Is travel insurance necessary?
You’re planning a trip, everything looks great, you’re excited and can’t wait to leave. Then you estimate your budget. It’s higher than you expected, so you start looking for ways to cut costs.
Public transportation instead of a taxi from the airport, check.
Carry-on luggage instead of checked baggage, check.
Hostel instead of hotel, check. Hmmm, what else can you cut?
“Is travel insurance necessary?” you ask yourself. “What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t buy any insurance before I leave?”
While fear of a nebulous future should not overly control your decisions and through process, foresight is armor against the unknown. And having travel insurance is a pretty good shield against the agents of chaos.
Is Travel Insurance Worth It?
We’ve spent almost two and a half years on the road. During that time we have met many travelers who have jaunted around the world without incident. This is not rare. The world is a lot safer than we sometimes think it is.
However, you know there is a big “BUT” coming here.
So yeah, we’ve traveled without incident for nearly three years ourselves, BUT…. we’ve met a decent amount of travelers who’ve been injured in accidents, had personal property lost or stolen, have gotten quite ill, and have had to cut their trip short for a number of reasons.
As we all know, life is unpredictable. That fact doesn’t change just because we’re on vacation, or off on an adventure. In fact, when in a foreign city, state, or country unpredictable bumps in the road can seriously affect your travel plan, and your wallet. Travel insurance is the best way to combat the damages those incidents can have on your bank account, and on our stress levels.
So, is travel insurance necessary? We’re going to say yes, if you can afford it you should purchase it before you leave. If you can not, don’t let that stop you from traveling.
Anyway, why don’t you be the judge?
Here are the reason we think travel insurance is necessary.
Travel Insurance for Accidents and Injury
When we travel we participate in activities we normally wouldn’t in our daily lives. In our own travels, we have been skydiving, kayaked beneath limestone cliffs, hiked up active volcanoes in Guatemala, rode motorbikes in Asia, snorkeled in Panama, and surfed in Nicaragua. Luckily, we haven’t had any major mishaps (unless you count being chased by a wild boar while hiking in Spain) but risk was still involved with each of these activities.
We can’t tell you how many travelers we saw in Asia walking around with bandaged cuts and scrapes because of motorbike injuries. In fact, Michael came across a badly injured German guy late one night in Pai and a few girls we were traveling with in Vietnam were in a fairly serious crash that landed them in the hospital. So, we know just how serious things can get when you are in an accident while traveling.
The reality is that although it doesn’t happen often, we are fragile creatures and can get into accidents when traveling. Dealing with visits to the hospital or a doctor, or emergency evacuations are much less painful if you have travel insurance.
Travel Insurance for Illness
Being sick sucks. Being sick when you travel is even worse. You can’t call your doctor to make an appointment, sometimes you can’t buy over the counter medications you normally could at home, and you can’t count on your mom to make you a pot of soup to ease your ailments.
Whether it’s food poisoning in Thailand, an unexpected fungal infection in Costa Rica, scabies in Mexico, or a dental emergency in London, doctor or hospital bills to treat these illnesses can be very expensive. Having to stress out about the cost incurred because you don’t have travel insurance will only make things much, much worse.
Travel Insurance to Cover Theft or Loss of Property
Airlines lose luggage all the time. Having electronics stolen on long bus rides in South America is not uncommon. Barcelona is known for high rates of pick pocketing.
When we travel, we tend to carry valuable items with us, and every once in a while those items are damaged or stolen. Most travel insurance policies cover such incidents. So if you have insurance, a stolen phone, lost bag, or broken camera will be easier to cope with since you know you’ll be reimbursed.
Travel Insurance for Trip Delays
It’s the trip of a lifetime. You’ve been waiting to eat a croissant under the the Eiffel Tower since you were a kid. By tomorrow you’ll be checking in to your hotel that’s located a few blocks from Louvre. Suddenly your dream come true turns into a nightmare and you’re appendix decides it is a good time to burst. There’s no way you’ll make your flight and Notre Dame will have to wait. Thankfully you answered yes to the question “Is Travel Insurance Necessary?”.
No one wants to have to change their travel plans but sometimes it is necessary. Re-booking flights and hotel rooms at the last minute can come at a hefty price. With travel insurance, any costs incurred for trip delays because of serious injury or natural disasters are usually reimbursed.
Travel Insurance and Death
We apologize for bringing up such a bleak subject and we promise, we aren’t trying to be morbid. To be perfectly frank though, no one knows when the Grimm Reaper is going to show up at our doorstep. Every once in a while (probably when he’s in a really bad mood because the Starbucks barista screwed up his name for the millionth time) he pays a visit when we’re on vacation.
If you’re unfortunate to meet your maker while in Bali, for example, and your family has to ship your body back home to say their final goodbyes, the financial burden will be considerable. However, most travel incurable policies include a death or dismemberment clause, so you’re family’s burden won’t be as great if you have it.
How to Get Travel Insurance?
If you are planning to buy travel insurance we (and Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, National Geographic Adventures) highly recommend WorldNomads. They cover emergency overseas medical treatment, evacuation transportation, trip cancellation, death and dismemberment, and lost or stolen items. We’ve met several travelers on the road who experienced medical mishaps and had overseas travel insurance with WorldNomads. Every single one was thrilled with the coverage, customer service, and reimbursement process.
So, if you’ve decided travel insurance is necessary for your next trip, you can get a quote (it takes less than a minute) and full details on what they cover here.
What do you think? Is travel insurance necessary? Give us your opinion in the comments below.
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