In my last post, I looked at a few reasons why you might not necessarily need to purchase travel insurance before your next trip. But even if you have some coverage, it might not be quite right for you. How can you find out? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Not all coverage is the same!
You may have travel insurance through your parents or employer, but do you really know the coverage? It is common for extended benefits to limit the amount of days one can travel, and some have very low maximums for certain benefits. (If you do have some coverage from one of these places, you might consider topping it up to make sure you’re fully protected!)
As I also mentioned, many go-abroad organizations (especially volunteer and study-abroad) will have insurance that is built into their programs—but be warned, the insurance is designed for their average traveller, which may not be you! If you have a pre-existing condition or prefer different benefits to the ones that are offered, you might want to investigate if you can opt out of their coverage and purchase your own. In some cases you might even want to consider purchasing additional insurance for just that trip!
Pro-tip: Always read your policy! The best practice is to always thoroughly understand your insurance policy and make sure the coverage is appropriate for you. (Need help understanding your policy? You can always contact us.)
2. Travel insurance can cover medical emergencies and extra benefits that many national health plans do not.
To name a few, things like dental services, prescription drugs, out-of-country travel, and emergency transportation are not always covered by a national health plan. These are things that are generally covered by most travel insurance policies.
Pro-tip: Research what your host county’s national plan covers, then call your insurance broker to see if there is a plan that will cover the rest. Easy as pie!
3. Travel insurance is not just for you.
I know it seems a bit tricky for me to encourage you to buy travel insurance and make sure that you are covered for the unexpected, and then turn around and say it isn’t just for you, but hear me out.
Travelling away from home is not just a risk you take—it is a sacrifice that your family and friends make. By letting you be you and head out into the wilds to follow your travel dreams, your family and friends are saying that they trust you. And while we don’t often think of things going wrong while we’re abroad, chances are the idea will be constantly on your family members’ minds.
The actual chances of something happening to you abroad are slim. But, if something does happen, your family and friends will want to be near you—and you’ll want to be near to them. There is one benefit designed just for these situations that is included in most insurance policies: Repatriation. For those of you not well versed in insurance lingo, this is also known as “bring me home” insurance. It is used in times of serious illness or injury to bring patients back to a hospital in their home country. And it’s also used in case of the biggest travel nightmare—death.
Now, a quick counter-stat to put you at ease: You are many, many times more likely to get struck by lightning in your lifetime than you are to die abroad. PLEASE don’t let this worry stop you from enjoying a life full of travel and cultural experiences! Just consider a repatriation benefit as a favour to your family and friends in the very unlikely event that anything happens.
The repatriation benefit covers the cost of bringing you home for ongoing care in the event of a major health crisis—or, in the improbable case (knock on wood) of death abroad, it brings your body home so that you can be laid to rest as your family intends. The cost of repatriation if you don’t have insurance? In the ballpark of $10,000. Your family will have enough to worry about if something happens to you abroad, so you can imagine how much more devastated they would be if they did not have the money to bring you back home.
Ultimately the choice is yours, but I believe that if you really stop and think about your loved ones, the decision becomes that much clearer.
You travel for you; you get repatriation insurance for them.
4. No one knows travel insurance better than travel insurers.
It might seem easiest to rely on credit card insurance that you already have—or to just get travel insurance through your bank, or another institution that is already familiar to you. But it can be worth it to go the extra mile of finding a travel insurer.
Think of it this way. Let’s say you need to pick up a pizza for dinner, but you are already very familiar with the fish and chip place on your street. There is a new pizza place around the corner that you have heard great things about, but the fish and chip guy says he can make you an “adequate” pizza that “most” people like. Do you get your pizza from him because you know him already, or do you go around the corner to the pizza experts?
To me, it’s the same thing when it comes to insurance. Banks are really great at banking and managing money, but insurance is not their focus. They have a one-product-fits-all model for travel insurance, which is not ideal for everyone. With a travel insurance broker, their entire business centres around providing you with the right insurance—and they can find exactly what you need by shopping the market for you. No-brainer, am I right?
For more information on travel tips and travel insurance, visit the Ingle International blog page.