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Travel insurance? Yes, you should have one!

Travel insurance - Luca Travels Around

Last updated on 03/07/2017 at 15:37:02

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.

Travel insurance pinterest

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

Travel insurance the hard way - Luca Travels Around

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

Medical expenses

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 infoย 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.

Trip-related issues

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.

My choice

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, includedย 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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35 CommentsLeave a comment

    • Well, it’s not even a matter of responsibility, because you can’t prevent the others from accidentally doing stuff that involves you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • I’ve been going back and forth deciding whether or not to get insurance for my trip to Europe. I have heard good things about World Nomads, though. Maybe I’ll go check them out…

    • It takes a bit of time to find the best insurance, but also depending on the kind of travel one does, it could be extremely useful!

  • Great post and great advice.
    My friend broke her collarbone 4 days into our month-planned trip to Greece and had to go home. The worst part? She had travel insurance, but they found a way not to cover it (she had been in a minor rear-ending accident 10 days prior to the trip). Travel insurance is one of those things i know I should have, but I just never end up getting (unless my mom pesters me into it)!

    • They can be very… well, bastard when it’s time to pay, we have to be extra careful about everything.
      I’m sorry that happened to your friend ๐Ÿ™

  • I agree. As a frequent traveler, I made sure that my insurance covers travel as well. I also make sure that the credit card I use covers international medical expenses and other travel related things. That insurance is very important.

  • Luca, thanks for the awesome reminder about the importance of travel insurance. I’m always overwhelmed by the choices of policies, so I tend to avoid thinking about it too hard. But now that I’ve been investing more in photography equipment it seems like it would be inviting disaster to NOT have insurance. Thanks for the tips and recommended provider ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You’re welcome! I know how hard can be losing everything, be it lost or stolen, but I also know that if someone travels a lot, an insurance every time is quite a financial burden. That’s why we need to invest in it, and not just buy it!

  • I backpacked around Ireland for six weeks and didn’t even think about getting travel insurance before I went. Now that I am older, and a little wiser (I think), I will be looking into getting insurance before my next overseas trip.

    • Realizing you’re wiser it’s already a wise act, in my opinion ๐Ÿ˜€
      Sometimes it can be “boring”, but it can save you on certain situations ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • “I Don’t Care” is a RAMONES song. They were most popular in South America. Where were you robbed? If you went to Argentina, I’d love to know what you thought (as an Italian)! I’m only concerned with medical evacuation insurance. Was going to look into Allianz, but maybe I’ll look at World Nomads as well. Loved your post, Luca!

    • I’ve been robbed in Buenos Aires. I was getting used to Argentina that I let my guard down, but since they were armed, it’s fine since I’m here writing about it ๐Ÿ˜€
      I loved that country and I’d like to go there again, but I’ll be even more careful next time!

  • For so many years I didn’t bother with travel insurance and I was lucky – I got away with it! These days I get a multi trip policy which lasts for a year. You can’t be too careful! It would be horrific if something went wrong!

  • I have to admit that I was unaware about Travel insurance before I first took my International trip. I completely agree with each word in this article. This is the must have requirement when you are travelling and its very important to check the things which are covered and which are not covered.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised to find that World Nomads is the biggest carrier of travel insurance. They seem to be everywhere! I first heard about them because of their frequent photo contests but have since heard from other travel bloggers who recommend them.

    We’ve actually never had travel insurance. We’ve lived in several countries and traveled through 30+ and have never even considered it. We’ve had all kinds of incidents – broken ankle in Costa Rica, flat tire in Spain (when we lived in Switzerland and had to drive back), missed flight to Kashmir – and it’s always been covered somehow. Credit cards often come with insurance for flight issues, our medical insurance covers us out of country, etc. Of course, we live in Germany now so we’re insured up the ying yang. Life insurance? Check!

    • Life insurance? Uncheck! That’s one I’m missing ๐Ÿ˜€
      But I agree about how world nomads is world spread, now more and more social with contests, travel guides and scholarships, for example. And they give money to charity projects around the world either.

  • I cannot imagine traveling without travel insurance. All our trips were done with insurance but luckily nothing happened that we would need to use the insurance. Quite a lot of money goes into it but then there is so much peace of mind.

    • Yes true, I can’t say they come out cheap, as every insurance, but I prefer to know I have my back covered and a few bucks less, than fear everything I do because if something happens I’m f***ed!

  • Ohh hell yes, insurance is a must for any and every trip. We do not travel without insurance. Atleast we know that our backs are covered. Some countries have extremely pricey medical care so it makes sense to have travel insurance.

  • You have made some really good points in your article. I found it the hard way that you need to take a photo of all your belonging and a receipt of their values (who keeps receipts of clothes anyway?) when the airline lost my luggage and I turned to the travel insurance for help. They asked for all the receipts and photos… but nobody tells you this when you buy the insurance.

    • Yes, you’re right. Usually they don’t mind telling you what you have to do to prove something, in the end for them is better if you can’t provide anything about your lost belongings. That’s why we need to be super-scrupulous about it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • I’m sorry that you learned about the need for insurance the hard way getting robbed and hurt. It’s good that you had the foresight to get insurance. I like the tips for having copies of important docs and separating valuable items and keeping them in different places.

  • My family had been travelling for several years now without insurance. We usually go to places we deem safe, usually large cities for a few days to a week. Fortunately for us, we never had a bad experience so far. Your post is an eye-opener to the realities of travels โ€“ unexpected things do happen when you least expect them. I think it is wise to have one covered while on the road particularly on off-the-beaten destinations.

    • Yes, some cities are safer than others, so you feel like nothing can happen when you’re there. And that can be absolutely understandable feeling. Going on off-the-beaten destination on the other side could be more “dangerous”, if I can say so, especially if it involves some activities like, for example, a simple mountain hike.

  • I can say that I have definitely learned the hard way with this one. Every time I think about spending that extra $20-50 pp I get anxious, but then realize it’s totally worth it for that ONE time shit goes down and you have no control over it. And the more I travel the more times things go wrong!

  • I always get a travel insurance before to undertake a long travel, in this way I’m more relaxed. A friend of mine had some problem in Bali, she didn’t have any travel insurance and almost lost a leg because she couldn’t pay the medical expenses. Anyway I dind’t know about World Nomads insurance, I’ll check it out for my next travels ๐Ÿ˜‰ thanks for your advice.


    • Wow, “some problem” and “almost lost a leg” seem so distant in meaning! I hope she’s ok now, but in the end yes, if an insurance can guarantee you to travel more relaxed, why not, among the other reasons? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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