses in case you cancel your trip.
What brand of coverage do you need?
Remember, the same policy will not work for every trip. Depending on where you're going, you need to judge whether it is even worth buying insurance. Never trust the company reviews. Always read the fine print in the policy you purchase. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting with your level of coverage.
Also, find out a bit about the medical policies of the country you're visiting. If you're going to Thailand, you may not need insurance since medical procedures are cheaper there. Perhaps you could get a policy for $15,000. That's fine for Thailand. It is not enough if you are taking a trip to Europe. Then you need to bump up your travel insurance to $50,000 or even more.
Car Rental Insurance
If you're going on a road trip. Or even if you're simply using a car as your primary mode of transportation in a foreign country, car rental insurance is essential. It doesn't matter what company you use or how high it comes recommended; rental cars are often in terrible conditions.
And if they break down while you're using them guess who has to pay for repairs. That's right, you. To say nothing of how this can affect your trip. The damage could be insurmountable. On the one hand, you could have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in mechanic's fees. And on the other, you may have to cut your trip short and go home.
If anything does happen, your insurance will cover it, and your trip goes on uninterrupted. Car rental insurance is an easy way to solve this problem. This way, you are prepared for the worst-case scenario.
Be warned; travel insurance is not a fail-safe against all situations. Read the fine print on your policy, so you know exactly what is and isn't covered. As a general rule, travel insurance does not cover:
Most customers have no idea that travel insurance doesn't automatically cover pre-existing conditions. So if you have arthritis or even high blood pressure and it gets worse during a trip, your travel insurance won't cover it. If you have medical conditions, ask your insurance provider about them specifically.
Some companies offer waivers for these situations. Others have packages geared towards coverage for pre-existing conditions like diabetes. Either way, you need to know beforehand, so you are fully prepared.
If you are pregnant and looking to travel, you have particular needs that you need coverage for. Most travel insurance health care does not cover childbirth. However, some offer plans for related complications, usually up to 26 weeks of gestation. You won't get a lot of value for your money with these since it costs more to purchase coverage for these situations. But, either way, you need to find a plan geared explicitly towards pregnant individuals.
For mental health-related complications, you will need to purchase a 'cancel for any reason' plan. Because no named perils policies cover depression, anxiety, or any other mental illnesses. And canceling your trip for these reasons means you will not receive any returns for money spent.
Do you need travel insurance?
If you are planning to engage in athletic or potentially dangerous activities on your trip, you need a good travel insurance plan. If you are spending a lot of money on your trip, you need to ensure it just in case. Because otherwise, you won't get any returns if your plans fall through.
Generally, you get more returns on a no perils policy than a cancel for any reason policy, which returns between half to three-fourths of your spending. Also, if you are going on a cruise or a package tour, refunds are impossible without travel insurance.
You need to start looking for a suitable plan at least a month in advance. And purchase it a few weeks before your trip. Leave it to the last minute, and you won't get as much value for your money.