Planning on traveling? This is a complete guide to buying travel insurance. Keep reading to learn why it is important for your next trip, what travel insurance covers, and get a free trip insurance quote with World Nomads.
SHADOWS AND REGRETS
Let me start by saying that I did not purchase travel insurance for my trips to Thailand and Bali. I thought, I’m young, I’m healthy, nothing bad is going to happen! I had just spent so much money for my trip that I didn’t want to spend another cent on something that I probably wouldn’t even need. BOY WAS I WRONG!!!
On the third day of our Bali adventure, Shane and I spent our entire day in the jungles of Ubud. When we came home, my stomach felt hella weird. Shanes too. After a couple trips to the bathroom I decided to take some Immodium and rest while the rest of the group went out to dinner. By the time everyone came back, I had a 104 fever, chills, and couldn’t keep any water down. Two days went by and I finally agreed to let Shane call a Doctor to come see me.
I was diagnosed me with the dreaded “Bali Belly.” I received antibiotics, anti-nausea medication, 2 IV boluses with electrolytes because I was so dehydrated, and a one very expensive medical bill. I was sure that my insurance back home in the states would cover me, but I was wrong, and I was footed a $1,000 dollar bill, and then $250 more for a follow up visit back in the US.
Travel insurance is something that you should seriously consider!
WHAT DOES BASIC TRAVEL INSURANCE COVER?
There are many different travel insurance policies, but a basic travel insurance policy will provide the following coverages:
Health: This covers a hospital visit or medical expense related to accident, injury, or illness. A typical limit for medical expenses is $100,000, which is fine for the expenses you are most likely to incur (in my case, Bali Belly, crashing a motorbike, burns, sprained ankles, etc.).
This basic travel insurance policy will not cover health-related expenses by activities deemed “risky” such as scuba diving or parasailing. If you do intend to scuba and would like peace of mind, many insurance companies will allow you to enroll in coverage for these activities at a higher premium.
Theft and pitpocketing: I had my iPhone pitpocketed moments after stepping off the ferry in Phi Phi. I had to suffer the rest of the trip without a phone! Losing my phone was a horrible experience, but one of the key features of travel insurance is that it will help you replace items such as money, jewelry, and electronics while you are away.
We like to travel with our laptop, camera, and drone. Most travel insurance companies also extend coverage to individual items like these.
Cancellation: In this day in age, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, and tours/excursions have all made it increasingly expensive to change or cancel itineraries. Depending on the policy, this usually refers to cancellations of flights or hotel reservations due to unforeseen circumstances. This kind of insurance could also extend its coverage to airline change fees if your itinerary changes during a vacation, which happens all the time!
The increased financial burden caused by changing plans is the number one reason travel insurance policies have grown in the past five years.
Missed Connections- If you are traveling on a route with more than one flight or train journeys, many travel insurance policies will cover you for these missed connections. They can find you accommodations via their help line if you are stranded or cover alternative transportation arrangements.
Losing your documents abroad – This is probably one of the biggest disasters you could encounter while traveling! Travel insurance will help replace your documents and help you get home should anything happen to those documents.
WHAT AND WHO ARE YOU INSURING?
How to choose the best policy for you:
- Where are you traveling?
- What is your method of transportation? Flights, rental cars?
- Will you be doing adventurous activities such as sky diving or rock climbing?
- Who are you traveling with? A family, single, couple?
- The length of your trip
- The value of what you are bringing (laptop, drone, camera and gear)
Important things to consider are:
- Extent of coverage – Once home in the US, I made a follow-up Doctor appointment. Something to consider is, can you obtain reimbursement for medical treatment continued on in your home country?
- Amount of premium – making sure you have the right coverage and can upgrade/downgrade as needed
- Alcohol and drugs- Many policies will deny you if something happens while you are under the influence of alcohol and drugs
WHAT ISN’T COVERED (by most policies)
- travel to high-risk countries
- pre-existing medical conditions
- sports and adventure activities with high risk
CHECK THE EXCLUSIONS
This is a list of exclusions that aren’t covered that your policy will list:
- Acts of war, terrorism, uprising or civil commotion
- Natural disasters
- Severe weather
It is VERY important to know the medical exclusions and conditions of your policy. I live in America, and medical costs here are outrageous. You don’t want to be stuck with a medical bill from the US, trust me!
BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE COMPANIES
Since Travel Insurance is in such high demand these days, it is also more competitively priced. One of the best travel insurance companies that is simple, flexible, and covered from over 150 countries is World Nomads.
World Nomads was created by long-term digital nomad Simon Monk 15 years ago, so I knew this was a good bet. World Nomads retains a competitive advantage in that it understands its policy-holders needs.
Accessible and affordable: All you have to do is put in your destination, origin location, age of travelers, and World Nomads instantly provides you with a quote!
Good for risk takers: World Nomads has a long list of covered risky/adventure activities such as bungee jumping, parasailing, and rock climbing. With over 150 activities, this is more than most travel insurance providers. If you are a risk taker like me, World Nomads has you covered.
Efficiency: Claims can be submitted easily online via your mobile phone and are processed quickly and efficiently. If you happen to have any questions, the World Nomads staff always responds quickly. They also have a very engaged travel community on social media. Check out their Instagram @WorldNomads and you can even hashtag #worldnomads for a feature of your travel pics!
WHEN SHOULD YOU PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE?
I recommend purchasing trip insurance up to one week before your trip. Never wait until you have left home to get your insurance because it often makes it invalid. However, World Nomads allows you to buy insurance online 24/7 from anywhere in the world, even after you’ve left home. They are great, and even trusted by brands such as Lonely Planet, Intrepid Travel, and National Geographic.
MY THOUGHTS ON CHEAP TRAVEL INSURANCE
It isn’t always wise to get the cheapest travel insurance. This could cost you a lot more in the long run, and you need to get the right policy for YOU! Travel insurance companies provide good coverage and DO CARE about reducing their expenses in order to give you the best experience possible.