The age old question for any chronic traveler (especially those on a budget). Travel insurance tends to be a bit on the spendy side, and can be a real burden to those contemplating if it’s something that’s necessary or not.
I used to be wishywashy about travel insurance. Not sure why, could have been the sticker shock associated with it I guess. Confession time: we spent our first two years traveling abroad without it. I am so thankful we stayed happy, healthy, and without injury. I just saw us as two average, physically fit, 20-something year olds, wandering the world with as much as we could fit in two checked bags. Why would we need insurance for that?
As the years go by, I’ve slowly changed my mind. We purchased our first-ever travel insurance plan last year for our 8 week trip to Hawaii, Philippines, and Thailand through World Nomads. They have two options to choose from, and we ended up going with the most comprehensive (the Explorer plan), because not only did it cover us physically (including dismemberment
holy shark attacks) but it also covered damage insurance on our rental car, theft (including cash), and life insurance. There’s a list of 20+ other things it covers, and basically with World Nomads you’re set for every kind of emergency when you travel.
The travel plan we bought a year ago paid itself off within the first week of vacation. I forgot how expensive medical care was back in the US, and after coming down with a 105 (F) degree fever, it was off to the Urgent Care clinic for me. My bill for one hour in the clinic, with prescription, came to be $461 dollars. Our travel insurance for the both of us for 8 weeks was only $350. After sending World Nomads the medical notes and receipts from my clinic visit, we were credited the entire amount we spent on medical costs within three days. Yes that’s how fast they were.
Thankfully we didn’t have any more incidents on that trip, but it was nice having the piece of mind in knowing that we were covered if anything else happened: flight delays, lost luggage, cancellations, etc.
After that trip I was sold on travel insurance.
We had another scary incident last weekend when Derik’s heart rhythm threw itself out of whack and wouldn’t fix itself. Basically the most terrifying thing ever (hearing a heart skip a couple beats only to resume at 3x the pace over and over again isn’t really a good time). We spent the night in the ER and had a consultation in the morning with the head cardiologist at the hospital. By that next afternoon the doctors were able to get Derik’s heart back to a normal rhythm.
Why am I telling you this? Because you never really know when something crazy is going to happen. Derik is a healthy guy who works out at the gym 4-5 days a week, and spends his days lifting heavy equipment. We would have never foreseen these heart issues. Having insurance that covers medical stays was/is nice because we didn’t have to worry about the cost of the bill (just fiy, as a foreigner in New Zealand we were required to pay the bill, and are waiting to be reimbursed quickly by insurance). Derik has a few follow up appointments that will also most likely be covered.
Travel insurance is important. You don’t realize how much until an emergency situation happens to you personally, and when it does, you’ll be ever so grateful you went ahead and made the decision to purchase it.
For our trip to Australia, we’re actually double insured. We use a local health insurance company within New Zealand (which extends to Australia on holiday), and the World Nomads Explorer Plan for everything else, with the added bonus of heath benefits.
I don’t know about you, but I always love a good pros and cons list. Let’s look at the pros and cons of travel insurance.
-Travel insurance is for all kinds of emergencies (medical, trips, even emergencies involving your stuff).
-It covers cancellations due to weather, terrorism, vessel faults, and more!
-We all worry about our luggage, but travel insurance even covers that if you lose something! They’ll give you cash to go buy more.
-An Overall peace of mind. If you get a good insurance policy you’re covered for it all. You don’t have to worry about suffering a huge financial loss due to an unforeseen accident.
-Travel insurance premiums can be high. Actually high enough that you might have the wind knocked out of you. Just weigh your options and decide overall what’s most important to you. My motto? Better safe than sorry.
-Most of the time you’ll have to pay out of pocket for things yourself and then submit a claim for travel insurance to reimburse you.
-Not all policies cover everything. Be careful before you buy a plan. Look into the coverages…the cheapest isn’t always the best! Read the fine print. Know before you buy!
Going on a trip soonish? Get a quote with World Nomads below!
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