So, you’re going on a trip. Do you need to buy travel and medical insurance?
Well, unfortunately, the answer is not as clear-cut as you would hope. The answer is: most likely but it depends. It depends on the type of person you are, the place to where you are traveling, the activities in which you plan to engage, and the things you plan to take with you. Travel insurance is entirely dependent on the traveler’s circumstances and the type of insurance coverage. It can either save you a great deal of money and grief or if not used feel like a waste of money. So, it’s important to consider wisely and weigh the pros and cons.
For instance, if you’re the type of person who is accident-prone, who needs to be at a place at a specific time, or who likes to travel to unpredictable or high-crime areas, travel and medical insurance might be a safety net you want to consider. However, if on the other hand you’re the type of person who travels light and who plans to travel to a familiar place with good security, then travel insurance may not be as necessary for you but do you really want to risk it, especially for the medical insurance?
Also, let’s consider where and when are you traveling. Major seasonal weather patterns could cause flight cancellations. Norway in the winter? Southeast Asia during the rainy season? The Caribbean during hurricane season? If so, you likely want good insurance coverage.
Finally, you must decide whether the fiscal burden is worth it to you if something goes wrong on your trip. Did you buy a cheap, last-minute flight? Is the trip only for a few days? Or is this the trip of a lifetime, one you’re pouring thousands of dollars into? If the latter, you’ll want insurance.
Of course, in general, if it will give you peace of mind to have a safety net when you travel, and you have the funds for the added cost, then go for it and secure travel and medical insurance regardless of the type of trip or your destination. Peace of mind is priceless but not having the proper insurance when you need it can be disasterous.
What Does Travel and Medical Insurance Cover?
Travel insurance can protect lost or delayed luggage, reimburse for trip cancellation and trip interruption, provide emergency medical insurance, and provide accidental death or dismemberment coverage, and more.
Baggage and personal items coverage: travel insurance will usually cover up to about $500 per lost bag.
Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance: coverage varies so check out the different policies to make sure that you have the coverage for the value of your trip in the event of trip cancellation. So, for example, if you have to cancel your trip because of a serious illness, or a natural disaster forces change of plans, you could be reimbursed.
Emergency medical insurance: it’s important to have health insurance wherever you are in the world. And since some health insurance companies don’t cover international travel, travel insurance companies often offer between $10,000 and $100,000 or more for emergency medical care. A good friend of mine recently broke his back while on an adventure in the Amazon. He needed to be medevaced out of the rainforest by helicopter and flown by air ambulance back to Canada for treatment. Without the proper insurance, this would have bankrupted him and his wife. The costs associated with this kind of emergency can easily reach several hundred thousand dollars (USD).
Accidental death or dismemberment insurance: In case the absolute worse happens and you or someone you love dies on a trip, travel insurance could pay out as much as $500,000.
Remember, you might already have life insurance that covers death and dismemberment. You might also have health insurance that covers emergencies in other countries (so check with your health insurance company to see if you’re already covered). If going on a tour, make sure you check with the operators to see if it is mandatory to have travel and medical insurance and what the criteria are.
Where to Get Travel Insurance
First, always make sure to buy travel insurance BEFORE your trip. Second, know that there are multiple options for travel and medical insurance, each possibly covering different things. Airlines often offer insurance for flight cancellation. Some credit card companies offer trip cancellation or baggage and personal items coverage. Always check to be 100% sure exactly what is covered with whatever form of insurance you have or think you have.
Travel and medical insurance companies will usually offer some combination of protections or all of the above. While there are a lot of options out there for travel and medical insurance providers, my tour company, Discovery Photo Tours uses World Nomads and Global Rescue for our travel and medical insurance needs. World Nomads is backed by specialist insurers and global assistance partners and cover a range of adventure sports and activities. Global Rescue covers field rescue and will pay for evacuation back to your home hospital of choice and much more. Contact them directly to get more details about how they can put your mind at ease with the right travel and medical insurance policy.