Why the right Travel Insurance Truly Matters
Travel insurance has saved my life on more than one trip abroad and it is something I take very seriously. Travel insurance is an absolute must for me, I will not travel anywhere without it. Unfortunately not all travel insurances are created equal. In this post I will share with you the hidden things you need to make sure you are covered for, along with what policies I put my trust in.
- Wild Tip: I can guarantee that every travel insurance policy will NOT cover you if you are injured while intoxicated.
Read the Fine Print
I have spent countless hours reading blog posts and comparing different insurance recommendations, only to find them saying the same copy and paste thing. Most websites give you a broad list of companies and only compare basic items, they never actually look into the detailed policy of the insurer. So no matter what you read, before you purchase any travel insurance, make sure to look at the plan’s full policy description.
Main Things to Look For in an Insurance Policy
Almost every travel insurance company will provide some form of protection for baggage delay and loss, trip cancellation and emergency medical care. What kind, how much and the type of care covered are what vary.
With my personal experience being injured abroad, these are the main things to look for in the detailed policy’s fine print:
- The type of medical evacuation flight you will be covered for – Some travel insurance plans only cover the same type of airline seat and ticket that you purchased. For most of us traveling we find the best flight deal and get the basic economy seat, but what if you are severely injured half a world away from home, do you really want to be stuck in economy trying get back?
Wild Tip: On my last trip I was very grateful that my World Nomads policy upgraded me to Business Class when I needed to be medically evacuated back home. It took me 36 hours to get home and on my long 14 hour cross-Pacific flight the business seat not only helped with my injuries but it was also the only seat available on the plane at such a short notice. With that I was able to get home sooner and receive immediate medical care.
- Some travel insurance plans say they cover the full cost of your medical evacuation flight home but in reality they only cover the cost of the ticket minus the price of your pre-paid return flight, if you had one already booked.
- Does your travel insurance cover the cost of a travel companion or medical staff needed to help get you home if injured?
Wild Tip: On my most recent travel injury my World Nomads plan also covered the expense for my girlfriend, who was my travel companion, to fly business class home with me.
- Will your insurance cover the cost to send a family member out to you, if you are severely hurt and cannot leave the hospital in immediate future?
- Are you covered for any serious injury or AD&D during your flight? For some plans this is an add-on option.
- Make sure you find out what type of luggage is covered for theft? Some plans do not cover electronics.
- Make sure you know exactly what type of activities and sports are covered.
- Always make sure what can void your policy and what will not be covered.
A lot of companies have different tiers for their policies, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Elite, Preferred, Essential and each of these tiers have different coverage amounts. Most often than not plans like this start with a low price that is heavily dependent on your pre-paid trip cost, duration and age. Usually the price ends up doubling with all of the add-on fees and options that you need, if you want to get full coverage.
What Type of Trip are You on
Before you buy any insurance you need to decide what type of trip you are going on and what you are doing. Are you going to a resort for a week then returning home or maybe you want to sight-see Europe over spring break? How about doing a multi-month trip through Central America or maybe you want to get lost in Asia for a year? Deciding where you are going and what you are doing will help you find your perfect insurer.
If you are going on a pre-paid all inclusive trip, such as a cruise or resort, business function or school sponsored event, you could look into a policy through your credit card company or with a company like Allianz, Travel Guard, Nationwide or RoamRight. These companies deal mostly with short, set, structured vacations. Unfortunately they tend to be add on heavy and the price depends on your trip cost. Otherwise most backpackers and long term travelers should look into World Nomads, their coverage is better than almost every other company out there.
Making a Claim
Like I said before, you need to read and know your policy’s fine print. In the unfortunate event that something happens and you need to make a claim you will have a lot of leg work to do. Most of that leg work is making sure you are covered. You will need the proper documentation and have the correct forms filled out. You will need doctor signatures, travel itineraries, receipts and police reports. You will basically need as much information that you can provide about your trip, accident or loss of property.
- Wild Tip: I have had to make claims through World Nomads for a lot of different things, from monkey bites to general health concerns, stolen property and even broken bones. Making a claim consists of a lot of paperwork and forms to fill out, I have had some headaches but I have yet to have an issue with coverage or repayment. World Nomads has been a literal life saver for me.
The Travel Insurance I Use
Its pretty obvious that I love using World Nomads, they have been my go to travel insurer ever since my first trip overseas in 2013. I have looked into other options but no one else comes close to the full coverage and benefits for the same price as World Nomads.
World Nomads does offer policies to many nationalities and provides coverage for visiting almost every country in the world. You can book their insurance before your trip or during you trip. Your policy can be any duration from 1 week to 1 year, with the option to extend if you decide extend your trip.
They have two coverage choices, the Standard Plan or Explorer Plan. These options vary slightly with which activities are covered and the amount of coverage for some things, like evacuation, AD&D, baggage and trip delay. I always get the Explorer Plan for the extra activity coverage.
As with any company there might be issues with reimbursement, but for me using World Nomads through multiple claims, 2 of which evacuated me back home, I have never ran into a major issue or denial of coverage. I’ve been patched up and sent home safely and will continue to put my trust in them for my future adventures.
Wild Tip: Through experience, here are 2 things I have found in World Nomads fine print:
- In order to be upgraded to a business class flight your doctor needs to deem it necessary and sign a box on your medical claim form.
- Your travel insurance policy will be canceled if you return home early, say you get a 6 month policy and you go travel for 2 months, then you visit home for a day or week to see your family, before continuing on the rest of your 4 month trip, your plan will be void the second you get home.
This is a new company for me and after a lot of research I have decided to try them for my 2 week Mexican holiday with my mother. I have not gone away from World Nomads, but for the type of vacation I was on, I did not need the extensive coverage that I normally do and the price was way cheaper. Allianz seems to cover almost everything I look for in a travel insurance policy.
- They have 3 plan types – Classic plan with trip+, Classic plan and Basic plan.
- Plan cost is dependent on age, trip duration and pre-paid trip cost. Our flights were cheap and we got cheap Airbnb’s so our pre-paid cost was low, making our policy cost low.
- They don’t seem to flood you with add-on coverage, which is nice.
- If I did need an emergency medical evacuation it would be with the same type of air ticket that I traveled on, no upgrades, but for me it was less than a 7 hour flight home so that was okay.
Stay safe on the road and make sure you get some form of travel insurance, it might save your life, it has mine! Don’t forget to read the fine print for any policy and enjoy your travels!
If you have any extra questions about making a claim, how to pick a policy or just want to chat about your adventure, hit me up on the contact page or drop me a comment below!