Good travel insurance is not a luxury for a few choice travellers; it is an absolute necessity for everyone. It is useful whether you need travel insurance for a worldwide trip, are a luxury tourist heading to Dubai or a family on a tour of the Caribbean. However, the specifics of insurance vary from one traveller to another depending on age, distance, area of visitation, and a host of other factors.
Travel insurance, and indeed insurance in general, is complicated. Here, the devil is in the details. Insurance companies seem to have perfected the art of impression, creating the impression that everything is simple and straightforward, only to be hit with surprises when you go to issue a claim. So make sure you always read the fine print, and ask as many questions as possible. It’s your hard earned money, so it’s your right to know.
Typically, you will get insurance divided into five major categories: medical, flight insurance, trip cancellation and interruption, baggage, and evacuation. Having several insurance covers may be an advantage or disadvantage. If, for example, you have a health cover that will take care of your health insurance even while on holiday, then you can reduce your travel insurance travel premium. However, the process of claiming and collection may be complicated. In such a case, you can opt to get a comprehensive travel insurance that will cover all the five categories. Better still, you can get this from a company that will cover and pay your claims without bothering about your other insurance covers.
Medical insurance varies largely with age. The older you are, the more expensive the insurance cover. For senior citizens, it may be better to get a comprehensive cover altogether since medical cover can be quite pricey. Also, if you have health insurance, find out if they cover you for international travel. Even if they do, you may still opt for a travel health insurance. With normal health insurance, you will most likely have to pay for your bills and claim later on, a problem if you are having a costly procedure abroad.
Flight insurance is sounds like a good idea. However, when you consider that only 1% of flights worldwide crash, the statistical probability is very low. My advice: don’t bother. Baggage insurance is best bought as part of the comprehensive insurance cover. Though, check whether your household cover also insures your items while on holiday. Also ensure that your baggage is covered while on rail. If you have extra valuable luggage, ensure that whatever insurance you are on comprehensively covers it. Evacuation is mostly covered only by travel insurance. Ensure that you read the fine print though, and find out whether it will cover your off-piste ski activity in the Alps.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is particularly useful if you have to pay large sums upfront for the trip beforehand. In such cases, you will end up with considerable financial loss if your trip is interrupted while on holiday or you have to cancel before you start. However, if you are backpacking without having to make any financial commitments beforehand, then this shouldn't bother you. Again, read the fine print to find out what consists of a valid reason for breaking the trip.