Is Travel Insurance Really Worth It?
It’s a question I’m asked regularly from the readers and followers of World Travel Tribe, “Is travel insurance really worth it?” I’ve been pondering that question myself recently for an upcoming trip to Bali. We are traveling for a month, plus we have trips planned locally and interstate this year too. I’ve also pondered whether annual travel insurance would be worth it because of the multiple trips.
Travel insurance and trip protection are an added expense to a trip so I bypass it instead. I rely on my credit card travel insurance to cover us, so, is travel insurance really worth it?
Yes and no.
With my particular credit card company once I book a trip I’m automatically covered. However, I do recommend if you rely on your card provider check their terms and conditions and make sure it covers your travel needs.
Fortunately, we’ve never had to make a claim. Although, it was pretty close several months ago when our flight to Bali was cancelled whilst seated in the departure lounge!
I have traveled with someone whose luggage was lost due to an airline error. He received his luggage the night before the next leg of our journey. Then had it stolen from Las Vegas Airport! It wasn’t pretty! Fortunately, he had travel insurance. I did cover part of his claim, but not all of it.
It’s a personal decision whether to take out travel insurance or any other insurances for that matter. Personally, I think we are all OVER insured, however, that’s how insurance companies survive, pitching fear, what if’s and selling us peace-of-mind and who doesn’t want that?
To make a decision about travel insurance and the travel insurance companies you’ll have to do some research. You can then make an informed decision that suits your needs, and answers your questions of, is travel insurance really worth it, to you? You’ll have to understand what travel insurance is, what it’s not and what your travel insurance policy actually covers.
What Is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is an insurance policy that covers you and your family for any unexpected out of pocket expenses that occur whilst you are on vacation or holidays.
You will have to check your policy to see when the coverage commences. Is it a specific time or day, or prior? In the case of a flight cancellation, will your accommodation be covered if you have to stay overnight? Or what if a family becomes gravely ill or passes away just before your trip, are you protected? Will you loose the whole cost of your trip? Or are there simple cancellation fees that apply to your situation?
The next question I’m often asked after “Is travel insurance really worth it?”, is “What are the best travel insurance companies?” To single out one particular company would be quite difficult, given the thousands of companies offering insurance for travel. My advice is to ask around. Ask your friends, ask on Facebook, ask as many people as you know. People are always willing to offer up an opinion about a claim or excellent service and coverage they’ve received. Plus, there is always Mr Google if you are stuck.
Travel Insurance Comparison
When you do receive a few recommendations go back to Google and compare travel insurance companies. Type in “travel insurance reviews” where you can read the pro’s and con’s what people liked and didn’t like about their company of choice and their reasons why.
Remember to check the actual insurance comparisons too. What one policy covers might not be covered by a rival company? That’s where your specific needs come in. If the policy doesn’t cover say riding a motorcycle and you have no plans to ride a bike then it won’t be of concern.
Best Travel Insurance Coverage
The best travel insurance companies offer the following coverage
- Trip cancellations
- Trip interruptions
- Missed connections
- Medical and dental emergencies
- Emergency evacuations
- Lost luggage
- Delayed luggage
- Stolen luggage
- Flight accidents
- Adventure activities
- Lost or stolen sports equipment
- Lost or stolen business equipment
- 24/7 help-line
- Identity theft
- Lost or stolen passports
How To Work Out Is Travel Insurance Is Really Worth It
For someone who dislikes reading details I find it quite tedious (read boring) reading any type of fine print. If you are like me I’ll urge you to take a few minutes (OK maybe even half an hour) and read your card company or chosen travel insurance companies terms and conditions. This is the only way you’ll find out is travel insurance really worth it.
Fortunately for me, and hopefully for you too, my T & C’s are offered in a small booklet to take with me on my trip. I can also access the booklet online at the insurance company website. Remember it’s the underwriters of your credit card company you’ll be dealing with should you need to make a claim.
