Many travelers opt to purchase travel insurance to protect themselves and their belongings while they’re on holiday. Apart from potentially minimizing their financial risks, it also gives them the peace of mind. As this is the case, insurance companies provide one too many options for travelers of all kinds. Truth is, there is no-one-size-fits all approach in selecting the best travel insurance, as different people have different travel itineraries and different needs.
Whether you plan to get a basic travel insurance coverage or select one that only caters to emergency cases or flight delays, these tips below will help you get the biggest bang for your buck:
- Determine what kind of investment you need to protect
As there are hundreds of different insurance plans available in the market, it is important to have protection for the activities that will potentially set you back financially if things don’t go smoothly. Will you be doing extreme sports in a country that doesn’t honor your existing medical insurance? Will you be bringing costly or valuable items with you? Are you going on a multi-destination trip? Will you be renting cars? Asking these questions can help you determine which travel insurance plan will suit you most. For instance, if you are going to visit multiple destinations, you will want insurance that covers flight cancellations, delays or interruptions. Say you got food poisoning and won’t be able to make it to your flight, pick an insurance that can cover for your airfares and your non-refundable hotel reservations.
- Compare the different insurance policies being sold in the market
Now that you have determined which investments you need to protect the most, compare different insurance policies before making a purchase. There are several comparison websites online that can easily aide you in making this decision. Normally, you can customize your plan for your itinerary but different companies have different parameters in terms of the amount to cover. Make sure you are comfortable with the amount stated; otherwise, continue looking for other options or choose to speak with a representative of the company that offers a plan that most resembles what you have in mind. It is best to be deliberate about your decision, as travel insurance does not come cheap.
- Be wary of the asterisks
It is important to read the full coverage policies of your insurance plan options. Doing so allows you to fully understand what is covered and what is not. Even if you trust the insurance agent, it’s a big mistake to make assumptions solely based on your conversation. Know that their job is to woo you and sell their products. Yours is to read carefully what you’re entitled for and be mindful of the asterisks that might put you in uncompromising situations.
- Purchase travel insurance as soon as you can
When purchasing your travel insurance, the earlier the better. Although you can withhold purchasing travel insurance for until the day before your departure, purchasing it early ensures your coverage even more. This will be most helpful in cases when you accidentally need to cancel or shorten your trip due to conflicting business priorities. It can also be beneficial in the event that your airline or hotel chain files for bankruptcy. While it is rather unlikely, it helps to know that you’re getting your money back.
- Make sure the insurance company you choose is independent from your tour operator
Many cruise lines and tour operators offer insurance plans that are cheaper than the ones offered by independent insurance companies. Although this seems like it’s a bargain, it actually isn’t in the event that the cruise line goes out of business or goes bankrupt. Again, while it is highly unlikely that this will happen, it helps to know that you’re not losing any money at any point of your trip.
Yet, not all trips call for the need to purchase travel insurance. Especially if you’re flying with a low-budget airline or toting a cheap overused suitcase, it helps to save the money in your bank. Here are some situations that require travel insurance:
- For trips that cost more than $5000
While there are a lot of last-minute domestic flight deals that are dirt cheap, traveling from one continent to another remains expensive. In the event that your flight gets cancelled or your lay-over has been rearranged, having insurance will allow you to recover the cost.
- If you are bringing valuable and costly items with you
Millions of suitcases get lost, stolen or damaged while in transit. As this is the case, purchasing travel insurance can help ensure you don’t lose valuable items along the way. Especially if you’re bringing costly items such as golf sets or skis with you, it’s worth the few hundred dollars.
- If extreme sports and other adventure sports are part of your itinerary
Even if you are the kind of traveler that abides by all the safety precautions your bungee jumping guru is teaching you, sometimes accidents happen. In this case, you will want to be insured. Before purchasing your travel insurance, make sure that the medical insurance you currently have doesn’t cover you for the destination you’re going to. If it does, you may not need to purchase a travel insurance concentrating on its medical coverage.
- If your itinerary has a lot of moving parts
If you plan on hitting several countries within a single vacation, having insurance will be most helpful. If one part doesn’t go as planned, having insurance can make sure that this doesn’t result to a domino effect. If you lose your luggage in the middle of the trip, your insurance can easily help you with that.
With these tips in mind, finding the best travel insurance for you will surely be a piece of cake. Yes, it will require a lot of homework before your trip, but it gives you enough peace of mind that all you have to worry about when you get on that plane is how to make the trip as memorable as you can make it!