What you need to know about travel insurance and claims

posted by Chris Valentine
What you need to know about travel insurance and claims can save you a big bill halfway around the world

Photo by CC user United States Navy on Wikimedia Commons

No matter what people say (travel-worn or otherwise) travel insurance remains one of the most important things to buy for your travels – regardless of how long you’re going away or where you’re going to.

If you’ve already visited several websites before stumbling on this article, you may have seen a couple of wild claims about the redundancy of travel insurance and the supposed difficulty in submitting travel insurance claims. There are a lot of misconceptions about travel insurance, that’s for sure. And, judging by these misperceptions people have with it, no wonder you are hesitant as well.

I always get travel insurance when I travel. For a small cost (yes! Considering the benefits) I get multiple insurance/protection. You want to protect yourself against the unforeseen. Here’s what you really need to know about travel insurance and claims.

First off, what in the world is a travel insurance? In a nutshell, it’s an emergency care when bad things happen during your travel. Depending on the policy you bought, it can protect you when your luggage is lost by the airline when you sustained an injury while doing an activity, get parasite overseas, or have to cut or cancel your trip short because of a sudden death of a loved one. It isn’t a health insurance substitute, nor is it an open checkbook to supplement your trip expenses, or a license to be reckless.

Is travel insurance only for health concerns? It’s much more than that. Most travel insurances comprise a medical component for sudden illnesses and even accidental injuries, it can also cover trip interruptions, cancellation, theft or loss of your gear, and emergency transportation should you require one to get to a hospital.

I have a credit card that offers protection, isn’t it enough? In most cases, no. Even the best credit cards offer very limited protection. Others offer coverage for stolen or lost items, trip cancellation and medical expenses if you booked the trip with the card, but they may not cover you being airlifted home (you should check to assess the extent of the policy just to be sure). And if they do cover something, it’ll be too low that you’d be shocked when paying the difference.

How does travel insurance really work? If you have a major medical emergency that needs overnight hospitalization, then you or someone else needs to contact the emergency assistance team and they’ll help you make arrangements and approve any cost. For other stations, including hospital admissions, submitting travel insurance claims and being reimbursed is an upfront process. Just be sure to keep all documentation, file all necessary reports, and save all receipts. Companies won’t reimburse based on words alone.

Why do online reviews mark most travel insurance company as “bad”? Most people don’t bother reading the fine print of their policy? (Who has ever read Spotify’s terms and conditions? Exactly.) People just buy things, and don’t read the exact wording, and make their own assumptions about coverage. Therefore, when things go wrong, as they sometimes can, they scream bloody murder when something isn’t covered – thus the bad marks. Our best advice? Take online user reviews of travel insurance companies with a grain of salt since most of them can be answered with “you didn’t read the policy!”

As a responsible traveler, always be prepared. You’ll thank us later.

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