Here are 9 tips so you can read and understand travel insurance policies.
Who is eligible?
If you make the purchase on your card are your spouse and dependent children covered too? Are they covered for interstate and international travel? Is your particular “brand” of the card actually covered and does the level of coverage differ with cards or trips?
Definitions and Interpretation
We’ve all done it, read something and misinterpreted what was actually meant vs what you thought was meant. In my policy, it states that ‘journey’ means travel outlined under the ‘When does cover apply?’ headings in the International Travel Insurance and Interstate Flight Inconvenience Insurance sections. Does that mean in all other sections ‘journey’ does not apply?
In the definition and interpretations section, your company will clearly define what they mean. There will be no arguments over the usage of words and their meanings as it’s all spelt out!
Terms and Conditions
You need to comply with your obligations under the T & C’s. Otherwise, they may refuse to pay your claim. You must contribute to a claim, this is called an excess. Excess vary from policy to policy so be sure and check that seemingly cheap travel insurance policy as your excess could be sky high.
Your expenses must be reasonable and must not exceed what you would normal pay for a meal, clothing or overnight stays in hotels. So no eating out at that 3 hated restaurant you’ve always wanted to try but couldn’t afford, and no Louis Vuitton or Manolo Blahniks for you either!
You must minimize loss and take all reasonable precautions to safeguard your belongings. If leaving your belongings unattended in a public place is not a reasonable precaution.
You must also take all reasonable steps to safeguard your own safety. Following the advice and warnings of any government or government agency. This includes official bodies and broadcasts in the mass media.
Read what’s NOT included. This list in some cases is longer than what IS included!
- Any any pre-existing medical condition won’t be. Or if you chose to ignore medical advice stating that you shouldn’t travel because of a medical condition.
- Medical expenses incurred with your own country cover by any government health or private health systems.
- Suicide, attempted suicide, self-inflicted injury or illness or condition or harm. Administering excessive prescription or illegal drugs.
- Pregnancy or childbirth isn’t except if there was unexpected and unforeseen medical complications arise. But only up to the end of the 26th week of pregnancy. This is all based on an estimated date of delivery and must be confirmed in writing by your obstetrician. Whew, I’m in the clear there! ?
Any ‘dangerous’ activities as deemed by your insurance company. You may have to qualify what is meant by ‘dangerous’ the Definitions and Interpretations section mentioned above will help clarify this further. If it doesn’t then be sure and contact them and have it put in writing.
My policy doesn’t allow
- Any participation involving a motorcycle or quad-biking unless it involves me driving a hired motorcycle with an engine capacity of 200cc or less. However, I must hold a current motorcycle licence.
- Any deliberate acts or illegal or criminal acts by me and those traveling with me. I can’t participate as a crew member or pilot of any means of transport, shame about that!
The last thing you need is ANY disruption to your travel plans! They do happen so you have to be prepared. What you think ‘should’ be covered in this section may not be.
- Cutting your trip short for your own reasons
- Employment problems
- Use of an unlicensed travel company or agent
- Any service provider problems, i.e. if a tour is cancelled due to low numbers
Maximum Period of Cover
Is your trip for 15 days, 1 month or a 3-day weekend? Don’t assume if you are paying for the whole of your trip say a month as we are soon and the policy only covers 15 days. Some policies have a 45 day coverage period which is excellent.
Personal belongings and business items
You can’t leave your personal belongings or business items unattended
- in a public place
- in a motor vehicle unless stored in the boot and forced entry is gained
- in a motor vehicle overnight (even if in the boot)
- with a person who steals or deliberately damages them
- Currency fluctuations
- Epidemics or pandemics
- Acts of war or terrorism
- Damage arising from wear and tear
- Fines, damages or legal problems
- Radioactivity pathogenic or poisonous biological or chemical materials (say what?)
The extra travel insurance decision is currently still out in our house, we have one for and one against.
Tell me, is travel insurance really worth it to you?