Last updated: January 9, 2018
Protection from illness, accident, theft, and robbery is just a few reasons why you should always travel with travel insurance. But it is not always easy to know what insurance you need, what’s included or if you have a good deal or not.
After traveling for almost 7 years, whereas 3 of them full-time, choosing a good travel insurance is essential. And it’s time to share my experience and my best tips so that you don’t have to worry about which one to choose.
Below I have written why you should never travel without travel insurance, my best tips and what to consider when choosing a proper travel insurance before the trip.
|What should be included in a good travel insurance?||I recommend this travel insurance company|
|Common mistakes to avoid||Do you really need additional travel insurance?|
Why is Travel Insurance so Important?
This may seem quite obvious, but still, there are a lot of people who choose to travel without insurance. Most of these explain their choice with “oh, nothing will happen” or “I’m never sick”. And although it may be true for the most part, you never know when an accident occurs. For example, I am rarely ill and when I travel to “insecure” areas, I always read and look into safety tips for that specific location, but still, you never know.
During my 7 years of traveling, I’ve only encountered cleaners who stole money in the hotel room and a lost ATM card, but despite that, I would never travel without insurance. The reason for it is very simple; it’s simply not worth traveling without. I have been food poisoned, for example, many times, and if those had gotten more serious I would’ve been in need of some proper medical treatment. Without travel insurance that will often be VERY pricey, to say the least.
If you get seriously ill and need surgery, the costs can hit the roof and you might not afford it. With travel insurance, you only have to pay the deductible (usually about 150 Euro). instead of perhaps thousands of Euros. Similarly, valuables such as camera, computer and mobile phone are subject to theft or breakage.
Theft happens everywhere in the world and it is not only in poor countries that you may encounter jerks or robbery. A good travel insurance can be found for around 1-3 Euros a day. It’s stupid to be cheap when it comes to your own safety and health!
There are far too many examples of travelers who have encountered accidents abroad without travel insurance, who either had to pay ridiculously high fees or been denied treatment. Such a thing will be avoided if you have a good travel insurance covering the unforeseen.
What should be included in a good travel insurance?
- The travel insurance should give you coverage in the majority of countries
- Coverage for stolen items or things that break should be included
- Medical emergencies or regular illness
- 24/7 hour customer service (you don’t want to talk to a robot while you’re bleeding out, at least not until robots are better than humans)
- A good trip cancellation protection
- Coverage for interruptions due to illness or other circumstances
- Legal fees and costs
- Coverage if the company that you booked with goes bankrupt
- Personal accidents
- Damage compensation for traumatic experiences such as robbery or assault
- That you should not have to pay huge expenses upfront (very important)
Do I need an additional travel insurance on top of my home insurance policy?
The answer to this question is, of course, individual and depends entirely on what your home insurance policy covers and what you plan to do on your trip. In Sweden, we usually have 45 days basic travel insurance included in our home insurance policies, but as for other countries I have no experience, but if you give a quick call to your local insurance company I’m sure they will be happy to help.
My experience with home insurances is that you get basic coverage, so if you’re traveling with a lot of valuables or do adventure activities, then you probably won’t be covered fully. So, depending on what kind of trip you’re doing on how much your home insurance covers, the answer will be individual if you need additional travel insurance or not.
I do recommend to check this carefully as you don’t want to think you’re covered and then it shows that you’re not, or that you buy additional travel insurance when there’s no need.
Travel Insurance via your debit/credit card
Most debit and especially credit cards currently have a travel insurance included when booking and paying half or 75% of the trip with the card. The majority of these travel insurance policies that are included via one’s debit or credit card are broadly similar. If you are a plus customer or a VIP customer, the policy will usually have better compensation and terms.
As a regular customer, travel insurance by debit card usually provides compensation for delayed flights, lost/delayed luggage, trip cancellation and a certain amount of protection in case of accidents. One can say that home insurance and travel insurance through debit and credit cards complement each other quite well.
A lot of credit card companies offer insurances for rental cars, which can be very helpful. But again, I recommend checking this with your local bank, as all packages are different. In Sweden, each bank has their own policies despite offering Mastercard and Visa cards.
I Recommend This Travel Insurance Company
The number 1 travel insurance company around the world. They have specialized themselves to cater mostly backpackers, adventurers, digital nomads and other frequent travelers. It really is a great travel insurance company.
Some of the highlights by using World Nomads:
- You can add cover while traveling
- A travel insurance for travelers by travelers
- Covers 150+ adventure activities (very unique to see in a travel insurance policy)
- Your gear is protected
- Emergency Medical Transportation
- Trip Cancellation or interruption
- 24-hour assistance
- Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation
- They also support local communities
You can read all about their travel insurance policies here or get a quote below.
The Blue Card (EU)
If you’re an EU-citizen like me and traveling within the EU-zone, then you can get serious medical treatment for the same price as the locals would at public hospitals. However, it won’t be valid at most private hospital facilities.
Worth noting, the blue card won’t cover ambulance flights back to your home country. And it’s certainly not the same as a travel insurance. This is just a card for emergencies if you’re traveling within EU.
Travel Insurance and cancellation protection from tour operators
Many of these travel insurances and cancellation protection that are usually available when booking trips or flights are usually unnecessary. They are mainly there for companies to earn more money and usually offer no added value that isn’t already covered by travel insurance through debit cards or home insurance.
Should you go on a longer trip, it is more beneficial to get a proper travel insurance.
Except the obvious mistake to travel without insurance in the first place, there are also quite a few other common mistakes that I’ve seen or heard of by other travelers I’ve met along the road.
- Clicking yes on unnecessary travel insurance and cancellation insurance (Most will already be covered if you pay the trip by card)
- That they don’t double check the maximum amount of compensation
- “Forget” to mention a disease/allergy when they sign up for insurances
- That you do activities that are not covered by travel insurance
- They don’t read the fine print
- Forget to check how high the deductible is
- Getting drunk or using drugs (most insurance policies give no compensation if something happens when you have been noticeably intoxicated or drug-induced)
- They have no organization for papers and receipts
- Don’t know how to apply for compensation if something happens
- That one does not check if you need to make a claim for each individual event
- To believe that it is easy to extend if you are abroad (For long-term travelers who have gone away for several months without returning to Sweden)
Another common mistake is to compare travel insurances just by the price, which can be quite misleading. Most travel insurances will differ in the fine prints and coverage. The cheaper travel insurances might sound good, but if you take a closer look they will end up more expensive than a good travel insurance in the first place.
Remember to always choose a reputable insurance company with a good record and happy customers. It’s your life and health we’re talking about. I vouch for World Nomads unless you have a better option from a local insurance company, then, by all means, go for that one.