Should You Buy Travel Insurance Or Not?

Should You Buy Travel Insurance Or Not?

Guide to Buying Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance Guide

Buying travel insurance can be a very confusing part of planning your international travel adventure. Is it worth the expense? Which companies are the best?

What Is Travel Insurance?

The term travel insurance is commonly used to describe a few different types of insurance. It can be very confusing for new travelers to figure it all out. You should know what coverage a policy includes, because it may not include everything.

Travel Health Insurance is coverage for accidents, injuries, and hospital visits while you are away from home.

Medical Evacuation Insurance is coverage for transporting you to a major hospital for treatment.

Trip Cancelation Insurance is coverage for unexpected interruptions in your travel plans.

Baggage/Property Insurance is coverage for theft or damage to your gear while traveling.

Should You Buy Travel Insurance Or Not?

Dangerous Travel Adventures…

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

This is the million-dollar question — and ultimately a personal decision. I’ve met plenty of people who travel without travel insurance and I’ve contemplated doing the same.

But after over 4 years of constant travel, getting into a few predicaments myself, and talking with other people — if someone asks me my opinion on the subject I answer with:

YES. Everyone should carry some kind of health & property insurance on the road.

Why? Because shit happens. Whether you think it will or not. Despite your best-laid plans and preventative measures. Sure, if you sprain your ankle, that’s no big deal. But what if your appendix bursts? Or you get in a shipwreck? Or you contract a deadly disease? Or need medical evacuation? These things can happen and could cost you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without insurance, you’re screwed!

My recommendation is based on listening to many first-hand tales of disaster from other travelers, as well as from my own experiences.

Should You Buy Travel Insurance Or Not?

Catching Dengue Fever in Mexico

Real-Life Examples

I met a woman who fell off a ladder in Costa Rica, shattering the bone in her arm. She did not have health insurance, received horrible treatment, and was basically held hostage at the hospital until she managed to flee the country. Not having health insurance turned this nice person into a fugitive.

Another well-traveled friend lost everything he owned when his locked guesthouse room in Ecuador was broken into. Without personal property insurance he would’ve been out thousands of dollars worth of computer & camera gear.

Another friend contracted a flesh-eating parasite while trekking through the jungles of Peru. He needed months worth of treatment from specialized doctors to keep it under control, including a flight back to the United States.

Another good friend lost all his expensive camera gear when his room in India was broken into. Another buddy had electronic gear stolen from his room in Colombia.

Another had his 5-star resort room ransacked in Mexico.

These are all people who I know personally.

Should You Buy Travel Insurance Or Not?

Man Using My Stolen Laptop

My Own Close Calls…

I once crashed a wooden sled while flying down a volcano at about 20mph, receiving lacerations all over my head. I was lucky I wasn’t injured more. A girl with our same group was not so lucky, and tore a ligament in her ankle that required surgery.

I’ve also crashed a motorcycle while on a 2 day ride through Nicaragua. Again, I was lucky I wasn’t injured enough to need medical attention. It could have easily been worse.

In 2011 my MacBook Pro laptop computer was stolen literally right out from under my feet in Panama. I’d let my travel insurance lapse, and was no longer covered for the theft… Luckily I got some payback!

I’ve contracted Dengue Fever in Mexico, which required blood tests & doctor’s visits. It was not fun at all!

My point here is you never know. Not having travel insurance when you really need it sucks big time. And you won’t understand just how much it sucks until it happens to you.

What Kind Of Insurance?

That really depends on a lot of factors. You’ll have to ask yourself a few questions. Are you a short-term traveler going away for a few weeks/months? Or are you a long-term traveler leaving for a year or more?

Do you carry a lot of very expensive gear, or not?

Will your regular health insurance cover you overseas? Does it include medical evacuation?

Do you have pre-existing conditions?

Are you the type of person who books hotels/flights/activities in advance? Or do you just wing it and pay for services as you use them?

Travel Insurance Providers

Here are a few of the top travel, medical, and personal property insurance providers with a short description of what they do & do not cover. These are definitely not the only insurance options out there though.

Example quotes were obtained using my details: 31 year old single male with no pre-existing conditions.

IMG Global

This plan specializes in long-term worldwide medical coverage, but does not cover theft or trip cancelation. Coverage inside the United States is included, but to qualify you must spend at least 6 months of the year living abroad. You can choose a deductible from $250-$10,000. Dave from GoBackpacking.com and the Vogel’s from FamilyOnBikes.com are happy customers.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage at Home: Yes.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancelation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: No.
Example Quote: Global Gold (1 year policy) = $74/month with $1000 deductible

World Nomads

They specialize in short-term travel coverage, including theft, and are very popular. Buying insurance with them is quick & easy. You can extend coverage online from anywhere. They do not fully cover expensive items like DSLR cameras & computers. Matt from NomadicMatt.com, Ayngelina from BaconIsMagic.ca and Gareth from Tourist2Townie.com are happy customers. I’ve used them before too.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage at Home: No.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancelation: Yes.
Theft/Damage Insurance: Yes. ($500 per-item limit)
Example Quote: Basic Plan (6 month policy) = $49/month

Clements Global Care

They specialize in medical insurance for professionals moving abroad. You must use a foreign address to qualify for coverage. Deductible ranges from $250-$5000. Akila from TheRoadForks.com is a happy customer.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage at Home: Yes.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancelation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: No.
Example Quote: Global Basic (1 year policy) = $83/month with $1000 deductible.

