Travel insurance is one of those things that you never think of until you are in a horrible situation, wishing you got it. I know this isn’t the funnest topic to talk about, but it’s something that is crucial to know about before booking your next trip abroad. No one likes to be negative, but it’s important to cover yourself in case of all the “what ifs.”
What if you go scuba diving in Thailand and burst your eardrum?
What if you go to Cuba and a massive hurricane hits just days before your trip?
What if you go to Paris and your mom dies the day before you leave?
These scenarios could happen to anyone, at any given time. And that is why travel insurance is SO important to consider.
There are so many travel insurance companies out there (all are for-profit, so you will want to make sure you do your research), but my go-to is World’s Nomads. They cover more than most, have a quick and painless claim center and are fairly priced. Plus, they are recommended by huge travel names like Lonely Planet, Tourrader, The Blonde Abroad, and Nomadic Matt!
Let’s go over what Travel Insurance actually covers (and doesn’t!), when you do and do not need it, and important things to know!
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What Travel Insurance Covers
Travel doesn’t cover everything that could go wrong, but it sure does cover a lot! Most people think of travel insurance as just in case you get hurt/sick when you’re abroad, but it’s so much more than that!
Medical Emergencies & Doctor Visits
Any medical emergencies while you are abroad or before you leave! If you get sick before your departure date and can no longer go, travel insurance will cover the cost to cancel the trip. If you get sick abroad, this will cover you going into the doctor, surgery, medication and any follow-up appointments.
Not just while you are abroad, but before you leave. My example for Cuba, if a massive hurricane hits days before your departure, you will likely not get fully refunded for your costs. With travel insurance, they will cover you before you even leave on your trip!
If a natural disaster or a civil war breaks out when you are abroad, they might demand a mandatory evacuation. This could easily add up to $10,000 with airplane / helicopter costs, hospitalization costs, new accommodation, early flight home, etc. This is also something that is covered under World Nomad’s insurance.
I know this sounds extremely unlikely, but majority of the times you can not see things like this coming. If you are abroad when one of these scenarios happens, you will really wish you played it safe!
Flight Cancellation and Delays
Hopefully you are flying with a reputable airline that will reimburse you for a cancelled flight, but many times when traveling abroad you will have many connections with different airlines. If one flight is delayed so much that it causes you to miss your other flight, some airlines will not cover the cost of you missing your connection.
You will need to attempt to get compensation from the airline first, but World Nomad’s will compensate for whatever was not covered.
Lost, Stolen or Damaged Baggage
Did someone break into your rental car and steal your luggage? Did every bag come through the carousal, but yours is no where to be found? Did your bag get sent to the wrong place and you have to wait 3-4 days for your luggage to get to your destination?
All of these scenarios would be covered under travel insurance! You will need to speak with local authorities to file a claim, but regardless if they are helpful, World Nomad’s will cover you.
Are you diabetic and forgot your medication? What about a severe food allergy and forgot our EpiPen? You can go to a local doctor to get a refill on your prescription and it will be covered by travel insurance. If you have a preexisting condition, I think this benefit is extremely important!
Okay, I know this is awful to think about, but if you die abroad you will not want your family to cover the insanely expensive costs of flying your body back home.
I say MOST deaths because it will not cover if you committed suicide, drug overdose, things of that nature.
Okay, this one is too morbid.. moving on.
This is always my biggest fear when traveling abroad. Imagine packing up all your things to leave and when you get to the airport, ready to board your 10+ hour flight home and you realize you don’t have your passport.
This actually happened to my sister in Mexico and she had to wait in the airport by herself for a full day until someone could overnight her another passport. If you are far away (like Asia or Australia), you won’t have that luxury!
Travel insurance will cover the costs of replacing the passport, taking a new photo, and shipping the passport to you!
TIP: You should always make copies of your passport, ID and flight information and give a copy to your loved one back home. If you do lose your passport, this will expedite the process of getting you back home.
