That thing called travel insurance that we are not paying attention to
I can hear my mother’s voice echoing every time she calls me via Skype: “Ana Patricia, get a freaking travel insurance!” Yep, that’s what she calls me when sh*t’s going down.
Can you believe I went backpacking South America for 3.5 years and never purchased any travel insurance?! Thank God nothing bad happened to me but that kind of thinking always leads me not to avail one because (1) it is expensive; (2) it is expensive; (3) it is expensive.
To be honest, I never really found it expensive. I mean, come on, a basic travel insurance is at $3 per day. If you sum that up to 30 days, that’s $90 USD but I always put it in low priority because hey – I can have a few beers and a few nights in a hostel with that amount of money.
As I grew older, this way of thinking submerged and I slowly thought to myself: “I am pretty stupid.” Sure, nothing bad will happen to me while traveling (that has always been my way of thinking) but what if there come a day that you get bit by a freaking mosquito while camping in the amazon or encountered a mini-accident while riding the motorcycle from Laos to Thailand? Travel insurance will always come handy!
Okay, let’s not talk about super major things. Let’s put a non-life threatening example to have a better understanding here. Last year, when I arrived Israel, I had too much ice cream (as far as I remember) my front tooth started hurting like hell. When you are traveling, you tend to ignore ‘small’ things like this so I figured it will pass if I just drink loads of water. Unfortunately, it didn’t. I had to go to the dentist.
God, I hate doctors! I hate hospitals. I hate the smell. I hate that everyone is wearing white it confuses me. This is also one of the reasons why I always had full confidence on my health. I self diagnose. I’m healthy and I don’t need to see a doctor! was always my line. Even to my mother.
Israel is a very expensive country so even if there was no way this toothache situation was part of my budget, I had to prepare for it. I came prepared but not for a $150 USD check up!!!
Lesson learned: availing a travel insurance is always cheaper than surprise expenses you are not prepared for.
Frequently Asked Questions
A travel insurance is an emergency ticket when something major happens. For example, you catch dengue fever while vacationing in Sri Lanka, this insurance will have you covered. Though I am not from a country where health insurance is popular, I know the difference. Health insurance is what you have back home and serve purpose to non-major things such as a personal visit to the doctor just because you feel like it.
Most people purchase one for this but it can also cover lost/stolen/damaged luggage, missed flights, travel delay, stolen gadgets – it really depends on the plan that you are planning to avail. The following are the most common package:
- Global coverage of at least one million dollars ($1 million).
- No deductible in case of hospitalization, medical consultation and obtaining prescription drugs.
- Provisions, in case of medical repatriation or emergency medical evacuation, allowing a 100% coverage of the actual costs for up to the global coverage sum.
- In case of death abroad, expenses for return of the body.
A guarantee that your vehicle will be brought back to your residence.
- Immediate relief of acute dental pain & emergency treatment as a result of an accidental blow to the face
Each travel insurance plan is different so you should check with the company you are signing up with. They can answer all your questions better.
You can always add multiple countries/regions. In this note, it’s better to sign up with an insurance company that worldwide has worldwide coverage excluding risky countries.
Though credit cards are commonly used as a travel insurance, its coverage is limited. It is still advisable to get it from an insurance company.
Unfortunately, travel insurance only covers you when something happens to you on the road. Most of the companies will even ask about your medical condition. Make sure not to lie about this!
Tips on purchasing travel insurance
- Buy yours in a real travel insurance company. It usually costs more from airlines or tour operators and more often won’t give the proper coverage you need.
- Make sure to get coverage that fits the type of traveler that you are. For example, Digital Nomads need to include their gadgets in their travel insurance. Choose something that you can maximise.
- Always include delayed/cancelled flight coverage in your travel insurance!
- Stop saying “it’s too expensive. Nothing’s going to happen to me anyway.” You’ll never know what will happen to you on the road so you are not in the position to say that. It’s not about the word “cheap.” It’s about YOU. Just get one! It’s for your own good.
Do you always make sure you have a travel insurance? Or you’re one of the people who’s not paying attention to it?
What are your travel insurance stories? Share it on the comment box below! I want to know what you think.
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