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If there is one thing that you should absolutely invest in when travelling overseas, it is travel insurance. I truly believe that if you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel.
It’s easy to think that you are healthy, nothing will go wrong, none of your belongings are worth much etc, etc, but things can always go wrong.
So many reasons!
For example, one time I was travelling in the US with someone who had their first ever seizure on a day tour. It was out of nowhere. He was perfectly healthy and nothing like that had ever happened before. He was picked up by an ambulance, spent a night in hospital and had lots of tests. It cost over US$10,000.
We also had to change our travel plans (we were meant to fly to Europe the next day) which also added to the cost.
Without travel insurance, this would have been an absolute disaster. It would have ended our 12 month trip just a few months in. With it, the cost part was fine. It was all handled by our insurance company and we were only out of pocket a few hundred dollars.
Later that trip, our flight was cancelled out of China. During all the mess of working that out, I somehow managed to misplace our paper air tickets. In China, they would not replace them and that was $800 gone! Travel insurance came to the rescue again.
Years later, I was travelling with J and I managed to drop his laptop – on the screen! The screen was ruined and we had to replace it. Again, travel insurance came to the rescue (specifically World Nomads) and we had the screen replaced.
Of course, none of these things might happen to you, but maybe they will. Or something worse. My point is that stuff happens.
If you are travelling with kids it’s important to be even more prepared. I would never forgive myself if the kids were sick or in an accident and we did not have the resources to give them the best possible care – this is the peace of mind that travel insurance provides.
If you are going to be pregnant during your trip, its important to take a close look at your travel insurance. Many do not cover pregnancy and those that do, often have lots of exclusions.
If you are going to travel while pregnant, I really cannot recommend Columbus travel insurance enough. They have the best pregnancy cover and even cover the birth and neonatal coverage up to 30 weeks gestation. This is definitely coverage worth getting.
Read some more pregnancy travel tips here.
A good policy will cover all the above and more. They will also cover trip cancellation, loss of luggage, personal liability, help with car hire excesses, cover emergencies (like political strife or natural disasters) in your destination and cover you for theft.
If you are heading out on a multi-destination trip, take note that policies that cover North America will cost more than ones that don’t. If you are definitely not going to North America, then pick a policy that doesn’t cover this region.
If you are already away and only just realising you need travel insurance, World Nomads is one of the rare few that will cover you once you have left your home country.
If you are travelling for more than 12 months, many companies won’t let you extend past this date. In this case, you should also definitely look into buying World Nomads insurance. We made the mistake this trip of going with Southern Cross Insurance who offered a slightly better deal – but now that we are going to be away for longer than 12 months, we are going to end up paying more money in total when we have to buy a new policy with World Nomads for the period after this 12 months.
If you or a family member like doing more adventurous activities, also ensure you buy an insurance policy with coverage for these activities. World Nomads will allow you to enter the adventurous activities you want to do when getting a quote to ensure you are covered.
You are generally not covered by travel insurance for destinations which your government has a travel advisory that you should not travel to them. For example, in Australia, you would see a “do not travel” advisory for the country on this website. If the advisory changes to this after you purchase the insurance and buy travel products in that destination, then World Nomads will cover you to make changes to your plans.
If you have a pre-existing condition, you will have to declare this and find out if the travel insurance company will cover you for this condition.
Shopping around is the best way to find the best deal. There is no company that I have always found to be the cheapest, although World Nomads tends to be the most competitive for longer trips. It is also your best bet if you are going to be longer than 12 months or are already travelling.
Here’s some companies that offer good deals: