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7 Questions to Ask Before Buying Travel Insurance
Buying any type of insurance is a two-step process.
- Step 1: Establish what your insurance needs are.
- Step 2: Find an insurance provider who can meet those needs at a fair price.
recommends buying travel insurance immediately after booking a trip. The Australian government ranks travel insurance of equal importance as your passport when traveling - don't leave home without either!
With good insurance, you'll spend less time worrying about what could go wrong and more time taking the perfect selfie atop the Grand Canyon (or wherever your travels take you). Below are some guiding questions to ask during the insuring process.
- Are You Looking To Supplement Existing Insurance with Travel Insurance or Purchase Primary Coverage?
If you already have insurance, collect your $200 and move onto the next bullet point. If not, it means that you are looking to purchase primary coverage when you buy travel insurance.
In some ways, this makes getting insurance a simpler process, since you do not need to search your existing insurance for coverage gaps.
- Is It Worth Getting Travel Insurance?
Yes, yes, and yes! I literally cringe when I hear travelers tell me they are uninsured. That's playing with dangerously loaded dice.
Even if you can't afford health insurance in your own country, don't shut the door to trip insurance. Travel health insurance is generally more reasonably priced than most long-term domestic health plans.
I have spent time injured and ill abroad and I've learned from those experiences to always purchase travel insurance. I would just as soon go on a trip without travel insurance, as I would board a plane without fuel. Even during times of financial funk when I did not have health insurance at home, I made a point to never travel without insurance.
Beyond concern for yourself, when you travel abroad, your people (mothers are the usual suspect) will be concerned for your safety. Trip insurance gives you and them less to worry about.
- Do I Need Travel Insurance If I Already Have Health Insurance?
Even the most far-reaching of health plans does not cover every sort of mishap that can happen on trips - like lost luggage, stolen cameras, projectile monkey poo, etc. While health insurance is a primary concern, there are plenty of secondary concerns that deserve your attention when considering a travel insurance plan.
- Can Travel Insurance Protect Me Against a "Broken Heart?"
Yes. Would the thought of canceling your trip break your heart and shatter your dreams? Then you should probably purchase some trip cancelation/delay coverage.
Are you carrying nothing but a batch of clothes from the thrift store in your suitcase? Then you likely can opt out of insurance for loss or delay of luggage.
The strong case for buying loss or delay coverage is that if your bag goes missing, you get to go shopping on someone else's tab — which also happens to be the dream vacation of a few of my friends.
- What Trip Insurance Should I Get If My Health Insurance Says They Cover Me Abroad?
If you already have a stellar insurance plan that will cover you abroad, write a list of what is not covered that you wish were covered and use that as a starting point to establish prices. When speaking with prospective insurers you can let them know what insurance you already have and also be prepared with the knowledge of what you would like to add to that.
- Will My Travel Insurance Cover Theft?
This is a good question to ask before your camera goes missing. Some insurers do, most don't, and very few cover property losses in excess of $500.
Sometimes, especially in the developing world, it can seem like 50% of your energy is spent on guarding computers and cameras. Trip insurance that insures property is trip insurance that gives peace of mind.
For covering property loss, the first stop should be to see if your homeowner's insurance covers losses of property. Going this route is usually the best value.
- How Many Travel Insurance Companies Should I Look Into Before Buying A Plan?
A good rule of thumb when comparing travel insurance options is to get a second then third opinion. Any less is too few and very many more might mean you have too much time on your hands.
Rather than just comparing prices and plans online, speak to someone on the phone from three different companies. Everyone can look good on the digital screen. Even though we all operate in a point-click-buy-it world, take some time when it comes to your travel health insurance policy. I've been using the same provider for seven years
, because I put in my due diligence and found a company I've been satisfied with.