The importance of travel insurance for domestic or overseas travel should never be underestimated. Many weigh up this additional cost and ask themselves; “Is travel insurance worth it?”
Even the best planned trips can be impacted by the unexpected. Unfortunately, both Jonas and I know first-hand the importance of travel insurance as we have both had injuries that have required medical treatment.
Jonas was hit by a motorbike while taking photos in Hoi An, Vietnam and required hospitalisation for a shoulder surgery, as well as treatment for broken ribs, cuts and abrasions. In Medellin, Colombia, Peta badly sprained her ankle while crossing the road at a busy intersection. While hospitilisation wasn’t necessary, various X-rays and scans, as well as specialist treatment was required over the course of many months.
We personally recommend SafetyWing as their travel insurance policies offer a broad range of plans for short and longer term travel for all types of travellers. They have great coverage, competitive rates, great customer service, and your policy can easily be extended as many times as you’d like. Our favourite feature of SafetyWing is the ability to renew our policy when we are overseas.
For us, travel insurance gives us peace of mind knowing we are covered no matter what unforeseeable events are thrown at us.
If you are still wondering about the importance of travel insurance, the following post will help you make up your mind and answer this question.
“If you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel”.– Unknown –
Is Travel Insurance Necessary?
Travel insurance is a very important consideration for all types of travellers i.e. families going on a summer holiday, business people on work trips, backpackers on a gap year, newlyweds celebrating marriage, or retirees on their dream vacation.
There are many different types of travel insurance options out there, and it is imperative you take the time to understand their features to ensure you buy the one that best suits your needs. Some factors to consider are:
- What kind of trip are you taking?
- Are you travelling as a single, with a partner, with your family, or with a group?
- Are you travelling for pleasure, business, to study or volunteer?
- How old are you?
- Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions?
- How many days / weeks / months are you planning on travelling for?
- What would you like to be covered in a policy?
- Will you be participating in any high-risk, hazardous sports i.e. scuba diving, skiing, bungee jumping?
Typically, when people purchase travel insurance for overseas travel, it should cover things such as health, life, disability and baggage at a minimum. This will assist travellers with expenses related to hospitalisation, loss of baggage, flight cancellation, among other things.
Different Types of Travel Insurance Policies
There are generally two different types of travel insurance policies:
- Trip Cancellation Protection
This policy generally provides a refund if you cannot travel due to being injured or sick, or if a flight has been cancelled or a connection has been missed. It also provides protection if luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged.
2. Comprehensive Travel Insurance (highly recommended)
This type of policy generally covers all of the above, in addition to any expenses related to medical or dental emergencies, medical or disaster evacuations, and accidental death. Travel delay, personal liability, legal expenses, and tour operator default are also normally covered.
8 Reasons Showing the Importance of Travel Insurance
1. Sickness or Injury Before a Trip
One common reason that can lead to a holiday being cancelled is if you or your traveling companion become sick or injured and can’t travel. Or, what if a family member is hospitalized or passes away, leading you to sacrifice your trip and stay at home? In these situations, buying travel insurance with trip cancellation coverage will assist with reimbursement of your prepaid, non-refundable travel costs.
2. Medical Treatment and Evacuation Cover
Medical emergencies overseas can be really expensive and contrary to popular belief, your home country health insurance will not cover these costs. From car accidents to adventure sport injuries, having cover for your treatment and evacuation from a country if required can be a vital part of travel insurance, which otherwise can costs tens of thousands of dollars in certain situations.
When you have travel insurance with emergency medical benefits, it can pay for losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies that occur during your trip. Emergency medical transportation benefits can pay for medically necessary transportation to the nearest appropriate medical facility, as well as the cost of getting you home following a covered injury or illness.
Also, if you can’t continue your trip as a result of a medical emergency, trip interruption cover could reimburse you for the portion of the trip that you missed.
3. Travel Delays / Interruptions and Missed / Cancelled Connections
Flight delays, flight cancellations, missed connections, a stolen passport, a traffic accident, natural disaster, and many other unexpected events could delay or completely interrupt your trip. A travel insurance plan can cover you in many of those situations, so you can focus on taking care of your needs during an inconvenience like that and not worry so much about what it might cost. They can cover alternative transport arrangements on to your destination, and will also have a help line that can help you to find accommodation if you are stranded because of a missed connection.
4. Lost, Stolen or Delayed Luggage
Unfortunately, luggage that is lost, delayed or damaged by airlines is more common than many people imagine. Travel insurance will pay you back for the purchase of necessary items while your bags are delayed. In the event your luggage is lost and never recovered, travel insurance will reimburse the cost of purchasing new clothes and the other lost items.
5. Theft and Pickpocketing
Pickpocketing and theft from rooms and the beach are common stories amongst travellers. Whilst there are preventative measures you can take to keep your valuable safe, there is still the chance of theft by opportunistic thieves.
