You know why you should have a travel insurance? Because life is a bitch. And that statement could already end this article because we know it’s true, especially if you sign no travel insurance. It happens always this way: you forget your driving license at home? Police will stop your car. You take no umbrella? It will rain till you drown. So, why you should avoid buying such an important thing before you leave your comfy nest to venture into a trip around the world?
There are many ways to travel and therefore, many ways to save money before or during the trip, but absolutely, a travel insurance is something you should not save money on. It should be the second thing you buy out of your budget once you have your tickets. You can save money later in other ways, like sleeping at more modest accommodations or eat only canned food, I don’t care and I don’t mind, but you should really buy a travel insurance for your own good. Life is… well, you know.
When I was preparing my trip backpacking to South America I was kinda worried about everything. First time out of Europe, I didn’t know a word of Spanish, I didn’t know a word of Portuguese and I barely know the girl who was coming with me, so you can imagine my parents how relieved they were! I knew that would have been challenging and something would have happened for sure so I started looking for a travel insurance that could fit my travel safety needs.
At that time I discovered that there are a lot of them, all similar but all different, so I needed something that could offer me what I wanted, for the price I was willing to pay. After a meticulous research, I ended up signing for the travel insurance offered by World Nomads.
You need to be more detailed as possible to have the perfect policy for you and avoid unpleasant surprises later if you deliberately omit something. Remember this: to get, you need to give. And that refers to every info related to you and your upcoming trip but also to the proofs in case something happens. How could they refund you for something you can’t prove that happened?
As I outlined in this article, you need to prepare for worse, and this preparation starts while you’re still home and continue during your trip. Follow these steps:
- before leaving, take some pictures, if possible with a sales receipt, of all your valuable belongings you’re bringing with you;
- make some copies of your documents and put a digital one online somewhere you can easily reach it;
- split, when possible, your valuable stuff between bags and wallets: it will be more likely to have something left with you in case of a robbery;
- once you left, if you’ve been robbed, go to the police and file a report, stating everything they took from you. It will be necessary to request a refund to the insurance company;
- if you happen to have health problems or some incidents occur, keep every paper, receipt or whatever doctors give you or you need to buy. Those too will be necessary for the insurance company.
Learned the hard way
I’m writing this out of my experience. As I wrote before, when I went to South America I was worried so I tried to take any precaution I could before leaving. Luckily that proved to be good because I got robbed… They took everything from me except the clothes and other minor stuff, but with the pictures I took before leaving and the police report I could ask for a refund once back home.
Since I was not completely satisfied, I also stupidly hurt myself at a finger near the end of my trip. “How lucky, I’m insured!” I was thinking while blacking out, after the sight of my hand covered by my own blood. With the papers from the doctors and the receipts for the medications, I was able to ask some money back for that too. Remember, though, that insurances generally refund you AFTER your trip so you’ll have to pay in advance for your expenses.
But that’s not all. A travel insurance covers you also for canceled flights or if you have to go back home if a relative dies, for example. Frankly, it would be stupid not to take advantage of the benefits a travel insurance can guarantee you only for a couple of euros/dollars a day.
What to look for on a travel insurance
A good cover on medical expenses is for sure the first thing to look for. The higher the better, because depending on the country you’re visiting, the risk is to need cures more expensive than the cover of your insurance. Yes, it’s terribly difficult that happen, but it still can. Hey, I’m not here to scare you, just to make you aware!
Look for a company that covers most of all medical related issues with the highest coverage limit. No one will cover everything, and no one either will cover you fully for what happens, that’s why you need to look further in the descriptions of what’s in and what’s out.
24-hour emergency assistance
If something happens, you could need info about what to do in an emergency. Look for a company with full-time assistance on your language, it would be a precious aid when you’re in a country you can’t even say “Hello!” in its language.
Another interesting condition to look for is how the insurance company relates to the various delays, cancellations or interruptions of your trip, besides everything related to it: baggage, documents, personal effects, local transportations. These may vary a lot depending on the insurance company, so you’d better compare carefully what you’re going to buy before complaining about something you didn’t think about.
What is not covered
It’s important to know what’s covered by your policy but at the same time is important too to know what is NOT covered by that. Pay attention to every single description of the policy. You will find for sure the situation you’re looking for, since no company can afford to be generic on what they propose.
Read, evaluate, decide.
In a world full of insurance companies, it takes time to find the right one, but getting a quote in most of the cases is extremely intuitive. After spending that time in 2009 before my big adventure in South America, I realized the best option for my needs was, and still is, the travel insurance from World Nomads.
I’m not saying it’s the best, I’m saying for me it is because offers a wide variety of options that interest me when I travel, included adventure sports and activities, and the possibility to list up to 10 valuable items I’m bringing with me I want to be insured (smartphone, camera, laptop…).
Furthermore, when you sign for a policy you can make a small donation to philanthropic projects around the world, and that’s remarkable. You can have a look at those projects on the Footprints page.
In 99% of the cases, you won’t need a travel insurance, and I deeply hope you a safe and joyful trip, but there won’t be anything worst that something ruining your trip and nothing to take remedial action. Be smart, act in advance!
Here you can find a widget to get a quote for the insurance plan that fits you the most, and remember to read the policy details to ensure that it’s right for you!
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