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Travel Insurance Basics: Keeping Yourself Covered During Travels

The average traveler and tourist will not think of anything bad happening to them during a trip. Therefore getting travel insurance will be the last thing on their minds, if it ever occurs to them at all.

Travel insurance, as the name implies, is insurance coverage for you when you go on trips either within your own country or abroad. It gives you coverage for situations like (but not limited to) medical emergencies, accidents or loss of your property. Travel insurance can be purchased for single or multiple trips, depending on your need. It can also be purchased for one person, two or for groups.

Why do you need travel insurance

While we all take the best care to keep ourselves safe when traveling, things can unexpectedly happen and having travel insurance makes sure that you have a fallback. Medical assistance is also quite expensive in many countries, hence having travel insurance gives you a cushion and some leeway when it comes to the cost.

Some people believe that their regular insurance covers them when they travel but chances are, they don’t. Having travel insurance gives you the security that if anything happens to you, you’ll be ok.

Important Considerations

When you pick out your travel insurance, you want to make sure that you have all your bases covered. Here are the key points you should look out for when getting travel insurance.

  • Overseas medical, health and dental coverage for any injury or sudden illness while you are traveling, including hospitalization, surgery, medicines, counseling etc.
  • 24-hour emergency assistance and service, with airlift or transfer to home country if needed
  • Coverage of lost or stolen possessions/property/baggage including electronics, wallets, documents (passport, airline tickets etc.)
  • Coverage of flight cancellations and delays
  • Personal accident coverage, in cases of permanent disability or death
  • Coverage for personal liability and damage to property (if you cause injury or damage to other people and/or their property)
  • Coverage for legal expenses, if any
  • Sports and activities coverage
  • Car rental
  • Financial coverage/protection if airline company goes bankrupt while you are on your trip.
  • Special situations like natural disasters and terrorism (will not apply if country has travel advisories before your trip)

Your travel insurance may offer more or less similar coverage. It usually varies on how much they will cover and up to what degree of assistance they can offer.

How much should be covered?

The range of coverage costs usually depends on the provider. Many travel sites and blogs suggest finding a company who has at least USD 100,000 limit. Some will offer plans for a higher coverage limit, reaching up to USD 1,000,000. The longer you are out traveling, or depending on your activities, your coverage limit should be higher. However, this is just a suggested coverage and may vary country to country.

A policy with a higher rate doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better. The kind of coverage the travel insurance offers and how much will they cover you for is important.


Read the fine print and ask questions

Each insurance policy varies in their coverage, so it is important that you read everything in the terms and conditions, and the fine print. If there is anything that you do not understand or need clarification for, never hesitate to ask the insurance provider.

Extreme sports coverage

Generally, travel insurance policies also cover sports activities, but they have limitations in which is covered. Most do not offer coverage during sporting events and competitions, as well as with extreme sports activities like jet skiing, paragliding, rock climbing and so on. If these are activities that you plan on doing, consider looking for a travel insurance that will cover these.

You can also look into specialist travel insurance that specifically cover extreme sports and activities. Just note that they cost much higher than your average travel insurance.

Pre-existing health conditions

Standard travel insurance often do not cover pre-existing medical or health conditions, such as asthma. If you cannot find one that covers this but still pursue getting the service, make sure you declare any health issues to avoid invalidating your policy. Again, specialist travel insurance will cost higher.

Group insurance

Buying insurance for one person is usually straightforward, but it would entail a bit more if you are getting for two or more. Family or group policies are offered by many travel insurance companies, but check for any hidden charges such as excess.

Specialist insurance

As mentioned above, some people may need more than what a regular travel insurance can offer. There are those who need coverage for winter sports (skiing, snowboarding), adventure travel (hiking, white water rafting, bungee jumping), and other unusual activities. The premium for these kinds of insurance may be higher.

Where to get travel insurance

Travel insurance can be purchased through travel agencies. You may also inquire with your regular insurance company if they offer coverage for travel. Some credit card companies include travel insurance with their card perks. Always check the kind of coverage they offer because it may be for just a small amount.

You can also look for travel insurance online. Sites like WorldNomads and itrek offer their services to people from anywhere in the world, while Adventure Travel Insurance works great for backpackers. Some countries offer their citizens travel insurance, which can be purchased through an office or through the country’s tourism website.

Having travel insurance doesn’t mean that you go out and purposely injure yourself. It also doesn’t mean that you have to be careless with your activities and things. It may cost extra out of your travel budget, but you’ll find it a big help if the times come when you need it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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