What Travel Insurance Does NOT Cover
Anything due to your negligence
You can’t be a wild child with no responsibilities and expect full coverage. Travel Insurance will cover anything that is unfair, not your fault and for emergencies. Anything due to your negligence will not be covered, examples include:
- Any accidents that are related to alcohol or drugs
- Bringing your expensive camera to a waterfall and getting water damage
- Forgetting your passport at a restaurant
- Sleeping in and missing your flight
- Jumping off a cliff without a parachute (Extreme, but you get the point)
Routine, Annual Check ups
While travel insurance covers any medical emergencies in case you get injured abroad, it does not cover things like annual physicals or dental cleanings. Pretty much if it can wait until you get home, it would not be covered abroad.
Also, if you have a pre-existing medical condition this is not covered. They will cover medicine if you need it, but not full costs of medical treatments / surgeries. This may depend on your condition, so it’s best to talk to a representative before booking.
Unfortunately, if you get your wallet stolen and there is a little bit of cash in there, they will likely not cover it. You can definitely try to file a claim, but there are no promises on this one.
The basic package of travel insurance does not cover extreme sports while traveling, but you can upgrade your package if you are an adventurous traveler. Some examples of activities NOT covered in the basic plan are:
- Cliff Jumping
- Swimming with whales
- Bull Riding
- Rappelling or Rock Climbing higher than 22,965 ft
Again, if you plan to do any of these activities I think it is EVEN MORE important that you sign up for travel insurance, you will just need to talk with an agent to discuss a higher-coverage plan.
Changing your mind about a trip
Like I said above, it will cover if you or an immediate family member gets sick before your trip, but it will not cover you if you change your mind about going. For example, if you fiance leaves you at the alter, you can not get a full refund on your honeymoon.
It also will not cover you if you forgot to get a visa and you are denied. It’s always VERY important to check if you need a visa before traveling abroad, especially if you plan to go for a long period of time.
Things to know before purchasing your Travel Insurance
- Adventurous travelers? – Upgrade your plan to cover all the activities you will be doing.
- Buy the insurance right when you book your flight (within 2 weeks) so it doesn’t look like you are trying to gain the system. If you don’t do this, a lot of emergencies may not be covered.
- Your card might have a small insurance policy! A lot of premium, big name travel cards will have a small travel insurance policy.
- Fine print is confusing, go with a tried and tested company that is sponsored by big names like World Nomads!
When you SHOULD get Travel Insurance
- Long trips abroad where you can’t wait until you get home to get treatment. I consider a long trip to be 1 week or more.
- Countries with little regulation
- Countries with higher crime rates than yours
- Countries with lenient driving regulations
- For example, Bangkok has virtually no driving regulations and everyone drives very recklessly.
- If you plan to do any excursions such as scuba diving, snorkeling, zip lining, hiking, etc.
When you SHOULD NOT get Travel Insurance
- Short, domestic trips: You can definitely still get travel insurance, but if you needed to change your flight home quickly, it most likely wouldn’t be expensive.
- Inexpensive & budget trips that are domestic.
- SHORT trips: If you get something like strep throat, you can possibly wait 1-2 days until you return home.
My recommendation for Travel Insurance
I’ve mentioned it a few times now, but the only company I have ever used and highly recommend is World Nomad’s! They cover everything you would need + more. They are one of the only companies who offer remote extension of your plan (if you are in Bali and plan to stay an extra week, you can update your plan from your phone when you are already abroad), upgrades for adventurous travelers, and fair pricing.
I have used travel insurance on many of my trips abroad and it really gives you an extra piece of mind when traveling to a new country. There is already so much stress that goes into traveling like making your connections, navigating a bustling city, and language barriers, that your health is the last thing you want to worry about.
World Nomad’s has agents that will walk you through the entire process and get you set up correctly before you leave on your trip. Click here to get a price quote on your upcoming trip!
Travel insurance is one of those things that everyone avoids thinking about until it’s too late. You want your vacation to be fun, not worrying about what to do if someone gets hurt / sick. If you do choose to get travel insurance for your upcoming trip, you will be covered in case of injury, flight mishaps, lost baggage, stolen items, and a lot of unpredictable things!
If something does happen to you abroad, all you would have to do is call or chat with an agent and they can walk you through the exact process of what to do. Have any questions about travel insurance? Comment below and I will be more than happy to answer them!
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