Travel insurance is actually a very dicey topic to discuss. Travelers usually do not have the habit of buying it. Budget travelers will usually always avoid buying it. However, from experience, I have known that its a must have protection as it can save you from a lot of trouble. Some countries have also started asking mandatory travel insurance to travel to their country.
Even I had a couple of unfortunate accidents during my travels none of which were due to my mistake. That’s when I realized the benefits of having one. I have never claimed one till now and hopefully never will want to, but I have learned from mine as well as others experiences how important it really is.
Read the instructions explained below for choosing the right one. Do read carefully.
- There are several online portals where you can buy travel insurance now. You can even go to individual company websites and also check the same.
- I prefer to go to online portals as there I can easily compare a bunch of them on one page. It makes life easy for choosing one.
- Call the website customer service and ask them which is the best one to buy. They usually give some recommendations and you should note them. You can 2-3 insurance portals and check what they recommend and why.
- Then chk with travel agents as well. You can also then callup and check with individual companies and look for discounts.
- This way you will know who gives the best discounts.
- Make notes on a paper so that you are not lost in all the information you read or hear. This is important as it can all get really confusing in no time.
- Check the fine print in detail. Coz e.g. baggage loss amount reimbursement can change as per conditions.
- The rule is to always take more cover than you need. This will cost only a few hundred more but u will be very safe.
- During my travels, I normally take adventures rides and stuff. It is not just risky but it can be a serious risk to life and limb as well. So I normally insure for 100,000 USD. I insure for a large amount because, in case of any serious issue you have to be evacuated, the amount of you will have to spend will be a couple of lakhs.
- How much amount to ensure will be up to you and is an individual perspective. It completely depends on your budget and duration of stay.
- You have to take into account the budget for Small and big accidents. Small accidents can include incidents like loss of passport, your travel documents, your credit/debit cards, your money, valuables lost or stolen. This can also include baggage lost by airline or delay in airline service or flights. Small Accidents can are also wherein you may have to get medically treated, bandaged and check-in to a clinic with over several visits. This can easily cost you between 200-500 dollars in a foreign country.
- Large accidents are those that involve temporary disability like damage or fracture or other severe incidents etc. You can be hospitalized for days or weeks all the while being kept under observation. During my travels, I have frequently seen people getting knocked down by vehicles or getting drunk and having a fall. This is not really their mistake, but then again they have to pay for the costs. Also, some of my friends got severely bit by mosquitoes, bugs, insects, snakes or even jellyfish in the sea. All of these can be severe and require adequate medical care.
- Always choose an insurance that gives out cash/ currency in hand and does not expect you to spend your own money and reimburse later. Cash is king.
- More importantly, choose one which has a local DSA operating in that country. This means they have a local contact which services your insurance claim there itself and handles your case.
- You must save the helpline number and email of the insurance companies where you can call in case of an emergency.
- The insurance is valid from the moment you board your flight till the time you land. So you will have to provide your exact travel dates. However, I have seen a few companies will let you extend the travel insurance by a few days if your trip extends by a few days. You will have to pay some amount, but it is really worth it.
- You also have the option to buy insurance for a longer duration, like for a year, which in you can cover several travels. This is even cheaper and I had used this option in the last 92 day trip to SE Asia.
Be safe and have fun.. Cheers and Happy Travels.