Imagine you’re biking through the Sacred Valley of Peru and break your ankle. In another instance, you’ve landed in Kathmandu, Nepal to find the airline lost your expensive trekking gear. Worse yet, you’re halfway through your self-drive tour of Iceland when you learn your mom is in the hospital. In these situations, rather than paying thousands of dollars for medical treatment, last minute gear purchases, or an emergency flight home, you have travel insurance to help cover these unexpected expenses.
Many people believe nothing will stop them from taking a trip and they’ll be safe while traveling. But no matter how healthy or careful you are, the unexpected can happen. The best thing you can do is take precautions and be prepared with travel insurance.
Why You Should Purchase Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance is there to assist you financially while you’re traveling. In an emergency, travel insurance can help ease the situation. Here are a few instances when travel insurance is beneficial:
- The airline loses your luggage
- You’re mugged or your stuff gets stolen
- A natural disaster occurs, disrupting or cancelling your plans
- Your flight gets cancelled or delayed
- You miss a connecting flight due to a delay out of your control
- You need emergency medical attention
Travel insurance is particularly important for adventure travelers. Travelers are more susceptible to injury when participating in sports or extreme activities. Adventure travelers may also find themselves in remote locations where cancellations, delays, and travel changes are common, and quality healthcare is less accessible.
Additionally, travel insurance doesn’t just cover you. If there is an emergency at home, such as an accident, illness, or death in the family, travel insurance can cover your return home. This is especially important for individuals with sick or elderly family members.
What Should Be Included in Your Travel Insurance Plan
Each travel insurance provider and plan is unique. Read the fine print and make sure you thoroughly understand the coverage that’s offered. Here are the basics of what your travel insurance should include:
- Trip Cancellation
- Baggage Delays and Damage
- Trip Delays or Interruptions – if you need to return home for a covered reason, you will be reimbursed for the unused, non-refundable portion of your trip and for increased transportation costs to return home.
- Repatriation – covers the cost of evacuation to a medical facility or medical transportation to return you home, in a medical emergency.
- Medical Expenses – many health insurance plans do not cover medical emergencies that happen internationally. Travel insurance should cover emergency healthcare expenses, but usually comes with a deductible.
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment
You’ll also want to review and consider how long you’re traveling, where you’re traveling, what activities you’ll partake in, if you’re renting a car, and what equipment you’re bringing (i.e. expensive sports equipment or a high-end camera). This information will help determine the best plan for you, and what extra coverage you may need.
Additionally, many travel insurance companies do not cover preexisting conditions, such as diabetes, in their regular insurance plans. If you have a chronic disease or other medical condition, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage for preexisting conditions.
When to Purchase Travel Insurance
While you can get most travel insurance plans up until the day before you leave, it’s best to purchase your travel insurance as early in the planning process as possible, even at the same time or immediately following your first booking for your trip. That way you’re covered in case of any unexpected events.
Travel Insurance Recommendations
FlashpackerConnect and its employees do not sell insurance and are not versed in insurance policies. Please refer to travel insurance agencies for specific questions or current information related to travel insurance plans. Two companies you may want to consider for your travel insurance needs are World Nomads and Global Rescue.
World Nomads is a highly rated travel insurance option for adventure travelers. The company was created by travelers, for travelers, so their terms and coverages are pro-traveler rather than just a way for them to make money.
World Nomads insurance provides coverage to most nationalities and covers hundreds of activities and sports.
InsureMyTrip offers hundreds of unbiased plan comparisons from only the best travel insurance companies. Choose from their affordable plans that guard against a wide variety of losses. They offer plans ranging from comprehensive coverage, travel health insurance coverage to plans that focus on evacuation or lost baggage
Though not an insurance company, Global Rescue is another good option, especially for adventure travelers heading off the beaten path. Recommended by National Geographic, Global Rescue offers membership options that can include healthcare coverage. One of its defining factors is the worldwide field rescue and security rescue included in their travel memberships.