What you Need to Know About Travel Insurance

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Healthy Travels What you Need to Know about Travel Insurance www.compassandfork.comPart 1: Healthy Travel Series

We are starting the Healthy Travel Series with travel insurance because often when you first book or plan your trip, you need to make a decision about travel insurance.

Do you need travel insurance? Yes you do is the basic answer. This is a question we get asked a lot. There are a lot of products out there, a lot of options and a lot of fine print.

We don’t have all the answers, but we are going to share what we have learned about travel insurance and what works for us. We cannot recommend what might work for you, you need to read the policy and decide if the coverage offered meets your needs and is appropriate for you and your circumstances.

If you read the first post announcing this series, Healthy Travels: What you need to Know, I talk a little about some of the things that can and do go wrong, including sharing a few things that have happened to us.

In my opinion the whole point of trip or travel insurance is not to need to use it! However should you ever need it, you want it to cover you and your mishap. So therefore you need to know about travel insurance.

Travel insurance can cover a lot more than getting sick or having an accident while traveling. Depending on the policy it can cover you for getting sick or having an accident that prevents you from being able to undertake your trip as well. Some policies also cover travel delays, losing your personal belongings and a variety of other scenarios.

Are you covered?

So you have decided on your destination, you are ready to book tickets, tours, cruises, whatever the case may be. Stop! This is the first opportunity to be aware of insurance. Most flight bookings, cruises, tours ask you if you want to take out trip insurance at the time you purchase. This is one opportunity to purchase insurance but the second chance also has to do with how you pay for your purchase!

  1. Opportunity 1: Insurance offered at the time of booking. ALWAYS read the terms of the policy. Ticking this and thinking you are covered may be a big mistake. These are usually limited policies covering limited events. i.e the cruise operator cancels the cruise. Does it cover if you get sick and can’t go, or a family member is ill, if you lose your job? These are reasons people sometimes need to cancel. So read what you are agreeing to and decide if it is the cover that is appropriate for your needs. The insurances are all slightly different and you need to read the terms and conditions to know what is covered. Let me repeat that advice: READ the travel insurance policy to learn what is included and excluded.
  2. Opportunity 2: Often times paying for a tour, flight or cruise with your credit card offers you travel or trip insurance. Again it varies by card type and/or issuer but this may offer you enough insurance. American Express and some gold or platinum Master Cards and Visas offer insurance. Airline cards or cards created specifically for travelers may also. This can save you a lot of money. We have a couple of credit cards and as long as we buy our initial round trip airfare on the card or pay for the tour, cruise or whatever, and travel for less than 365 days, it offers a pretty decent level of travel insurance at no cost to us. But again, you need to always READ the terms and conditions and decide if it is appropriate for your needs.
  3. If you are traveling domestically, your normal health insurance policy may cover you for accidents or illness and you may decide no additional health insurance is needed. This won’t however cover you if the flight is canceled or delayed, your luggage is lost or any number of other issues.

Healthy Travels What you Need to Know about Travel Insurance www.compassandfork.comWhen to Buy Travel Insurance?

If those coverage options above do not meet your needs, you can look for a third party that issues travel insurance. We always have travel insurance. However we do not always purchase travel insurance from a third party. Here are times and reason when we have needed to buy a travel insurance policy:

  • When our credit card won’t cover us.
  • When we are going to undertake activities that are not covered i.e. high risk on our other insurance options. Examples of this include activities like snow sports, some water sports, high altitude hiking and a few others. Again you need to read the fine print.
  • When the healthcare system is not of an international standard and/or you are traveling to remote areas where if something happened to you, you might need to be evacuated and/or transported back to your home country.
  • Where we are going to make large deposits or non-refundable payments not covered under the terms of our travel insurance on our credit card. A third party insurance policy can cover these out of pockets expenses should you need to cancel. Sometimes when you have booked and paid for an expensive trip, with multiple suppliers the best option is a third party policy.

