When I plan a trip, I always think about the exciting things I will see, taste and experience, that I forget the importance of safety and how to travel in the least risky way possible. We can always do proper planning, proper research on the area we plan on visiting, and even opt to stay in the safest suburbs or hotels, but sometimes, accidents are unavoidable and it is better to be indemnified for the potential losses you may incur while on a trip.
To keep your mind at peace, it is important to get yourself travel insurance. You can cover for almost everything now, from medical costs to theft of belongings and also problems such as loss of luggage while flying. It’s best to get the travel insurance that is best for you, but how do you know what you need? Here are main things to look out for before purchasing your travel insurance.
Check Country Exclusions
It is always important to check if the country you are planning to visit is included in the insurance you have purchased. If you go to a country that is part of the exclusions, you will not be covered for anything and your insurance will be considered void. For example, most worldwide coverages do not include the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean, so make sure you get a different insurance if your trip will bring you to any of those destinations.
Extreme Sports Activities
If you plan on taking part on some activities such as rock climbing, scuba diving, horseback riding, and bungee jumping just to name a few, you need to check if these activities are covered in the event you will get an accident. Some basic travel policies exclude these “risky” activities, while others will cover it providing you pay a little extra. If it is covered, the inclusions are mostly limited so it is best to read through the policy before partaking in any risky adventure.
Some insurance companies are built to cover extreme sports, such as World Nomads. There is a list of over 150+ activities that are comprehensively covered by their policies.
Limits On What You Can Claim
Some people opt for cheaper cover because they think they get the same compensation compared to getting a more expensive cover. Even if the clauses are exactly the same, you need to find out how much you can claim back from your loss. The best way to find out how much is worth covering for is to calculate how much loss you might incur. This can be calculated based on the items you bring and the hospitalization costs of the country you are going to, and also the country you are from. For example, if you calculate the total cost of your trip, find out if the cancellation cover can reimburse you completely for that trip. This may differ greatly if you are planning a backpacking trip or a luxury getaway.
Another thing to check is the single item limit of the policy. This is the maximum amount the insurer will pay out per item, regardless of how much your personal belongings cost all in all.
Take note that some insurance policies do not cover for gadgets such as mobile phones or laptops, so you’ll need to find other ways to protect them such as through a separate mobile phone insurance cover.
Negligence On Your Belongings
Before the insurer will indemnify you for a loss, they will make sure you took reasonable care of your belongings. If you were found negligent, they could refuse to pay you. If you left valuables in a safe and the safe has been tampered with, you may be able to claim for theft or accidental loss. If you were out on the beach and left your valuables by the shore and it went missing, there’s a big chance you won’t be able to claim back.
Alcohol or Drugs
It’s easy to let loose, grab a few drinks and party when you are on a holiday. If you get into any sort of accident when you are involved under the influence of alcohol or non-prescription drugs, there is a high probability your cover can be void. Exclusions will vary from one provider to the next, so double check before purchasing, especially if your intention is to let loose and have a good time.
Missing your Flight
There are so many things that can happen that will cause you to miss your flight – traffic (especially in Manila!), sudden road closures, flat tires, dysfunctional car engines, the list is unending! The bad news is, most basic travel insurance policies won’t cover you to catch the next flight. If it does, you have to find out what you need to do for you to be able to make a claim. Some insurers will ask for proof, while others require a specific timeframe to be able to make a claim. If this is something that always happens to you, best you read about it.
Canceling the Trip: Flights, Accommodation, and Transportation
It’s not hard to claim back if you need to cancel your trip, but again, it goes back to the reason as to why you needed the fully paid trip to be canceled. Figure out what your inclusions are before buying insurance for your holiday. Do they only cover for cancelations due to illness? Or do they cover other reasons as well? If it’s for illness, make sure you get the requirements such as a doctor’s certificate.
Cutting the Trip Short
There may be many reasons why you need to cut a lovely holiday short. Did you get ill? Did someone significant at home pass away while you were on vacation? Do you need medical evacuation assistance? Reality bites, so it’s always better to be protected for a safe and worry-free journey back home. Take note that travel insurance will not cover for pre-existing conditions and also have age limitations on what can be availed or claimed.
Travel Insurance Covers
There are several local travel insurance covers that you can get for individual or corporate cover. I’ve personally used World Nomads, Pacific Cross (used to be Blue Cross), and Generali. They all depended on the trip I was planning, and I am not biased to any of the policies as they all have their advantages and disadvantages.
If you don’t want to scout policies by company, there are websites that now offer policy comparisons such as E-Compare Mo.
Are there any other suggestions on travel insurance? Leave a comment below!
To check out more of Natalie Tarin’s travels, visit: @coco.natty