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5 Things to Consider When Buying Travel Insurance

Posted by Andrew Ma on 01/10/2016
5-things-to-consider-when-buying-travel-insurance

Your tickets are booked, hotels are selected, passport is up to date, and bags are packed for a once in a lifetime backpacking experience through Southeast Asia, or maybe you are heading out to Germany for a weekend in Munich. As the date draws closer you check and recheck everything, but we bet there is something that might be missing: travel insurance. According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), nearly 1 in 4 travellers don’t secure travel insurance when they travel abroad, a number which the ABTA believes will continue to increase.

Ask anyone who has been in an accident, needed to seek medical care or has even been delayed while overseas, and you will likely be told how expensive, time consuming, and frustrating sorting out care or alternative travel plans can be. Simply put, this could ruin your vacation. Travel insurance is a great way to ensure that, should anything go wrong on your next vacation, the costs are covered. As such, here are 5 tips on how you can secure the best travel insurance plan.

What is travel insurance and do I need it?

Before we look at securing travel insurance, it would first be a good idea to define what exactly travel insurance is. Simply put, travel insurance is a form of short-term insurance that covers you while you are away from your home country.

The vast majority of plans on the market will cover a wide variety of things including:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Repatriation of remains
  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip delays
  • Lost luggage

 

Because travel insurance plans cover a wide variety of things, they are often recommended by travel experts. But do you really need one? Yes! The main reason is that in many countries it is actually incredibly expensive for a foreigner to receive care. For example, if you go to Thailand and are seriously injured while driving a motorbike, you will likely first be sent to Bangkok for care, then possibly sent home.

This can be extremely expensive, with USA Today noting that, “Medical evacuation and transport costs typically start at USD 25,000 and can exceed USD 250,000″. A solid travel insurance plan will cover all, or the majority of these costs, making them well worth it.   

5 tips on how to secure the best travel insurance plan

  1. Be aware of the coverage region of your plan - Some travel insurance providers will group countries together into regions and then apply different premiums (what you pay for coverage) based on the countries in that region. The thing here is that some countries, while close to one another geographically, may not be included in the regions set by the insurer. This means that your coverage will not apply to these countries should you visit them, so be sure to secure a plan that covers all of the countries you will visit.
  2. Travel insurance is designed mostly to help during an emergency - If you plan on going to say Thailand or Singapore for medical treatments, they will not be covered by your travel insurance plan. The medical coverage offered by travel insurance plans is intended to get you well enough to travel back to your home country where your main insurance plan or national health system can take over. It would be a good idea to review the plan’s Terms and Conditions, as there will usually be a clause stating that medical care will need to be deemed urgent by staff or doctors before the plan will cover any costs.
  3. Many travel insurance plans reimburse cover – What this means is that you will be covered, but should something happen – e.g., your plane is cancelled and you need to book another flight – you will first need to pay for it and then submit a claim with your insurer, who will then reimburse you. Therefore, it would be advisable to keep all of your receipts should you be planning to submit a claim.
  4. Travel insurance plans almost always have a time limit - This is an important thing to be aware of, as many insurers will offer two types of travel insurance: Single trip plans and multiple trip plans. It is not uncommon to see single trip plans offer coverage only for a set period of time e.g., 30 days, or 6 months. Multiple trip plans will often cover any trips in a set time period, usually one year, but may set a limit on how long each trip can be e.g., 30 days. This is important to be aware of, especially if you will be away for a longer period of time.  
  5. Be aware that your existing health insurance may not cover you outside of your home country – A common misconception is that your existing medical insurance will cover you while you are outside of your home country. This may cause people to forgo travel insurance that offers medical coverage, instead opting for a plan that covers everything else. While in some cases you will be covered – e.g., if you have an European Health Insurance Card you will be covered for care at public hospitals – but any medical evacuation costs will not be covered.

 

If you are going on vacation in the near future, contact Pacific Prime. As an international insurance broker they can help you identify and secure a plan that will cover all of your travels.