Healthy Travels What you Need to Know about Travel Insurance www.compassandfork.com

Some Questions to Ask before you Buy Travel Insurance

Healthy Travels What you Need to Know About travel Insurance www.compassandfork.comSo a quick checklist before you book anything and before you buy a policy:

  • What coverage is available to you through your credit cards?
  • What coverage is offered by whoever you are booking with (i.e. the cruise line, the airline)?
  • What might happen? What could go wrong and what kind of help would you need?
  • Are you undertaking risky activities or traveling to remote areas? i.e. paragliding, high altitude hiking, skiing
  • Does your normal health insurance cover you where you are traveling?

If you want to buy an insurance policy we have used  Travel Insurance from World Nomads. And in case you are wondering, yes, we have had to make a claim (to return home quite suddenly when we had a death in the family). We called the helpline, they told us to book what we need to book, go home and if we decided to return (we did as we were 1 month into a 5 month trip) they would pay the cost to return to continue our trip. We made our arrangements, filed the claim and were reimbursed all out of pockets costs we incurred getting home, changing our bookings and getting back to continue the trip.

If you are going to buy a policy, always read the details and make sure you understand the inclusions and exclusions. The best time to buy the policy is at the same is when you book the trip. Coverage usually starts when you buy the policy, so if you need to cancel the trip, you are covered. If you buy it right before your leave home, if something happens between when you booked the trip and when you buy insurance you are not covered.

World Nomads plans can cover you for long periods of time, i.e. over 365 days, cover you for multiple regions and  cover “risky” activities. It is travel insurance designed for travelers (not to cover tour operators). You specify the coverage you need at the time you purchase the policy.

If you would like to get a quote or review their terms and conditions you can find more information about Travel Insurance from World Nomads on their site. If you would like to get a quote, you can use the quote box at the bottom of this post. ALWAYS read the terms and conditions of the policy wording/description of coverage and  decide if the policy is right for you.

I looked around extensively at travel insurance and I have been happy with our choice, and if you find yourself in need of travel insurance check to see if World Nomads products are right for you.




What you need to know about Travel Insurance www.compassandfork.com


12 Responses

  1. melody pittman
    | Reply

    A great topic that nobody really seems to address so thanks for doing that. I worked for BCBS health insurance for 20 years and it is sad to see that so few people understand how necessary insurance is, especially when traveling. Of course in some countries, the health care is cheaper than the insurance probably so often may not be necessary. I enjoyed this post. thanks!

    • Editor

      Thanks for your insightful comment Melody. You just never know when you need it and it must be considered before you book anything.

  2. leticia
    | Reply

    Great post! I am now considering changing my travel insurance from trip by trip basis to a year-round one. But reading the T&C can be exhausting. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Editor

      Agree about the T’s & C’s but unfortunately it is a must do. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Aileen Adalid
    | Reply

    This is a very thorough post and much like you, I always stress the importance of insurance when traveling! It really helps, and it helps even more if you thoroughly know what you’re getting. This will be a very helpful post for travelers deciding on their insurance!

    • Editor

      Aileen you are on the money there. I think many people do go to the effort of buying insurance thinking they are covered, but as we hear almost every week, people claim for items not covered in the terms and conditions. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Laura Nordberg
    | Reply

    This is really helpful. Completely agree that reading the T&Cs thoroughly is a must. It took me AGES to find the right travel insurance but I’m glad I did my research. I haven’t had to use mine yet (touch wood) but it’s worth it just for the peace of mind!

    • Editor

      Laura, especially so if you are intending to spend big money an/or go to remote places and/or undertake so-called “risky” activities. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Erica
    | Reply

    Great information! I definitely learned a few things here. SOmetimes, I tend to overlook the importance of travel insurance, but you can never be too sure!

    • Editor

      Yes it is easy to become a bit blase about the whole thing and think that it will never happen to me or that I am too young, but you just never know. Glad you got something out of the post and thanks for your comment.

  6. Tajirul @ Top Travel Lists
    | Reply

    Travel Insurance is such an important thing for an avid traveller but not having enough idea and knowledge different aspects of travel insurance, people suffer…This post is definitely going to help lot of people make right decision…..
    I will certainly love to share this post with my website’s audience…..

    • Editor

      Yes, travel insurance is one of those things you need to learn about before you buy it.

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