Contrary to what you may think, or what some people may insist, everyone needs to travel insured. However, this doesn’t mean you need to buy the most expensive policy with a host of unnecessary bells and whistles.
You definitely need to make sure you travel insured in the sense of these major areas: medical coverage, emergency repatriation, trip cancellation, baggage and other property losses and, of course, accidental death. Answer these three questions and you can be certain you will be buying the policy you need – nothing less and nothing more.
What’s Included In Your Credit Card Benefits?
Many credit cards these days come with free insurance policies that at the very least cover you for accidental death and dismemberment. If your card comes with one of those policies, pay particular attention to whether coverage includes accidents overseas.
If you purchase your plane tickets and/or accommodations with your credit card, chances are that it may come with insurance (or option to purchase insurance at a discount). These can include emergency medical coverage and trip cancellation. What’s more some credit cards insure replacement for high-end purchases, so if you’ve bought luggage, gadgets and other items to take on your trip with your credit card, you can be sure you can travel insured in case of their loss. A caveat though: these kinds of policies will never be comprehensive enough to use as your only form of protection while abroad.
What’s In Your Existing Policies?
Check your existing household or life policies to see if your current plan includes coverage for travelling overseas – there’s a chance that your policy covers some aspects of international trips. For instance, some plans include treatment through a worldwide network of doctors, but don’t usually cover international travel. Citizens of the UK and EEA member countries also have access to what’s called the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that is valid in the UK, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, although they are careful to state that they are not a strict replacement for travel insurance. It doesn’t include emergency rescue, repatriation or private medical costs, so you will need to supplement it.
Your car and homeowners insurance plans can also offer some help against losses through theft or car accidents, so you may also want to check what’s included in your policies.
What Activities Are You Planning?
Even when you think you’re fully covered, you may be not be protected against the cost of injuries if you’ve acquired them in the course of extreme sports or other risky activities. As well, some medical policies are void if you are known to have been drinking. If you plan on doing any extreme activities or sports, purchase an upgrade or additional coverage.
If you want to be sure you are going to travel insured against every eventuality, it helps to take stock of what you already have to ensure you don’t duplicate. Make sure you review your existing cover and consider your plans to avoid unnecessary expense.