Buying travel insurance is the most boring part of travel. You don’t want to have to think about anything going wrong on your trip, but God forbid something happens and you’re not covered.
These tips will help you on the path towards becoming a travel insurance ninja, making sure you get the exact cover you need and that you don’t get caught out on any tiny details.
1. Shop around
As with everything in life, it’s best to shop around for different prices. This especially applies to travel insurance because different companies cater to different kinds of travellers. Some will be better for longer trips, others for short breaks, and others for very active holidays.
When you’re buying travel insurance, make sure your searches are very specific. If you’re going skiing, look for a company that specialises in winter sports cover, or if you’re going on a round-the-world trip, find a company that offers the best rates on backpackers insurance.
2. Read the medical section first
We know you love that expensive camera of yours, but really the most important thing about insurance is that you’re covered for any medical emergencies abroad. Go through this section of the policy with a fine toothcomb to check that you’ll have everything you need in light of the relevant dangers in your destination.
Hot tip if you’re going anywhere on a long visa: some visas require you to have repatriation cover included in your insurance. Some border agents will go through your insurance documents very thoroughly, so this is something you don’t want to miss off.
3. Weigh up risks considering your destination
Some destinations will require more medical cover, others might need you to have your valuables insured for the gods. Different places around the world will require different levels of insurance cover on various aspects of your trip, so always take a bit of time before buying travel insurance to really consider what you need.
For example, citizens from the UK can get a European Health Insurance Card, which offers them free or low-cost medical help in Europe – meaning they don’t need as much medical cover in their travel insurance policies.
4. Find residency rules
This is something a lot of people don’t realise about travel insurance – in the very, very fine print there is sometimes a clause that requires you to start your trip in your own country of residency. That means buying insurance while you’re already on the road can be a nightmare, and companies can catch you out on if you have to make a claim. Some even stipulate that you need to have been in your own country for at least six months prior to departure of your trip.
Always read the fine print when it comes to your country of origin and residency. This would be a really annoying little slip to be caught out on, so it’s imperative you read the company’s rules on the subject.
5. Check valuables clause
In the quick summaries offered by insurance companies, they’ll often list the valuables cover as a few thousand dollars. What some might not tell you is that there’s a limit to how much you can claim per single valuable item.
Make sure you go through the valuables clause to make sure what you receive per single item is as much as your gadgets are worth. The last thing you want is to only get $200 back on a camera worth $800.
6. Read sports information in detail
Outdoor activities, in particular the more dangerous ones, are a pain the in neck for insurance companies, as taking part in them is when most people get hurt abroad. Many companies offer different levels of cover depending on the sports or activity, often listed on-by-one so that you can understand completely what you can or cannot do.
Don’t skip this step; make sure you take a look at your itinerary thoroughly, and cover yourself adequately for any activities you’re taking part in. Never take the risk – it’s better to buy more cover than necessary than not have enough.