You must have heard these questions asked often enough to wonder if you are missing on something pretty important, if you are not buying yet: “Won’t you buy a travel insurance?” or “Never leave home without travel insurance.”
It is true that travel insurance is an added cost to your travel expenses. Many seasoned travellers who grew tired of repeatedly paying for one, but never had the chance to use it, may have given up on it already. There are, however, travellers who still believe that there is no such thing as being too safe these days with Ebola, al Qaeda, ISIS and perennial risks hounding adventurers.
If you are wondering which wisdom must you embrace, why not take time to read Travel insurance: Buy or Pass By? written by George Hobica and published in New York Post – Travel Section. It shares some valuable tips when buying travel insurance:
Never buy travel insurance from your airline, tour operator or cruise line. The policies are weak (for example, pre-existing medical conditions are usually not covered) compared to what you can get directly from a travel insurance specialist like AIG Travel Guard.
… Many experts advise that you only insure a trip that’s of such high value that losing your investment would cause financial hardship (a $3,000 cruise, perhaps, but not a $150 flight to Chicago).
… Your credit card might already cover you for trip cancelation caused by injury or illness. Chase credit cards are especially comprehensive, with coverage up to $10,000 coverage per trip,…
… If you’re on Medicaid or basic Medicare, you won’t be covered for medical expenses outside the U.S., so consider travel insurance that includes emergency medical expenses.
If you have health insurance, call your provider before taking a trip outside the U.S. to make sure any emergency medical expenses are covered …
If you travel a lot, consider an annual health insurance plan that covers you when you’re overseas…
Are you an adventurer who’s worried more about getting “emergency medical evacuation coverage?” For instance you incurred broken bones after a skiing accident or climbing accident, who would rescue you from the peaks of the Himalayas or from the deep forests of the Amazon? Certain companies such as MedjetAssist or Airmed would. Medical flights that would come to your rescue can cost you a hundred thousand dollars… can you afford it?
There are many travellers who skip travel insurance, just like Tony Levene who boasts, “I’m proudly one of those people who eschews travel insurance … with limited exceptions.” He explained this in his article “Why I’ll never get travel insurance” posted in The Guardian – Money Section.
I’ve avoided travel insurance – and so far I’ve saved myself £1,000. At each major holiday time – Christmas, Easter, summer or half term – insurers bang out “surveys” to shame us into buying travel policies. Those who don’t sign up, they say, are taking massive risks with both themselves and their families.
I’m – proudly – one of those people who takes the risk. With two exceptions (listed below), I’ve ignored travel insurance for years because it’s a waste of money. My own recent mishaps make the point.
… So when do I buy insurance? I bought cover for a trip to India and for one going from Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia by train, simply because public medical facilities in these countries are less advanced.
You may not be interested in getting covered because you can survive missing a luggage for a few days or is prepared to sleep in the airport benches during cancelled and delayed flights, like Tony Levene. But can you survive an accident in the Himalayas, Amazon rainforests, India or Mongolia and some other remote or those parts of the world where there is constant threat of violent attacks?
If you are an adventurer or you have an underlying medical condition, you should ask yourself if you belong to those categories of travellers who hardly meet a mishap and if you can afford an expensive repatriation or hospitalization in far-flung destinations.
Travel insurance can be expensive especially those types that provide comprehensive coverage to adventurers and those with preexisting medical conditions. These are, however, your best shot if you want repatriated or get a medical coverage when there is a high probability of using it. Among these types of travelers, it is practical and smart to buy and not just to pass by travel insurance.