A Guide to Buying and Using Travel Insurance

Is Travel Insurance Really Necessary?

Travel is already expensive enough, isn’t it? The cost of air fare, cruises, hotels, ground transportation, food and activities and entertainment are already high enough. I don’t know about you, but I work hard for my money, and when I travel, I want to keep as much of my money in MY pocket as possible. Is travel insurance a necessity or a luxury? Why not cut a few corners here and there. Why buy something if it’s not really needed?

My personal answer is, of course, that I am not independently wealthy and can’t withstand the potential financial losses I would incur if I require medical care while I’m traveling. Not being independently wealthy also means that I’m in the market for adequate but cheap travel insurance. I suspect that you are in the same position, so you, too need cheap travel insurance. If you’re still not sure about that, consider the following.

Did you know that if you get sick or are injured while traveling abroad, your medical plan may not cover all the expenses you will incur? If the costs of treatment are higher than the maximums of your medical plan, you will be responsible for the difference, unless you have already purchased travel insurance. In fact, you may not even be admitted into hospitals in some countries without proof that you have health or medical insurance.

This is true for everyone, regardless of age or length of time abroad. Suppose you fall ill just a few hours after arriving at your destination. Or suppose you make a day-trip to another country, and you are injured in a traffic accident. Or suppose one of your children is part of a group making a class visit abroad, gets food poisoning and requires hospitalization. In all cases, without adequate travel health insurance, you will be responsible for the costs above and beyond the limitations of your existing medical plan.

Therefore, before going abroad, you need to make sure that you are adequately covered by travel medical insurance that won’t break your budget. You should check to see if appropriate coverage is already available to you through your medical plan, employee benefits, or even through a credit card. If the coverage is sufficient for your needs, then you can enjoy your trip without incurring the extra expense of travel insurance. However, if you are not sure of your coverage, or if your coverage is inadequate or non-existent, then your next step should be to research and purchase the travel insurance coverage you need.

How Much Can You Expect To Pay?

When I bought my first plane ticket to China a few years ago it cost around $2000 round-trip, and my travel insurance cost me over $500 because I didn’t shop around for cheap travel insurance online.

A few years later, a little bit older and wiser, and my travel insurance for another trip to China cost me much less–about $300 for roughly the same coverage. The difference? Before buying my travel insurance for the second trip, I shopped around online and got the coverage I needed, at the right price. If I’d have purchased my travel insurance for this latest trip from my travel agent, it would’ve cost me about $600 for the trip, and my plane tickets only cost $1,500! Not exactly the smart way to go.

So how much will it cost you? Not as much money as it will cost you if you get sick or injured abroad and you don’t have any travel insurance coverage! That’s the obvious answer to the question.

In fact, how much travel insurance costs will depend on your age and the type of coverage you choose. Basic policies cost as little as $5.50 USD per $1000 of coverage. On the other hand, you can expect a full coverage policy to cost you from 7 to 10% of the cost of your trip, depending on your age. The older you are, the more you will pay. No matter what the cost of the policy, however, it’s sure to be much less than the cost of medical evacuation!

The good news is that you can easily, conveniently and quickly research and locate excellent but cheap online travel insurance and reduce the costs while making an informed purchase. This is much better than taking what you are offered at the travel agency because you can choose from hundreds of travel insurance companies and polices and save yourself a lot of money in the process. One place you can start your search is at Travel Insurance Central, [http://www.travel-insurance-central.com]

What You Should Consider When Buying Travel Insurance

To assist you in your research, here are some suggestions to help you make an informed purchase.

1. Consider the worst-case scenario. If you can financially withstand the worst-case scenario then maybe you don’t need travel insurance or maybe you don’t need a comprehensive policy.

2. Make sure the policy you are considering provides adequate medical/dental coverage, including medical evacuation coverage just in case you need medical care in a place where the best treatment available is below the standards you are accustomed to in your country. This can happen if you fall ill in a developing country or even on a cruise ship.

3. Check your existing insurance policies for possible coverage. There is no sense in paying more for what you already have in your homeowner or tenant policy, such as theft and loss coverage.

4. If you are a frequent traveler, you should consider annual or year-round travel insurance policies. Sometimes they are called multi-trip travel insurance policies. Whatever the name, these policies can be relatively cheap when compared to single-trip travel insurance policies.

5. Know what you are buying, so read the fine print. Make sure that you understand what the company considers to be a legitimate reason for cancellation or interruption. If the list is too restrictive, maybe you should consider another policy.

6. Don’t restrict yourself to buying only from your travel agent. He/She will probably only have one company’s product(s) available, and it’s there for your convenience, but that convenience can be quite costly!

7. Ask lots of questions about the coverage. Play the “what if” game. Ask for clear explanations of terminology. Make sure that you and the travel insurance company are speaking the same language.

8. Don’t buy the insurance through your transportation provider. If the airline goes bankrupt, how adequate will your insurance coverage be?

