Looking for travel insurance? Not sure whether or not it’s even worth it? Oh, it’s worth it. Last year, the New York Times did an exposé on the dangers of flying budget airlines without travel insurance. In fact, in Great Britain alone, to total payout for cancelled holidays was £145 million last year. And, £17 million was paid out for lost baggage and money.
So, yes, travel insurance is always worth it, especially if you plan on engaging in any at-risk activities in countries where adventure and adrenaline are at the forefront of the allure. You never know when you’re going to fall in with a case of food poisoning or wreck that shiny new scooter you’ve just rented.
However, not all travel insurance plans are the same. Depending on where you’re travelling, what you’re doing, and how long you’ll be gone for, there are a lot of factors that go into getting the right policy. Here are seven things to look for when getting travel insurance.
What To Look For When Getting Travel Insurance
1. Emergency Medical Assistance
Most people make the mistake of thinking that they’ll be covered by their at-home insurance policy while travelling. That’s not always, and not often, the case. When looking for the right travel insurance plan, ensure it covers emergency medical assistance. Call your normal provider first to see what is covered out-of-country. Then, you’ll be able to better understand what you need out of a travel insurance plan.
2. Vacation vs. Travel Medical Plans
In the world of travel insurance, coverage is often divided into two main categories: vacation or travel medical plans. They’re usually pre-made packages that agencies put together to cover what most travellers need. The latter is designed more for people with pre-existing conditions who might need special attention while abroad. Vacation plans are designed for, well, people going on normal, low-risk vacations. Relaxing at the beach? This is probably a good option for you.
3. 24/7 Global Assistance
One of the biggest benefits of getting travel insurance is the access you’ll have to 24/7 global assistance. Nearly every travel plan comes with this perk nowadays, and it can be a real life-saver. If you find yourself in remote Thailand and are too sick to look up the nearest hospital or care centre, you can likely call the 24/7 emergency assistance number provided with your plan and they’ll help you figure out where to go and how to get there.
4. Add-On Extension Plans
As mentioned, not every travel insurance package is created equal. Most travel insurance companies will have basic pre-packaged plans that suit the needs of most travellers. However, what to look for when getting travel insurance if you’re doing something extra special? Don’t worry, most companies also offer add-on extension plans. These can be anything from a cruise, winter sports, or even car rental insurance.
5. Travel Insurance for Visa Purposes
If you’re required to take out travel insurance in order to apply for a visa, then you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the details right. Oftentimes, embassies require that your insurance meet a minimum amount of coverage. In Spain, for example, the minimum amount of coverage is €30,000 and should also include repatriation in case of death. Check your application details or let the insurance company know exactly what it is you’re getting the plan for. They’ll likely be able to cater to your needs.
6. Specific Destinations
When getting travel insurance, you have to let the company know where you plan on travelling to. Or, certain companies create packages for specific regions of the world. For example, you might find a country that sells European travel insurance. But, they might not include Turkey as part of Europe. Just double-check before paying to make sure you’ll be able to receive care in whatever country you’re going to.
7. How to Report Theft While Travelling
Fingers crossed this never becomes an issue for you. But, certain policies vary on how long you have to report a theft that occurs while travelling. Some require that you do it within 24 hours while others give you 48 hours. And, some require you to show proof of a police report within that time period. Regardless, you should report a theft as soon as possible and then notify your insurance company of what’s happened.