Avoiding Travel Insurance? Get to Know the Risks of Not Having One
If you're a frequent traveller, then nothing is more necessary than getting travel insurance. Those who are not in the habit of exploring far-off places may not share the same opinion. Regardless, this is an issue of risk and the main goal of any insurance program is to reduce financial risks.
Travelling by itself is already a risky undertaking. The only way to mitigate that risk is through travel insurance. A word to the wise? Evaluate the problems you're likely to encounter prior to buying one. The following could jeopardize your savings:
1. Losing Deposits
Advanced booking for a tour, a vacation rental or a cruise usually requires full payment or monthly deposits. Cancelling may cost you a great amount of money so check out provisions on non-refundable cancellations and subsequent penalties first. To get back your investments, consider adding trip cancellation insurance to your existing plan. You will be reimbursed for all non-refundable deposits and penalties should you cancel for any reason.
2. Risky Foreign Healthcare
Foreign health-care systems are deemed risky simply because you can't take advantage of them in case of medical emergencies unless you dish out a hefty sum pronto. It's not unusual to get sick or meet an accident elsewhere and crippling medical bills can take a toll on your travel budget. If you encounter a medical emergency while vacationing in a country with a higher exchange rate, your burden would be less if you purchase travel insurance prior to your trip. It also helps to carry extra cash with you as your travel insurance provider may need some time to validate your claim. Once you get home, file a claim for immediate reimbursement – a long, winding and often challenging process. A premier travel medical insurance, however, will cover you upfront.
3. Costly Return Expenses For Interrupted Trips
Ending a trip half-way through can be particularly costly and the extra expenses upon returning home will weigh down on you heavily. Consider buying a trip interruption insurance and be reimbursed for the non-refundable costs incurred during your interrupted trip. You may also buy trip interruption insurance in the event your companions decide to bail out of the trip because of injury or a concern back home. With the right plan to back you up, your non-refundable expenses as a solo traveller will likewise be covered.
4. Costly Medical Emergency Transport
Contracting an illness while on vacation makes it difficult to fly back home. Transporting you from the accident area to the hospital may require a helicopter or a private jet. Either transportation could drain the money out of your pocket. All the more reason to get travel medical insurance, which provides coverage for air transports during medical emergencies.
What to Consider When Buying Travel Insurance
1. Risk Assessment
Always asses the amount you're likely to lose before you cancel a non-refundable payment. If you have several prepaid transactions that would not be refunded after you cancel a trip, then a trip cancellation insurance will surely ease your burden. Never buy insurance for refundable items. The policy covers contingencies connected with sickness, accidents and most cases of force majuere so obviously, work-related concerns and the like are not valid reasons. It is highly recommended that you opt for an insurance plan that lets you “cancel for any reason.” Though rather expensive, you have sole control over your cancellations.
2. Ease of Transaction
Frequent travellers should consider getting travel medical insurance and/or a medical emergency plan. Experts recommend primary travel medical insurance as it does not require you to max out your checking account or credit card at that very instant. Note that your policy coverage will depend on your age, trip duration and destination. It is usually higher for senior travellers.
Be Careful When Buying Travel Insurance
Many travel companies offer “add-on” or “opt-in” insurance plans which tend to cost more than independent travel insurance policies. These are not comprehensive and the coverage you'll get will not be enough to pay for medical treatment (particularly if you, heaven forbid, meet a medical emergency abroad). Another thing: be wary of cancellation waivers. Yes, they're less risky but they usually don't offer cash reimbursement – just a coupon or credit for future trips.
We highly recommend buying from a trusted and established travel insurance provider that covers most stable pre-existing conditions.