Travel insurance is the least sexy part of traveling. There’s nothing fun or interesting about it.
Travel insurance is easy to understand. It’s financial protection against nearly everything that can go wrong while traveling. It applies to local and overseas travel too.
Not sure what exactly travel insurance covers?
Here’s a (very) short list of things that often go wrong on trips:
- Lost luggage
- Flight cancellation
- Emergencies back home
‘But I paid for my trip on my credit card. I’m covered!’
Well, sort of. Most credit cards only cover basic losses for a short period of time. Also, many health plans only provide basic coverage. TLDR–unless you own a crystal ball that predicts the future, buy travel insurance.
The Importance of Travel Insurance
Forget coverage, claims and costs for a second. Travel insurance is about one thing: peace of mind.
Your focus should be on exploring, experiencing and relaxing. It’s a no-brainer for adventure travelers. But if you’re sickly, accident prone or just unlucky, don’t risk it.
Sure, a country may be cheap to visit. But that doesn’t mean medical costs are affordable. Some countries are insanely expensive on the health care front.
Here’s the cost (in USD) of emergency medical transportation in the world’s most visited destinations:
- Mexico: $15,000 – $20,000
- South America: $100,000
- Germany, France and many other European nations: $50,000 – $100,000
- Russia: $90,000 – $150,000 (extreme weather conditions can drive up costs)
- Asia, Australia, and the Middle East: $220,000
These are only the costs to transport you. You’ll need to pay more for treatment. An extended stay in the hospital will also cost you. And these are conservative estimates.
Still want to skip on travel insurance? Didn’t think so.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?
Which of the following help determine the cost of a travel insurance plan?
- Planned activities, age and number of travelers
- Duration and destination of travel
- Type of coverage and medical history
- All of the above (choose this one)
Clearly, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That said, most travel insurance plans cost no more than $5 – $10 per day. For hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars in coverage, that’s a great price.
Travel insurance policies are unique to each traveler. Every traveler will look for something different. But the one thing everyone should do is read the fine print. That way, you’ll know exactly how you’re covered.
Note: Some policies don’t cover any activities they consider adventurous/dangerous.
Important questions when buying travel insurance:
- Is there enough coverage to pay for all potential medical expenses? Aim for $100,000 (minimum) or more of coverage.
- Does this policy cover injury as well as sickness (for you and your family)?
- Is emergency evacuation covered?
- Does your policy include transportation to your home country if need be?
- Is there coverage for specific/high risk activities? IE: Surfing, scuba diving, mountain climbing.
- Does this policy apply to countries with high medical costs?
- If travel plans change, can the policy be modified/increased on the fly?
- If lost or stolen, are valuables covered?
- Is there a 24-7 emergency contact available?
- Does your travel insurance cover political turmoil?
- How are claims filed (online, phone, paper)?
- Is this affordable?