It is so important, no really, it is SO important, to buy travel insurance! Seriously, getting travel insurance is vital.
Why Do I Have to Tell You This?
I can hear you groaning and starting to switch off, but please don’t! It’s not an exciting or glamorous subject, but it is evidently something I feel quite passionate about. I was going to have a mini rant in my post about preparing for a long trip but it quickly became a little too long and enthusiastic.
At the moment only about 25% of Brits buy travel insurance regularly. In the USA the situation is worse. Only 21% of people have purchased a policy and just 7% of Americans do so regularly when they travel. Are you part of the unconvinced masses? Let me bend your ear…
You work hard to buy nice things. You spend hours serving people with a smile, or crunching numbers to make your boss smile. However, there are people out there who don’t fancy working for things in a legitimate way, or just can’t earn enough to buy the things you have. Instead, they find other people’s belongings or money and acquire these items through theft, cons and other nefarious means.
Would you rather spend many more hours earning these things back, or spend a little extra money before you leave to ensure you are protected?
Friends of mine have had phones, wallets and keys stolen in Barcelona. Mysterious well-wishers came over to them on New Year’s Eve, gave them all hugs and shouted “Happy New Year” with the group. Isn’t Barcelona friendly!!? It was only later that they realised many items had gone missing from their pockets. In fact, my camera went missing in Barcelona in 2008 too.
Note to self – really keep an eye on my stuff in Barcelona!
Happily, if you have insurance, they will give you money to replace these items. I have had an iPod and camera stolen from my handbag in Thailand. My old iPod needed an upgrade, and so I took the money from the insurance company, added a little of my own and bought a fancy new iPod touch.
Plus, if an airline delays or loses your baggage, your travel insurance can cover the cost of replacement items. You won’t have to spend a week in the same undies!
Oh, and then there was the time my phone drowned (here).
Travel Insurance to Vital to Protect Your Body
Getting ill is something that can be awfully tricky to predict. Boarding a flight, you may feel tip top but you literally never know, the recycled air might make you a bit cold-y, you might have a weird reaction to an insect bite, or worse. When you are ill, the last thing you want to worry about is a hefty bill on your return to the homeland. Seriously, when it comes repatriation fees are CRAZY!
In Thailand, my friend felt a bit queasy the day after we had been to see some elephants. We still don’t know if it was the elephant-filled river water or an insect bite that did it, but she was struggling to get out of bed the following afternoon. We slowly slipped her into a tuk tuk and drove across Chiang Mai. The hospital did several tests and then prescribed her some drugs. The whole thing was covered by her insurance.
I have (touch wood) never had the bends after diving, been bitten by a rabid dog, or fallen off the side of a cliff. However, if there ever comes a day when something does happen, and with the desire to zip wire, white water raft, ski and sky dive it might, I am always comforted by the fact that I will take the treatment offered to me without having to worry about the cost.
Travel Insurance to Vital to Protect Your Trip
Things can go pretty wrong when you are travelling. The first thing you need to worry about is cancellations. Yes, airlines need to cover you when they mess up. However as soon as something like weather is involved, the impetus is on you to sort yourself out. An extra night in a super expensive city won’t seem so bad if you know you are getting your money back.
Travel insurance also covers your trip before you leave.
- If something bad happens in to your family or travel companions, death or injury.
- There is a terrorist attack in the location of your trip.
- Your travel company/airline goes bust.
- You are fired or called up for jury duty.
One Annoying Loophole
Most insurance will not pay out if you have been drinking!
A friend of mine ended up in hospital after a rather short but explosive bar crawl (they were handing out free absinthe). Our insurance was voided….!
Luckily it was in a country where three hours in a hospital bed to sober up was affordable. Had it been the USA or another expensive country, I don’t know what we would have done.
So if you fall off your hotel balcony playing drinking games or drunkenly throw the contents of your bag across a dance floor, only to find it has all been stolen, remember that you may not have a claim.
Oh and One More Thing
Do NOT just just get the cheapest policy you can find.
Last year there was a story reported of a British couple, Lee Johnston and Katie Amos, who travelled to the USA. Katie was about 26 weeks pregnant which is a perfectly normal, and safe time to travel. Their baby arrived 11 weeks early and the hospital said that their travel insurance didn’t cover everything they needed.
Due to extensive social media pressure, the hospital said that it would cover the medical bills but without this, the couple were facing bills of up to £130,000! They weren’t sufficiently covered for childbirth and all the things that come with a premature baby’s care. We can’t all expect the same public relations luck.
It really is worth reading everything in the small print. If you have the possibility of requiring medical attention, investing in a decent travel insurance is vital!.
Hopefully I have convinced you that travelling uninsured is just not worth the risk. We have always believed that travel insurance is vital!
We are covered for trips at home and abroad for up to 45 days at a time. If you are looking for a policy, whether it is for a single trip, an annual policy, or a longer, more specialised backpacker’s insurance, check our World Nomads.
Please, please consider protecting yourself and your stuff when you are away.
Travel like the scouts; be prepared!
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