When to Get Travel Insurance
It’s become increasingly common for booking agencies, both online and offline, to ask travellers if they would like to purchase travel insurance at the time of booking. And studies show that an increasing amount of travellers are indeed purchasing insurance policies. But do you really need travel insurance?
The answer to that question is a very scientific one: it depends.
It depends on your travel arrangements, it depends on your travel destination, it depends the total costs involved, it depends on the types of insurance available, and it depends on many other factors. So let’s go over these in more detail to find out if you really do need to purchase travel insurance.
First of all, it is important to understand that travel insurance policies can cover much more than just medical costs and flight cancellation. In fact, there’s a myriad of insurance options available to travellers:
- Medical insurance, which typically covers medical costs if you fall ill during your holiday;
- Emergency evacuation insurance, which can cover your evacuation costs to another hospital (of your choosing or of the insurance company’s choosing) in case your illness cannot be treated where you are;
- Trip-cancellation or interruption, which can reimburse (sometimes partially) previously made travel reservations;
- Luggage insurance, which reimburses lost or stolen items; and
- Flight insurance or accidental death insurance, which is essentially an extension of the coverage of life insurance to your travels.
Besides knowing the types of insurance available, it is also important to take into account a number of other factors when you’re thinking about purchasing travel insurance. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before taking this step:
- Am I making reservations prior to travelling (i.e. hotels, car rental services, etc.)?
- Are these reservations costly (i.e. a 5 star resort, an extensive guided tour, etc.)?
- Am I booking reservations with companies that may go bankrupt?
- Am I travelling to a country with a weak health system?
- Am I travelling to remote locations?
- Will I be involved in “extreme” activities that may create a greater risk?
- Am I travelling with expensive goods?
If you have answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, then travel insurance might be something to consider on your next holiday. But there is one more factor to consider: the cost of travel insurance. As there are many different policies available (and many different companies providing them), prices will vary depending on the type of coverage you need. Take a look at some good websites to compare travel insurance policies and prices such as www.insuremytrip.com, www.confused.com/travel-insurance and www.moneysupermarket.com/travel-insurance.
After that, consider purchasing travel insurance if you find yourself in one of the following situations:
- You are making a significant amount of costly reservations before travelling;
- You are travelling with a company that may go bankrupt or has a record of flight cancellations;
- You are travelling with expensive goods in your luggage that you cannot afford to lose;
- You are travelling to a remote location or to a country with a weak health system;
- You are travelling to a country that may be unsafe (due to regular man-made or natural disasters) or that has a recent history of war;
- The cost of your travel insurance is reasonable in comparison to the price of your holiday; or
- You are going to be participating in “extreme” activities.
Of course, you don’t need an exceptional reason to buy travel insurance. If you are simply the kind of person who likes to have some peace of mind while you travel, then travel insurance is right for you as well. Just make sure you are getting the best price for your travel needs.