Everyone asks, “should I have travel insurance?”
The answer is most people don’t. They should.
Here are the ten reasons you need travel insurance the most, whether you are on a 3-week trip around Southeast Asia, or you are spending 6 months teaching english in Vietnam. If you are traveling in the US, and you don’t have health insurnace, its even more important. And its cheap: you can get a 6-month policy for around $300, shorter durations are even cheaper.
I recommend buying insurance from TravelGuard or World Nomads. TravelGuard is the more professional, with lots of options for different types of travel: expats, long-term travel, and various levels of benefits. Worldnomads is geared towards backpackers and comes in a one-size-fits-all package. It’s the easier of the two to sign up for and its really easy to get a quote. See the link on the right for a quote.
Top Reasons you need Travel Insurance
1. You need some sort of Health Insurance. Your Health is the most important thing you own. Medical care is not cheap, and with medical care in developing countries, you always get what you pay for. It’s your life, you want the best care possible. You never know when you might get in a road accident, malaria, intestinal infection, break a limb, crack a tooth in half, bust your achilles. I’ve seen it happen to people, and while they want to get healthy, fast, they always worry how much it costs. With insurance, you don’t need to worry. It can happen to anyone, anytime.
2. Evacation Insurance is paid for by your travel insurance as well. To either your home country or one with better hospitals. Imagine you are backpacking and you break your leg. Want to get a helicopter to airlift you to the nearest hospital? It might cost $15,000. Covered by your insurance. Don’t want to go to that nasty third-world hospital in Laos because you have some infection you just can’t figure out? Travel insurance will pay for your flight to Singapore to get treatment as well as the cost of the medical care there. Medical care is not good everywhere, you want to have the ability to get you to where it is good. It might save your life.
3. Protection from theft. Most plans offer some coverage for things that are lost or stolen, and will compensate you for losses or damage. We’ve all got a laptop and a camera and a phone and an iPod these days. What happens if you get it wet? Or someone steals your backpack. These things happen. Also covers losses on airlines. It’s a bit tough to get coverage for more than $1000 of gear on your plan, but every little bit helps. You’ll typically need a police report to make a claim.
4. Compensation for travel delays. It doesn’t always happen that you get delayed but if you do, the insurance will pay for your hotel. If you are late and miss a flight, the insurance kicks in as well to help you pay late fees, etc. Not all insurance has this coverage but most does.
5. Do it for your Mother. It’ll make your mom worry less. Yup, peace of mind for your mother is a big thing. Look, she doesn’t want you going to some crazy foriegn country that she only hears about on the news when something bad happens. So do it for her. “Oh don’t worry mom, nothing bad will happen, and if it does, I bought a really great travel insurance policy to help me get through it.” She might even chip in and buy it for you. It shows you are an adult and are responsible. She’ll worry that little bit less, and love you that little bit more.
6. Coverage for “adventure sports.” Look, when we planned the trip, we didn’t expect to be white-water or cliff-jumping or riding a 150cc motor-bike in 5 lanes of traffic in Saigon. But we did all that anyway. So be sure to get the adventure sports rider. You might think tame things like hiking or being on a boat are covered, but they often are not, and require the adventure-sports rider. You’re way more likely to get hurt doing something adventurous than just sitting on the beach. Scuba diving is another dangerous activity. The solution to Scuba problem is typically some time in a very expensive decompression chamber, covered by insurance.
7. “Travel Problem Hotline.” I’ve never used it, but all the travel insurances come with some sort of travel hotline. The hotline helps you find a doctor if you need one, and can help you with any problems you’re having. Keep your insurance card on you, and call it collect when you’re in a pinch. Because ya never know…..and in most of the world, they don’t take American Express (oh and remind me to tell ya how useless AMEX was to me in Germany)
8. USA Travel. Elsewhere in the world, sure, you might be able to pay for your medical care on your own, tho it might max out your credit card. But not in the US. It’s expensive. Stitches might run you $50 in South Africa. They might run you $1500 in the USA at the Emergency Room. I know, its crazy expensive, but its not my fault, and I’m sorry but that’s just the way it is. Get insurance if you’re in the USA. ’nuff said.
As for buying travel insurance, that’s another story! I have bought insurance for most of my trips around the world. Every time I go, I check around for the best prices and it seems I always end up with the same two or three companies for coverage.
The simplest is the World Nomad’s travel insurance. Their coverage is simple and easy. Just buy it, and go. You can pay as you go, add more coverage later, or buy up to 6 months at a time. The price is about the same as everyone else. Covers adventure sports. It’s the de-facto “Lonely Planet” insurance. My only beef with it is that for us Americans, it only provides up to $100,000 of health coverage while some of the other plans cover up to a million dollars. You might think $100,000 is enough but if you get stuck in intensive care for awhile, it can add up pretty quick.
I usually end-up buying a policy from Travel Guard. Well known. Simple plans. The Traveller plans can be bought or renewed while you’re traveling, and have medical coverage up to a million dollars.
I’ve also found a travel insurance comparison site. It isn’t the easiest site to use. And in the end, it showed me the Travel Guard was the cheapest. YMMV, so give it a whirl if you have time. If not, go with one of those two.
WorldNomads.com Travel Insurance
World Nomads travel insurance is available to people from over 150 countries and is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
With WorldNomads.com Travel Insurance you can:
- Buy while away from home
- Available to people from 150 countries, travelling worldwide
- Extend & claim online
- Cover your adventure, including over 100 sports & activities
- Give a little back to a local community
- Stay informed & safe when you travel
Travel Insurance. Simple & flexible.
Buy online, even after you have left home. Extend and claim online, while travelling. WorldNomads.com travel insurance is built for adventurous travellers from over 140 countries, with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and 24 hour emergency support when you need it most.
What can I do?
We cover most adventure sports from bungee jumping in New Zealand to white-water rafting in Colorado.
Simple & Flexible
Already travelling or had a change of plans? No problem! Unlike other policies, WorldNomads.com lets you buy and extend online, even while away from home.
Trusted reliable underwriters
WorldNomads.com is backed by a suite of strong, secure, specialist travel insurers who provide you with great cover, 24 hour emergency assistance and the highest levels of support and claims management when you need it most.
Value for money with the cover you need
WorldNomads.com provides cover for what’s important for travellers from over 150 countries. By focussing on what you need and leaving out what you don’t, World Nomads prices are some of the most competitive online.
Flexibility when you need it most
Had a change of plans? You can extend your policy indefinitely or claim online while you are still away. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you’re already travelling.
Cover for a range of adventure activities
World Nomads keeps you travelling safely
More than just great value travel insurance
Commitment to exceptional customer service
We want to make sure you get the most from WorldNomads.com. You can find out more about what is covered and the 5 key parts of a World Nomads’ travel insurance policy. If you have any questions about your travel insurance or travel safety in general, please contact WorldNomads.com directly.
World Nomads – keep travelling safely