There’s a standard checklist that we all go through when planning an overseas vacation. Flights, visas, any necessary inoculations, travel insurance, you know the drill. But that last one is a bit of an oddity. Everyone tells you it is madness to travel without insurance, and it is generally the work of a couple of mouse clicks to add it on when you book your flights and hotel. But do you really know what you are getting? And is it what you actually need? Let’s look under a rock or two and uncover some of the mysteries of travel insurance.
Types of coverage
Broadly speaking, travel insurance comes in two flavors. The basic kind covers the costs incurred through lost luggage, missed connections and inability to travel due to sickness. Comprehensive insurance also covers medical and dental emergencies.
In the vast majority of cases, you will be looking at the second option. The costs can fluctuate wildly, but the researchers at ValuePenguin have worked out that the average per person is $164. That’s a tidy sum of money and could be the difference between slumming it and a little luxury, so it is easy to see why some travelers wonder whether they really need to bother.
When you don’t travel insurance
If you are staying in the USA, you can probably manage fine without extra travel insurance. If you’ve already got medical insurance, you should be covered in case of any emergencies during your domestic trip (but do double check), so you should be safe opting out.
Also, check whether you already have existing cover. If you accumulate credit cards the way some people collect baseball cards. You might well find you already have travel insurance as a perk. You’ll need to double check exactly what is covered and what is not, however.
When travel insurance is essential
If you are traveling overseas, then insurance is a must, so don’t compromise. From a pragmatic perspective, international flights are not cheap and you typically pay well in advance. Insurance covers against the risk of plans changing or an airline going out of business.
Even if you are prepared to take your chances in that respect, however, it is madness to compromise on your safety. If you look at a provider like UHC Safetrip Travel Protection, you’ll see you can tailor the coverage to suit your exact needs. This is particularly important in this era of adventure holidaying. Lazing on a beach in Spain is very different to water skiing in Bali or rock climbing in Peru.
There’s plenty that can go wrong, and not all insurance policies are the same, so it is vital to make sure yours covers the sort of activities you are likely to be engaged in during your travels.
What if you’ve already got medical coverage?
Some private medical insurance policies pay for medical costs incurred overseas, but if you are planning to rely on that, be very sure of your ground. If you are in a major city such as Tokyo or London, that’s fine, but will you still be covered if disaster strikes on the Inca Trail? Keep in mind that in case of a serious emergency, the costs can ramp up with terrifying speed.
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*this post is sponsored by UHC Safetrip