What is Travel Insurance? And Why You Need It

Travel planning isn’t all about booking flights and hotels, it includes a few boring aspects….one of them being travel insurance.

What is travel insurance you might ask?

Travel insurance is one of those things that you have to have, but hope you’ll never use.

If you’re a traveler that loves to count every penny then travel insurance is probably not high on your list, as you won’t reap any immediate benefit from your purchase…but trust us, you’ll be happy you got it should anything go wrong on your trip! Travel insurance will save you A LOT of pennies when you have to make use of it.

There are different travel insurance options available, some travelers may be happy with a general policy, while others prefer a tailored package provided by companies such as World Nomads.

Various cover options include trip cancelation, luggage protection, emergency medical expenses, and emergency medical transportation.

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What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance includes various types of cover for your travels. Here are the main things that travel insurance includes.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption

This is the most basic coverage and covers most events that would result in you not being able to take your trip.

Examples include but are not limited to: Sickness, Injury, Job Change, and Financial Distress (bankruptcy) to either yourself or any of your travel companions. A good policy may also cover Delays, Terrorism, Political Change, Supplier Cancellations and Natural Disasters.

Single Occupancy Coverage

If you have arranged for double occupancy accommodation and your partner cancels or has to change their plans, you can get the required “upgrade” covered by insurance.

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Trip Delay / Missed Connection

Any delay that is out of your control can entitle you to compensation.

This coverage can provide access to local legal experts in the event you get caught in any legal misunderstandings.

Accident / Medical Expense

Any procedures or treatment performed during your trip or potentially as a direct result of an event that occurs on your trip. This segment of coverage can sometimes include a minor amount of Dental care as well.

Note that SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance now includes cover for Covid-19. As with any other illness on the cover, all medical expenses will be covered – as long as you didn’t contract the virus before taking out the insurance.

 Testing for COVID-19 will only be covered if deemed medically necessary by a physician. The antibody test is not covered, as it is not medically necessary.

Some Medical plans will continue your coverage while you are traveling abroad so the Accident/Medical Coverage, Emergency Evacuation, and/or AD&D coverage may even be redundant for some travelers.

However, the medical coverage you get from a travel insurer can be of much better quality, and can put you as a traveler at a lower risk of having to pay up-front for exorbitant medical fees before being reimbursed.

Pet Coverage

If you are bringing your pet (this is generally restricted to a cat or dog) they can be covered for emergency medical expenses.

Emergency Evacuation

This coverage is necessary for trips where you may not be near medical facilities and you may need transport like a helicopter or express train to get to a proper medical facility.

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Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

If an event causes the loss of any body part (dismemberment), you can be compensated according to standard fee schedules. The other portion of coverage is self-explanatory.

Baggage Coverage

If your baggage is lost or delayed, you can get reimbursed for necessities as well as clothing and other personal effects.  Some plans will cover items that include laptops and electronic devices.

Our recommendation is to ensure that you at minimum purchase Trip Cancellation/Delay coverage since that covers any major trip changes.

Additional coverages should be subscribed at the travelers discretion.

Questions to ask oneself before deciding on coverage include:

  • Is my time away flexible or do I have a strict schedule?
  • Does my plane ticket guarantee I make it to my destination? (i.e. Budget carries like Ryanair do not)
  • What is the airline policy on lost/delayed baggage?
  • Will I be in an urban setting or will I be far away from civilization? (Evacuation potential)
  • Does my home country and the country I’m visiting have a strong relationship? (Legal Assistance)
  • Who will I be traveling with? Is my traveling partner a potential flake that may end up costing me money?
  • Do I need specific insurance, like volunteer abroad travel insurance.

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5 Reasons why you need travel insurance

1. Emergency medical care

You never know when you could get sick or injured while on a trip. This is especially important if you are taking part in adventurous activities like hiking, snowboarding, surfing, or scuba diving.

With travel medical coverage, you won’t be paying a huge medical bill. You’ll also have assistance services –  in your own language – to locate a suitable medical facility and arrange transportation.

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2. Luggage protection

You never know when you’re luggage will get lost on the plane, get stolen while traveling on local buses/trains etc., or get damaged while in transit. This includes not only your clothes in your suitcase but your precious equipment such as camera, laptop, cell phone etc.

If your luggage is delayed, travel insurance will reimburse you for each day you are without it, and if it’s stolen you’ll be covered to be able to replace your items.

3. Cover if your trip gets canceled

There could be a number of reasons why you have to suddenly cancel a trip — illness, family emergencies, work responsibilities, or another emergency comes up and you can no longer go. You never know what life is going to throw at you.

With trip cancelation coverage, you’ll be able to recover your expenses for these covered reasons and more.

4. You miss your connection or your flight is canceled

If you are traveling a route that requires more than one flight and you happen to miss your connection for whatever reasons, many travel insurance policies will cover you for those missed connections. The same goes for if your flight is canceled.

5. Adventure and sports coverage

If you are planning on doing any adventurous activities or participate in any sports, this cover will be extremely important for you. World Nomads covers a number of different activities including those in the snow, water, air, on land, and a variety of sports.

Whether your scuba gear gets stolen or you get injured while windsurfing, you’ll be covered.

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