Clements Property

Along with medical, Clements also offers property insurance for theft/damage of gear. Both scheduled (receipts) and unscheduled. It seems to be geared for working professionals moving abroad, not full-time travelers. But I know some travel bloggers that use it. Dave from GoBackpacking.com, Jodi from LegalNomads.com, and Akila from TheRoadForks.com are happy customers.

Health Coverage Worldwide: No.
Medical Evacuation: No.
Trip Cancelation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: Yes.
Example Quote: Plan 1 (1 year policy) = $19/month for $7500 worth of gear.

HTH Worldwide

Full international medical insurance, including the United States. No limits as to how long you are in the US. Deductible waived for regular doctor checkups. Excellent insurance, but pricey. Sherry from OttsWorld.com is a happy customer.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage at Home: Yes.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancelation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: No.
Example Quote: Global Citizen (1 year policy) = $269/month with $1000 deductible

AMEX Travel

Multiple-trip travel insurance that covers you for up to 60 days in each location. Baggage coverage has a maximum of $2500, so it might not cover expensive electronics if everything is stolen. For US & Canadian residents only. Plan details differ depending on your country of residence. Dave & Deb from ThePlanetD.com are happy customers.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage at Home: No.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancelation: Yes.
Theft/Damage Insurance: Yes.
Example Quote: Annual Coverage (1 year policy) = $50/month

State Farm Personal Article

I know many photographers who purchase this policy to cover their expensive gear from damage/theft. It’s cheap and covers a lot. But your claim will be denied if they investigate & find you make ANY money with your gear. Must be purchased in home state, but coverage is worldwide.

Health Coverage Worldwide: No.
Medical Evacuation: No.
Trip Cancelation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: Yes.
Example Quote: Personal Article (1 year policy) = $10/month for $5000 worth of gear.

State Farm Business

This policy will cover all your gear from damage/theft if you use it to make any sort of living. Also covers general liability up to $1m, a nice perk. Must be purchased in home state, but coverage is worldwide.

Health Coverage Worldwide: No.
Medical Evacuation: No.
Trip Cancelation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: Yes.
Example Quote: Business Property (1 year policy) = $41/month for $12,000 worth of gear.

More Insurance Options

  • Already have health insurance? Check if they provide coverage internationally.
  • Credit card companies often include some travel/theft insurance.
  • Your homeowner’s insurance may cover your gear while traveling.
  • Apartment rental insurance may cover your gear while traveling.

TIP: My friend Richard (long-term traveler & former lawyer) drafted a contract with his parents for “renting” a room in their home for $5 a month, which he uses to buy cheap renter’s insurance from State Farm that covers personal property. Crafty!

Making A Claim

Insurance companies are notorious for trying to avoid paying out claims. Making a claim might take some work on your part, depending on the situation. Here are a few tips for getting paid:

  • Companies will occasionally say that something is covered to sell you a policy, only to spew out “yes we cover that, but technically it doesn’t mean we guarantee payment”. Don’t take that shit. Fight your claim until it’s paid, even if it takes a year!
  • If you’re having issues filing a claim, always work your way up the corporate ladder. Talk to their supervisor. Then talk to the supervisor’s supervisor. Make your claim issues public using Social Media. Out them (respectfully) for being the snakes that they are.
  • Record conversations. At the beginning of every phone call, tell the other party that you’re recording the conversation just to ensure there are no mis-understandings later. You can easily do this with Skype and a program like Pamela for PC or Call Recorder for Mac.
  • When filing a police report of any kind, keep the story simple. The longer & more in-depth the report, the easier it will be for the insurance company to find a loophole that they can use to deny your claim! They will try their hardest to do so…

What Do I Use?

I’m a long-term traveler who occasionally visits my home country for a few months. I travel with expensive camera & computer equipment. I do not book many hotels/flights/activities in advance. Due to those factors, this is what I currently use:

IMG Global: This plan covers my health all over the world. I don’t want trip cancelation insurance, because I hardly ever book things in advance. I don’t spend more than 6 months in the United States each year, so I’m qualified. I’m still covered while I’m visiting the United States.

Cost: Global Gold (1 year policy) = $74/month with $1000 deductible

Clements Property: This plan covers my camera gear, computer, and other items in my pack from theft or damage anywhere in the world. It’s cheap & covers a lot. I provide receipts for scheduled gear up front (computer, cameras, lenses), and a general amount for unscheduled gear.

Cost: Plan 1 (1 year policy) = $19/month for $7500 worth of gear.

NOTE: I have not needed to file a claim with any of these companies yet.

Travel Insurance Tips

  • Read the fine print first! Know what you’re covered for. For example, some policies don’t cover extreme sports or theft of unattended items.
  • Take photos of all your gear with a date stamp.
  • Save PDF copies of all gear purchase & hospital receipts. Keep originals too.
  • Write down serial numbers, policy numbers, and insurance contact information.
  • Store this information online in a secure, easy to access place. I use Evernote. Another good option is Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • File a police report immediately after any theft or accident.

Share your opinion

You are welcome, recent entries, to comment.

ivesep-krsk.ru © 2017 ·   Log in   · TOP