Traveling Alone? Is Travel Insurance Worth It?
Whenever I travel, two major decisions always cross my mind before reserving a trip; the means of travel, and where I will be staying. These two factors influence if I should consider buying travel insurance. However, purchasing travel insurance has, on most occasions, come in handy to cover my non-refundable travel costs.
Main Parts of Travel Insurance
When taking a travel insurance cover, I keenly check any exclusions, limits, and restrictions therein. Travel insurance is a legal document created by lawyers. Thus, it takes time to read the fine print and the description of coverage. This helps me to scrutinize the policy wording and ask questions on anything that I don’t understand. The following is an explanation of what each part entails.
Medical Emergencies and Evaluation
A medical emergency is one of the main reasons why I commit myself to a travel policy when going alone. Medical costs are high, and in some parts of the world like the USA, they can reach $10,000 daily, depending on the ailment. In such instances, medical evacuation (emergency home for treatment) can reach $100,000. Therefore, I keenly read this part in detail while considering limits on medical expenses, cover for emergency dental operations, and evacuation. I also underline the general exclusions.
I’m aware that travel insurance won’t cover my liability when I’m driving my car. However, if I’m involved in an accident or held accountable for the damage that I accidentally cause, then I won’t panic as the insurance will cover my liability and legal expenses. Since not every insurance company offers this type of cover, I always read the policy wording to be sure.
Baggage and Personal Belongings
Although the loss of my personal belongings is among the main reasons why I purchase travel cover, it’s not among the most important. Whereas I can replace lost luggage, my health is irreplaceable. I take great caution when moving around with my belongings since I know that an insurance company can decline to honor my claim if I leave my laptop in a shared room, in a restaurant, or in my car overnight, and it’s stolen.
However, some policies cover valuables, such as cameras and laptops. I just need to specify the kind of items that I’m carrying to insure their higher value. When taking such cover, I check both the description of coverage as well as the policy benefits to understand the limits of the specified cover and exclusions regarding sporting equipment, higher value items, and cash.
There are situations where I suddenly find that I can’t proceed with my trip due to unforeseen circumstances like the death of a close relative, an accident, or illness. Travel insurance thus comes in handy in covering the costs that I might bear. The most crucial thing with this cover is that for me to benefit from it, I have to buy the travel cover when I start booking tickets and not a week before I depart.
Not all travel insurance can cover cancellation. Some are limited to pre-booked costs that are non-refundable if the trip is interrupted after I leave my home. Yet again, I carefully go through the policy wordings to understand every aspect.
Returning Home Early and Resuming My Trip
Usually, travel insurance lapses after I reach home. This means that if I have bought travel insurance to cover the whole year, and I come back home after five months, then I don’t stand to get a refund on the ‘unutilized’ portion. However, some insurers have policies that will allow me to resume my trip using the same cover.
I thus take time to peruse through the cover description, underlining the clauses for the period of cover paying attention to curtailment or interruption of the trip. The policy must spell out the conditions under which I’m covered for expenses should I return home earlier than the scheduled date.
When Should I Buy Travel Insurance?
Through my past trips, I have identified several factors that I should consider when buying travel insurance. They are likely to help me in avoiding unnecessary expenditures. They include but not limited to, the following.
Flexibility of Reimbursement Policies
Generally, travel insurance has lighter refund regulations than other covers. Nevertheless, I’m still required to give supporting papers. This is because the minimal cost of purchasing travel insurance is worth every penny paid out.
The essence of insurance cover is to offer protection against the vulnerable. I might thus be covered when an unforeseen event occurs. As such, I have to weigh the chances of going on the trip. If it’s 50-50, I will most likely consider skipping it altogether. Whereas the travel cover might refund my purchases, sometimes I may not just be willing to take the chance.
If My Non-Refundable Travel Expenses Exceed Credit Card Benefits
If my credit card can reimburse up to $6,000 of the non-refundable costs, yet the trip costs more than that, then I can buy that travel insurance. Besides the supplemental coverage, I can also get a lucrative reimbursement for the purchases that my credit card can’t meet.
Supplementing Benefits That Come With My Credit Card Trip Protection
Some credit cards have complimentary trip protection benefits, which I can’t afford to miss out on. Such benefits include damage waiver protection on rental cars, expenses related to incidental delays, and non-refundable travel purchases. Beyond the trip protection benefits, I also consider travel insurance that covers terrorism, extreme sports, and pre-existing conditions.
Times That I Shouldn’t Buy Travel Insurance
There are instances when travel insurance fails to offer much-anticipated peace of mind. If I sense that the cover will give me trouble, then I do not buy it. Some of the scenarios that I consider include the following:
Waiting for Too Long
The lucrative insurance prices are usually available for bookings within 15 days. After that, the premiums are high, or the policies are reduced. My trip circumstances might change after I reserve my trip, but before I secure a travel cover. This can put me in an unfavorable position that might jeopardize my claim eligibility. The probability of it occurring is slim, but it might still happen.
Suppose a hurricane takes place after booking my trip, but before I acquire a travel policy, then definitely I’m too late. I’m thus better off with an early booking before a natural calamity that is public knowledge strikes.
The Cost of the Trip Is Relatively Low
If I’m going to visit a relative who stays about five miles away, then I don’t think I need to travel insurance. On such a trip, I might incur expenses totaling to a few hundred non-refundable dollars. Thus, I wouldn’t want to buy expensive travel insurance whose cost is more costly than the potential payout. Travel insurance offers a refund only if the travel agency/provider doesn’t do so. Therefore, a carrier might reimburse me or offer credit if my only expenses are plane tickets and accommodation.