The Basics of Buying Travel Insurance

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In April, we wrote about the different forms of insurance that are available. It attracted the attention of a lot of readers, so we decided to look at one of those products in more detail – travel insurance.

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Even in this day and age, a lot of people still don’t purchase it. So, we need to start by answering the question why should you buy travel medical insurance?

The simple answer is that if you do not have it and something goes wrong things could go very badly for you. Every year, thousands of travelers fall sick or get injured. When that happens they have to seek medical help. In most parts of the world, the patient has to personally pay for that treatment.

If you have a good travel insurance policy your insurer will cover that cost. But, if you don’t have a decent policy, you will have to pay the entire bill. A single night’s stay in hospital can cost anywhere from $300 to $2,300. At those rates, it takes no time at all for a big bill to build up.

Sadly, many people have ended up spending a lifetime paying off medical debt. It is even worse if you need medical repatriation.

An American could face a bill of around $50,000 to get back from Europe in an air ambulance.

As you see, the figures are eye-watering. So, it really is a good idea to buy a policy. But, it must not be the first one that is offered to you.

When it comes to travel insurance there is no one size fits all solution. You need to shop around to find a policy that offers you the right level of coverage. Here are the questions you need to ask to work out which firms can help you.

What pre-existing conditions do they cover?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition see what the small print says. This is the case even if you had an operation decades ago and are now in perfect health. Some firms will still count this as a pre-existing condition. For example, if you had a heart bypass op 10 years ago and suffer a heart attack while on holiday, some firms may argue that event is related to a previous medical condition. So, when you fill out the application share all of your details.

What level of coverage is included?

You cannot just assume that everything you need is included in the policy. For example, if you want to go skiing, check that you will still be covered if you have an accident on the slopes. Make sure that the cost of getting off the mountain and to the hospital is covered.

The level of coverage is also important. There is no point in buying a policy that only includes $10,000 of repatriation costs. It is going to cost far more than that, so it makes sense to buy a policy from a firm that will pay the entire bill.

It is also important to understand excesses. Some firms keep the cost of their policies down by using high excesses. Usually buying this type of policy is not a good idea. Most people’s finances will be stretched if they have to pay the first $2,000 of any claim made.

Do you carry travel insurance? If so, how has your experience been?