Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Do I Need Travel Insurance

Having met yet another person the other day who doesn't have travel insurance (he was from the USA and figured it would be too expensive), I thought it was high time to write a post about why you need travel insurance. But do I need travel insurance though? I hear you ask. Do I really need travel insurance? I've already paid for my accommodation and my transport costs, I just want to be travelling already not paying out more. Trust me, I get it, travel insurance can be one of the most unrewarding things to buy: the best you can hope for is you won't need to use it (i.e. you won't be injured etc abroad), and then it's just a waste of money right? I'm sorry, but that's wrong. If you don't get travel insurance and you get injured you could end up paying these bills for the rest of your life. Put simply, you can't afford not to buy travel insurance.

Look at it like this: it's a must, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel (sob). And even after you've decided you do need travel insurance, there are still a number of important things to think about. It can be tempting to just buy some random travel insurance, have peace of mind and get on with planning. I'm here to make it easier for you, with these five things you must consider before you buy travel insurance. These are five things people often don't realise are important when buying insurance, don't be one of them!

A Guide to Buying the Right Travel Insurance

Here are five things to consider which will put you on the right track to buying the right travel insurance for you (or your loved ones):

1. Do you have any underlying medical conditions

It's an absolute must to let your travel insurance provider know if you have any underlying medical conditions. If you don't tell them, even by accident - e.g. you forget or you didn't realise it counted - then they could deny your claim on this basis and you won't receive compensation. Even if the underlying medical condition isn't related to the accident you're looking to receive compensation for. If in doubt that your underlying medical condition is relevant or not, it's always better to be safe than sorry - ask your travel insurance provider, it's better to be safe than sorry!

2. Where are you going?

Don't be caught out with your mediocre geography skills, or rather, be aware that most travel insurers have their own geographical guidelines. The USA, for example, is renown worldwide as having expensive, complicated healthcare and thus you will often see the USA excluded from Worldwide coverage (and if you're going to the US you must thus go for Worldwide incl the USA option). Similarly, Spain is often excluded from travel insurance policies that cover Europe. Cyprus, Malta and Turkey are sometimes excluded too. If you're on a budget, it might be worth noting these things first and considering if you might be better off choosing Canada over the USA or Portugal over Spain. In regards to your home country, some travel insurance policies allow you to go home for a period during your travels, others won't cover you.

3. How long are you going for?

Are you going on holiday or are you going to be travelling? Many travel insurance policies won't insure you for more than 31 days, so choose accordingly. For those that are going for longer, Long Stay Travel Insurance Policies will find you the best deals. Also, hot tip: it's worth checking to see if your insurance is cheaper for a round month number (e.g. if you're going for 85 days, you might as well check the 3 month policy), if the policy offers monthly discount, you might find it's cheaper than 85 days, and you have the added bonus of being able to prolong your trip if you want!

4. What will you be doing there?

As I'm sure you know, many travel insurance policies won't automatically cover 'high risk' activities like jet skiing - for that you need to purchase extra coverage. Which is kind of fair enough, higher risk = higher likelihood of injury thus they have to be covered. BUT, be careful, because it's not just the obvious high-risk activities that may not be covered, most don't cover softer things like cruises or water sports holidays. Last but not least, travel insurance is often invalid if you're injured whilst drunk - and you can't pay extra to cover it. I know someone who was in a car crash, broke his collarbone and his leg, limped through a forest away from the cops who were looking for the car crash victim, sobered up and then claimed his travel insurance. This is a dumb story about a dumb person, but hopefully, it will remind you to check what you're covered for.

5. Are you taking gadgets?

Are you a millennial with a fancy DSLR, a fancy laptop, a GoPro, a drone etc, consider adding your gadgets to your travel insurance. (I often see how much adding them would be, and then weigh it against how much it would cost - both in money and in hassle - to replace them). Gadgets aside, it's also worth considering whether you need other extras like missed flights, delayed flights and other unforeseen events like a war being declared or natural disasters.

Wrap Up: Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Of course, you need travel insurance, and it's very important that you choose the right travel insurance for you depending on your medical history, what you want to be doing abroad, where you're going, what you're taking and how long you're going for. I hope this has helped, let me know if you have any questions! Also, here is a vlog we made about some of our travel experiences abroad regarding accidents and medical emergencies (among other things :) -- enjoy!

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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