Your choice of travel insurance is probably the most important decision you make when planning your holiday. You will enjoy peace of mind during your holiday, knowing that unforeseen circumstances, such as a hospital stay due to illness or accident, will be taken care of.
Travel insurance – do not go abroad without it
Also, although many travelers have health insurance, it may not cover them outside their network or the United States. Most medical plans do not cover medical expenses abroad. Therefore, travel insurance is essential to avoid financial disasters.
Always check the details of your insurance coverage before traveling. Also, without proper medical insurance, you have no control over where you will be treated if you have had an accident.
In general, comprehensive travel insurance costs 5 to 7 percent of the travel sum.
Your policy can also provide compensation for lost luggage, a degree of medical evacuation insurance, accidental death cover, medical expenses, personal liability, cancellation, loss of luggage, and theft. Your policy must also contain full details on how to make a claim.
Not all travel insurance is equalized. Costs vary from company and policy to policy.
Policies can be purchased for individual trips or as annual policies for all trips made during the insurance year. If you take out annual travel insurance, it covers one year from your chosen starting date. In some cases, it may be the best option to purchase travel cancellation insurance and third-party travel insurance.
Credit card companies usually offer so-called travel accident insurance, which covers accidents but not serious illnesses. When traveling abroad, you should always consider taking out insurance that includes medical care.
If you are prepared to take a financial risk (the cost of your trip), you can probably dispense with insurance for your domestic trip. Since 9/11, many people have been looking for travel insurance to protect their trip against unforeseen terrorist attacks at their destination.
Traveling abroad without insurance can be risky and can cause long-term financial difficulties in the event of an accident or illness.
Travel insurance – takes you home
Traveling by sea is something people all over the world strive for. Whether you’re cruising around the Greek islands on a luxury yacht and after a day of skiing, drinking brandy by the fire in a Swiss chalet; or spotting elephants in Kenya, a trip abroad can be the adventure of a lifetime. Unfortunately, however, it can also be the disaster of a lifetime, unless due care is taken before departure.
Together with passports and flight tickets, travel insurance is one of the most important things to remember before you go abroad. Not just any “cheapest-you-can-find” travel insurance, but a policy that takes good care of you when the unforeseen happens.
Types of travel insurance vary from company to company and it’s worth spending some time shopping before committing to a single policy. Remember that what is considered an acceptable risk by one insurer may be excluded by another. Definitions of terms may also vary.
Take terrorism, for example. Most insurance policies exclude acts of terrorism as events that can be claimed, but the definition of what constitutes an act of terrorism may vary from insurer to insurer. What one insurer may consider to be violent and therefore claimable, another insurer may consider terrorism and reject any claim.
In this age of terrorist threats and war-torn countries, travelers should always heed government advice on whether or not to travel to certain regions. If you decide to travel to a country despite government warnings, it can be difficult to take out travel insurance. If it is obtained, it is likely to be very expensive and coverage reasonably limited.
You must understand exactly what is and is not excluded from the policy before you sign on the dotted line. Being aware of the exclusions may even be more important than knowing what is covered. Make it clear what the definition of the insurer is of events that can be claimed and events that cannot be claimed. If possible, try to put these definitions in writing.
Make sure the language is good. Ask as many questions as necessary to know exactly where you stand.
Remember, the only stupid questions are those that have not yet been asked and voted on. If you go through a broker or agent, check with the insurance company if you are not sure of their answers. It is also wise to remember that no insurance covers you for anything that might happen during your vacation. However, the prudent traveler will make sure that what he or she needs to be covered for will be.
For example, does the policy allow you to participate in “adventure activities”? If you are going bungee jumping in New Zealand or white-water rafting in Canada, make sure your insurer is aware of this and will cover you for accidents during such activities.
Is your luggage excluded if you leave it unattended? What does ‘left unattended’ mean? What if you leave it in a taxi? What if you walk two meters away to buy a chocolate bar at a vending machine?
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the claim procedures before you leave as well, to avoid ‘paper madness’ in the event of an accident. Some policies have a time limit for reporting claims. In some cases, the incident must be reported to local authorities within 24 hours to make a claim.
Please also note that some countries may not recognize all insurance companies. This may be a problem if hospitalization is required. If the insurer is not recognized in that country, you may not receive hospital treatment. Make sure the insurer has a global reputation.
It is very expensive to get hurt abroad. For example, medical evacuation from the United States to Australia can cost as much as $80,000. If hospitalization is required, the bill can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you thought shopping in Beverly Hills would be fun…
It’s also dangerous to get hurt abroad, especially in countries where medical facilities may not be as well-equipped as at home. Again, evacuation costs can run into many thousands of dollars – and no insurance means a lifetime debt.
Traveling without proper travel insurance is like tightrope walking without a net. Of course it can be done, but a small slip and it’s too late for “If only” s. And chances are it will be your loved ones at home who will mortgage their homes, collect their pensions, and suffer significant financial setbacks to bring you back to the fold.
All in all, travel insurance is one thing you certainly shouldn’t miss!
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