Travel Insurance needs to be on everyone’s “Must have travel Items”. Let me start off by defining what travel insurance is. According to Wikipedia, “It is insurance intended to cover medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost luggage, flight accident and other losses while travelling either internationally or domestically.”
I know, most people will debate that they are healthy, they are careful, they do not engage in high risk activities as reasons for not needing travel insurance. Granted, that might be the case but, life has a way of not consulting you when it decides to “overhaul your life.” Honestly, when I started travelling, I didn’t even know about travel insurance and was lucky enough to not have any incidences. However, when I was bitten by a dog in India, I had my first ever “revelation” moment on Travel Insurance and its importance. I thought about how I had been putting my life at risk, putting my family at risk and I worried whether I would die of rabies, ignorance or stupidity of not having travel insurance. This article is thus based on first hand learnings and experiences that will benefit you. Let me debunk some “grey areas” people may have about travel insurance.
- Medical Insurance is not Travel insurance
Kindly note, having a medical cover does not cover you medically when you travel. Most medical covers will only cover you in your country while some are only applicable in your town of residence. As you may have noted above, travel insurance covers more than just medical related issues. In regards to health matters, it May cover in-patient, out-patient, evacuation and repatriation of body in case of death. On the road just like at home, accidents may happen, disease may just creep up on you and death may take you. In such instances, it is good to get the best treatment available right where you are at no extra cost. If deceased, your family will be safeguarded from the hassle of costs of repatriating your body among others. You may also have your luggage lost, property stolen or damaged, your flight cancelled among others, which depending on your travel cover, you will be compensated.
- Travel insurance Is for protection
Travel insurance is there to “protect you” in case of incidences. However, in case you have a hassle free, incidence free travel, you cannot reclaim the travel insurance fee. Travel insurance acts like any other insurance, just because you didn’t use it via claims, does not then translate to them owing you. Look at it as an investment that is win win, this time you may not have used the services but, you are protected in case a need arises.
- Travel Insurance is not expensive
Travel insurances offered vary from services, duration, cost, scope among others. This thus means that you can get travel insurance for various price points. The more the services and limits you want covered, the more pricy it is. Thus, do not use “cost” as a reason not to get one, your life has no cost adequate to protect it. When and if an incidence occurs, in most cases, the cash cost required will be more than if you bought travel insurance.
4. Ensure they work 24hrs
Incidences occur at anytime of the day or night and thus, you may have to contact them at unusual hours. Ensure and confirm that they work 24hrs everyday, 365/366 days a year. You can test this by contacting them at a strange hour of the night, before you travel. When you present your travel insurance to a hospital for example, authorization will be required from the insurer, nothing worse than finding them unavailable.
5. Understand its caveats
Kindly ensure you read and understand each and every element of your travel insurance including the small print that shares “caveats” and “”disclaimers”. Do not blindly purchase because your friend has a similar one, identify your respective needs and ensure you are covered.
Some covers will require you to pay cash at the medical facility and then claim a reimbursement upon return to your home country or dictate the facility you may be attended at. They will then determine whether that “cost” was necessary or not before refunding you. If your property is stolen, your luggage lost, flight delayed etc, also always know what is “covered”, what action is accepted and what protocol to follow.
Some insurance companies that offer travel insurance DO NOT cover adrenaline sports or games. This thus means that, if you get injured or even die while partaking in activities like bungee jumping, skydiving, paragliding among others, you will not be compensated even though your travel insurance covers medical. It is perceived that you knowingly put yourself at risk and thus makes you “uninsurable.” For those that do cover, there will be an extra cost associated with it thus if “adrenaline sports” are your thing, I highly recommend you ensure you confirm you are covered adequately.
6: It is required for some visa application
When applying for a visa to some countries, you will be required to present your travel insurance. Kindly note, they will scrutinize the document so do not get a shoddy cover. Ensure that the scope meaning destination matches with the travel insurance cover, the duration of travel should also be similar among others.
7: Always carry it on you
Kindly while on the road, always ensure you carry your travel insurance document with you. Have the official hard copy and also have the soft copy on your phone. Leaving it in your bag in the hotel room will not help when you face an incident outside the hotel. Always have them on you so that in case of an incident, you can immediately be assisted.
8. Best travel insurance to use
Currently, I am in the process of divorcing my Travel Insurance service provider as I am a dissatisfied customer. Let me explain, on paper they are excellent, on services offered, they are excellent, on cover and scope they are excellent, on cost they are excellent, on reviews they are excellent but they failed my first and only practical test with them. You see, I have been fortunate enough to have no serious incidences on the road to require me to use or even claim my insurance. Thus, with each trip, I would buy a new cover as I do not travel all year round yet.
However, on one of my trips, I was sure of my bare minimum days of travel but was flexible on maximum days of travel. I thus consulted the travel insurance agent on which cover to buy as I didn’t want to spend extra money on days that I was not sure I would be on the road. He thus assured me that, I could easily buy the cover for the minimum days and if I decided to extend my days, I would just have to contact them prior to expiration, pay the difference of the extended cover and it would be well. Fast forward to the trip, I was having such a fabulous time that I decided to extend my trip. This my people is where I discovered, not all good things on paper are the same practically. I started with the easiest, I called them, no one picked the calls-Red flag number one. I thereafter emailed the respective agent-No response. My days were now even closer, I wrote emails, this time incorporating all management or figures I could get on their online addresses. Finally, there was a response-I WOULD HAVE TO PURCHASE A NEW COMPLETE TRAVEL INSURANCE. Imagine if I had needed urgent emergency assistance, Divorce ongoing.
Kindly allow me to give an honest answer on a travel insurance company I can recommend once I settle on one, I am currently searching. I will let you know once I settle 🙂
Let me know if you have any questions or tips on travel insurance, lets be safe on the road people. Cheers