Should you get travel insurance and/or is it worth the expense? - YES
You'd rather not think about all of the things that might go wrong on your trip (getting sick, injured, or robbed), but these things can and do happen. Buying travel insurance can be a very confusing part of planning your international travel adventure.
We can all agree that accidents happen despite our best-laid plans. Sure, if you sprain your ankle, it might not be a big deal but for bigger incidents - travel insurance will reduce the burden and stress of a huge hospital bills from a medical emergency, stolen merchandise, or a sudden change in travel plans.
The term travel insurance is commonly used to describe a few different types of insurance. It can sometimes be pretty confusing for new travelers. You should know what kinds of coverage a travel insurance policy includes, because it may not include everything you think it does.
- Travel Health Insurance is coverage for accidents, injuries, and hospital visits while you are away from home.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance is coverage for transporting you to a major hospital for treatment.
- Trip Cancellation Insurance is coverage for unexpected interruptions in your travel plans.
- Baggage/Property Insurance is coverage for theft or damage to your gear while traveling.
What Kind Of Insurance?
That really depends on a lot of different factors. You’ll have to ask yourself a few questions.
- Are you a short-term traveler going away for a few days/weeks?
- Are you a long-term traveler leaving for 6 months or more?
- Do you carry tons of expensive photo/computer gear, or not?
- Will your regular health insurance cover you overseas?
- Does it include medical evacuation?
- Do you have pre-existing conditions?
- Are you the type of person who books hotels/flights/activities in advance?
- Do you just wing it and pay for services as you use them?
Short-Term Travel Insurance
World Nomads specializes in short-term travel coverage, including theft, and are very popular among travelers. Buying insurance with World Nomads for your next vacation is quick & easy. You can even purchase a plan with little advanced notice. You can extend coverage online from anywhere too.
Long-Term Travel Insurance
- TCP Photographer Insurance - has been around for 40 years and has a dedicated department for professional photographers. General liability and equipment insurance begins at $500 a year with quarterly payments available. They can cover tens of thousands of dollars in photography gear, including laptops, drones, and general business liability should you injure someone else while working on location.
- IMG Global - this plan specializes in long-term worldwide medical coverage, but does not cover theft or trip cancellation. Coverage inside the United States is included, but to qualify you must spend at least 6 months of the year living abroad. You can choose a deductible from $250-$10,000.
Your Current Insurance
Already have regular health insurance in your home country? Check to see if they provide coverage internationally. If they do, you might not need anything else.
Your homeowners or renters insurance may cover your belongings when you’re traveling in foreign countries too. Call them up to verify the details.
Credit Card Insurance
Many credit card companies often include some basic travel and theft insurance for their customers. Call them up to get details on what’s covered (or not).
Making A Claim
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to avoid paying out claims. Making a claim might take some work on your part, depending on the situation. Here are a few tips for getting paid:
- If you’re having issues filing a claim, always work your way up the corporate ladder. Talk to a supervisor. Then talk to the supervisor’s supervisor. Make your claim issues public using Social Media if needed.
- Record conversations. At the beginning of every phone call, tell the other party you’re recording the conversation to ensure no mis-understandings later. You can easily do this with Skype and a program like Pamela for PC or Ecamm Call Recorder for Mac.
- When filing a police report of any kind, keep the story simple. The longer and more in-depth the report, the easier it is for insurance companies to find a loophole they can use to deny your claim! You better believe they will try…
Additional Travel Insurance Tips
- Read the fine print first! Know what you’re covered for. For example, some policies don’t cover extreme sports or theft of unattended items.
- Take photos of all your gear with a date stamp.
- Save PDF copies of all gear purchase & hospital receipts. Keep originals too.
- Write down serial numbers, policy numbers, and insurance contact information.
- Store this information online in a secure, easy to access place.
- File a police report immediately after any theft or accident.