Once again, travel insurance will assist in replacing your lost items, or at least reimbursing you for the cost of stolen electrical items, sunglasses, jewellery etc.
6. Lost Travel Documentation
I would imagine the loss of your passport and other important travel documentation to be up there with one of the most stressful events a traveller could experience. Good travel insurance will not only assist you with replacing your documents, but get you back home.
7. Natural Disasters / Weather Conditions
Natural disasters and the weather is something you have no control over that could lead to travel delays or cause your trip to be cancelled altogether.
8. Travel Insurance is Affordable
Cost is probably the number one reason people don’t buy travel insurance. But on average, a couple of extra dollars each day will cover you for regular travel insurance.
When you get a quote for your travel insurance, you will be presented with multiple coverage options, so you just need to pick the one that best suits your needs and budget.
Have We Had to Use Travel Insurance?
Unfortunately, yes! We were just 3 weeks into the beginning of our fulltime travel journey when Jonas got hit by a motorbike in Vietnam. He had to be hospitalised, undergo shoulder surgery and stay in the hospital for over a week. Our travel insurance provider was amazing and organised all payments directly through the hospital for his care.
While travelling in Medellin, Colombia, I severely sprained my ankle and had to go to hospital for X-rays, medical attention and physiotherapy. Unfortunately, after 3 months of limping around, we decided to cut our year short and return back to Australia to seek more intensive therapy. Travel insurance paid for a new flight back to Australia and reimbursed all other costs due to this.
So, as you can see for yourself, our travel insurance has paid for itself many times over.
Which Travel Insurance Should I Get?
There are lots of companies offering travel insurance out there but not all of them will suit your needs. We have been travelling fulltime for a long time and have researched a lot of travel insurance providers over the years. The two providers we recommend are 1Cover Travel Insurance and SafetyWing.
N.B.: Be sure to check the small print carefully before purchasing a policy to ensure you understand what you are, and aren’t covered for.
1Cover Travel Insurance (For Australians Only)
We have used 1Cover several times over the years and have been very happy with their services. In our experience, their customer service was exceptional and we found it to be great value for money.
SafetyWing is the most popular and recommended travel insurer amongst digital nomads and fulltime travellers like ourselves, due to many reasons. Their policies are great value, they are committed to exceptional customer service, insurance can be bought and extended online while travelling, and their policies cover a range of adventure activities.
SafetyWing is also the travel insurance recommended by Lonely Planet and National Geographics.
FAQs: THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAVEL INSURANCE
What are the examples of travel insurance?
Some of the most common types of travel insurance include trip cancellation insurance, medical and health insurance, baggage and personal items insurance, flight accident insurance, and rental car insurance.
Can you cancel travel insurance and get a refund?
The answer is yes, in most cases you can cancel your travel insurance and receive a refund if you do so within the designated timeframe. However, fees may apply.
What are the most common travel insurance claims?
Generally, the most common travel insurance claims involve medical expenses, trip cancellation or interruption, baggage and personal effects, rental car protection, natural disaster coverage, and emergency evacuation.
Does travel insurance cover any cancellation?
Generally, travel insurance policies will cover cancellation due to medical emergencies, natural disasters, or airline strikes. However, it is important to read the fine print of your policy and understand what your policy covers.
What conditions affect travel insurance?
Generally, travel insurance is impacted by the age of the travellers, the type of trip, the duration of the trip, the country visited and the activities planned while on the trip.
Does travel insurance cover flight delays?
In general, travel insurance does not cover flight delays, but there are some situations i.e. if the flight delay was caused by a natural disaster or other unexpected event, some coverage may be provided. Some providers may offer coverage for missed connections due to a flight delay.
How much travel medical insurance do I need?
Generally, policies will offer a range of coverage amounts, so you can choose the level that best suits your situation i.e. age, duration of trip, type of trip (skiing etc.).
Who needs travel insurance?
Everyone! While it may be tempting to skip the extra expense of travel insurance, it’s important to remember that it can provide invaluable protection and assistance should something unexpected occur during your travels.
Is travel insurance a must?
It may not be necessary for short trips or low-risk activities, but should be considered for longer trips or high-risk activities. Additionally, some destinations may require travel insurance.
The Importance of Travel Insurance – A Summary
A vacation is really an investment in your happiness, but when that vacation starts off with a cancelled flight, a missed connection, a missing bag or another travel hiccup, that happy travel feeling fades quickly.
Travel insurance can help make these situations better so the importance of travel insurance can never be underestimated. Travel insurance really is one of the most important things that you can purchase for any international trip and, whether you are going abroad for a week or embarking on a year-long trip around the world, it is something that should be considered very seriously.
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