Once You’ve Bought Your Travel Insurance

Remember that your travel insurance policy covers you between certain specific dates, so don’t start your trip early or extend your trip without first changing the dates of coverage on your travel insurance policy. Of course, this might cost you extra, but that’s cheaper than finding yourself without coverage when you need it the most.

Also, it almost goes without saying that you should bring your travel insurance policy with you when you go abroad. You can’t consult the policy if it’s sitting on your desk at home. You should also carry your travel insurance company’s toll-free assistance phone number and other contact information with you wherever you go. It does you no good if you get ill or hurt and the necessary policy information is sitting in your hotel room. It’s also a good idea to bring your regular medical coverage cards and info with you.

I hope these tips will help you by the best travel insurance for you. Then take your trip with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are insured by the right travel insurance policy at the right price. Bon voyage!

Travel Insurance For Backpackers And Hikers

If you have a tour in your mind and you want to travel the free way, a good backpacker travel insurance policy is a thing you must consider before tour. Backpacking trips are bit riskier than regular planned travels. So in such case good backpacker travel insurance becomes a mandatory criterion for a hassle free tour.

Most of the insurers don’t know all the benefits of insurance as they are unaware but these insurance policies help a traveler in many ways.

A Backpacker insurance policy is basically for those who are low on budget. You don’t have to pay high for regular insurance policy but you will surely get the essential coverage with backpackers travel insurance policy. It covers you and your luggage at very less cost, as this type of insurance is designed for backpackers who are known for their low budgeted and unplanned travel schedules.

Before going through you must know backpacker insurance policy and its features.

Features provided by backpacker travel insurance

There are some important features and coverage that backpacker travel insurance policy can provide, these are as follows;

  • In case if you have to extend you trip due to any unexpected reason, backpacker insurance covers it too.
  • You get all covers round the clock all the year no matter what time or circumstances are there.
  • If you get sick during you trip, all the medical expenses will be covered by backpacker insurance providers. Most of the time such insurance policies also covers personal incidents that occur during travel (please confirm this before buying insurance policy from you insurance provider).
  • Many travel insurance firms provide option to opt out which they don’t want to be covered and ask for the things which they want to be covered. This flexibility is an added advantage for insurers.
  • Many travel insurance firms provide the option to the insurer that what they really want to be covered in their policy. This flexibility is an added advantage for insurers.
  • Many backpacker tours for winter sports, some travel for scuba diving. Such adventurous sports have high risks involved which can lead you to physical damages. Covers for such sports are also available as an optional measure. You can add such sports covers in your existing insurance for added safety.
  • You can extend you insurance any time with a single click sitting at your home in front of your computer.
  • Make sure that insurance policy covers the location in which you are planning to travel. Some travel insurance companies provide insurance policies only for a certain country.

Now the biggest which every travelers generally asks is “Do I really need a backpacker insurance policy? And is it really worth it? “

Backpacker travel insurance is surely recommended for you if you fell into any of these categories

  • You travel alone at places which are expected.
  • Your travel schedule is unexpected and never planned.
  • You have medical history or you are above 50 years of age.

Backpacking is surely an adventurous trip but it has its own risks too. Backpackers are very prone to injuries, robbery and related issues. There are some possible issues in which backpackers can easily get coverage. These are as follows:

Tour cancellation – Trips are cancelled many times due to many issues. Sometimes due to bad weather and sometimes due to some personal reason, one has to cancel his/her trip.

Emergency medical care – backpackers are very much prone to issue like food poisoning, diarrhea and other infections. Such diseases can lead to serious health issues which can be covered by purchasing insurance.

Accidents – accidents are common and can be occur at any time. Insurance not only covers for your injury but also the person affected by your mistake.

Theft or robbery – backpacker usually travel alone. They also stay at budget hotels. All this makes them prone to things like baggage theft and robbery.

Considering the current global scenario which is quite unsafe, having proper backpacker travel insurance is very necessary.

A backpacker insurance policy can be a great help for every traveler who wants to travel the free way. So what are you waiting for? Get a backpacker travel insurance for yourself and roam free

Travel Insurance – How To Get The Best Value Travel Insurance

If you are an occasional traveler you’ll probably buy your insurance from the travel agent. But if you travel more than twice a year, it is much more cost effective to have one insurance lasting all year round, than buying one every time you travel.

Think ahead, plan ahead. Annual travel insurance easily pays for itself with just a couple of trips. But not all insurances are worth the same and as always cheapest is not necessarily the best. More on this later.

Annual travel insurance is not compulsory but it gives you the peace of mind case of illness and loss or damage to property and many other events. Where is the best place to buy annual travel insurance?

1. Your bank is probably the first place you’ll try. Banks have in recent times become highly competitive and in order to retain your business, may offer better rates. For example my bank has upgraded my checking account to a premium account and for that I pay $20 per month.

As a result I get several privileges including free, worldwide, comprehensive travel insurance. But here is the best part … I get all this free travel insurance not just for myself but also for any member of my family traveling with me including my parents and siblings.

I said free because I am already getting other benefits which are worth a lot more than $20 per month if I were to buy them individually. I also save a lot of time as I never have to look around for insurance. So don’t ignore your bank.

2. Credit card companies also offer similar insurances, with some added advantages. In case of theft or loss of your credit card, they will supply you with an emergency one, often within a few hours.

In addition to travel insurance offers, there is another advantage in checking your credit card company’s terms. If you book your travel using your credit card, pretty much all card companies give excellent cover against many of the things that can go wrong.

Some credit card companies also have specialist travel departments which not only give you travel discounts but also give you even better protection, i.e. better travel insurance and at a much lower cost. But note that all insurance offers exclude you making a claims, for the same item, to multiple sources even if you do have multiple insurance cover.

For example, let’s say you have bought travel insurance separately and you have bought your travel ticket using your credit card. If your luggage is lost, you can almost certainly make a claim to either of the two sources but not to both at the same time.

The reason is that the insurance companies have suffered massive fraud in recent years. Allowing multiple claims simply encourages fraudsters to have multiple insurances and make multiple false claims.

For example, they can take an already damaged suitcase on a long journey knowing that it will fall apart. They can then claim damage and loss of property from multiple insurers.

3. Insurance companies are a popular and obvious source for annual travel insurance. If you drive a car or have home insurance get a quote from your insurance company. Remember, because you are already a customer, your car insurance often entitles you to a very good discount.

Here’s a tip: if they don’t give you a competitive insurance, tell them that you will be looking else where for a good package. Let them know you will be looking for a package that includes great home insurance, excellent travel insurance and also good car insurance.

Listen, fear of loss WILL make them bend over backwards for you and if they don’t? Here’s another tip: When you talk to any other source to get your competitive travel insurance, make sure you mention your other assets that you could be insuring with them, such as your car, home, home contents, etc.

This won’t work with travel companies but works absolutely beautifully with most insurance companies. I have done it many times and saved myself thousands of dollars, yes thousands, over the last few years.

The insurance industry is massively competitive. For once, this works in favor of the “little guy” (you and me), so let’s use it.

4. Certain types of home insurance may also give annual travel cover. Do look into pretty much any insurance cover you have. Some home insurance policies include some forms of travel cover including loss or damage to your property while away from home.

Tip: even if you live with your parents, ask them to check their policy for you. You will be amazed to see that even “your” property is covered while away from home.

Just one word of caution: do not assume what is covered or the level cover. If you are not sure just ask the insurer. If the cover they describe seems even better than what you expected based on the policy document, then do ask them to put their clarification in writing.

Why? When any major loss occurs, the insurer will send a local expert to assess the damage. These guys are called loss adjustors. Their job is to save money for the insurance company. And I tell you from bitter personal experience, they take no prisoners.

They will screw you down to the ground, if you don’t get things in clear black and white writing. Just do it. It takes minutes to request clarification in writing but can save you thousands of dollars when you have one of these mean loss adjustors arguing with you over the policy.

5. You can also buy last minute travel insurance from travel agents and airlines at the airport. Expect to be taken advantage of, heavily! Needless to say, this is one of your most expensive options. Just avoid ending up with this option, see to your insurance long before you need to travel.

Now here’s the thing. Travel insurance policies are not all identical. As well as considering price, you absolutely must read the terms and conditions carefully. For example, the upper age limit of some insurance companies may vary.

Some companies may limit the number of annual trips, whilst others may have no limit at all. Look, most travel insurance policies cover a range of events and claims. But as they say, the devil is in the detail.

The problem you will definitely face with some really cheap policies from unknown and possibly disreputable companies is what they put in the fine print. You know what I’m talking about? … all those tiny little statements they put on the back of the form? Or if you are buying insurance online (and you should), notice all those pages of really small text they ask you to agree to?

Well, that’s where they bury lots of little conditions and limitations. Most people don’t read all the terms. Do yourself a huge favor and on this occasion, do read it all. If the insurance policy terms are full of “weasel words” or complex language, just move on and do not buy.

All insurance companies are quick to point out how many millions you can claim in “total”, in case of a serious accident. But they all limit the amount per item within your claim. So claims for loss of cash will be capped and so will claims for electronic devices, clothes, etc.

This means that with the cheaper policies you will have a really low limit. For example, if you claim for a mobile phone and an MP3 player, you may find that the limit on personal electronics is not enough to even pay for “one” of those devices, let alone both. Don’t wait for an unfortunate event to show you the flaws in a dirt cheap policy. That is the worst time to find out and it is a time when you need the most help.

What must all policies cover?

1. Loss or damage to property and cash

2. Flight delays or cancellation

3. Accidents

4. Sickness

5. Your expenses when an event ocurs

6. Your potential liability to other people

7. Legal services

In comparison to your total costs, annual travel insurance is only a very small item. If you are covered for any eventuality, you’ll have less to worry about, which will translate to more relaxation and enjoyment.