Planning and preparing for an overseas adventure can be an exciting but daunting task.
Especially when you consider the technical side of things like the vaccination requirements, what currency you need and the necessity and importance of insurance.
Why travel insurance is necessary
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Trust me. I know; we have been there, done that.
It took us a while to decide whether or not we would take out travel insurance.
But believe me, it was worth it; considering the mistakes & events that have unfolded for us.
We can tell you first hand that the importance of travel insurance is really underestimated by a lot of travellers.
Before you jump right in, a few things to ask yourself firstly.
- Where are you going?
- How long are you going for?
- Are their major safety concerns for your destination?
- Do you have pre-existing medical conditions?
- How much money have you saved for the trip?
- Can you afford not to get insurance?
The answers to these questions will help you better choose the best level of cover.
How does Travel insurance work?
Travel insurance protects you from unforeseen circumstances that you may or may not have anticipated and may not be able to afford whilst on your trip.
It gives you peace of mind that if things go wrong, you are financially protected and able to either cover the cost of losses, damages or medical events.
A little cheat sheet for you..
Premium: The cost for taking out a policy with a particular company
Claim: If something bad happens, you notify your Insurer and they start the process of getting details, and your money back
Excess: what you pay when you make a claim with your policy provider
Insurance Policy: A document provided to you by your Insurance company that shows your Policy number, details of both parties covered, their company LLC information & any phone numbers used to contact them in case of Emergency
Where can I purchase travel insurance?
This will easily take the most time out of your research, but will easily demonstrate the importance of insurance and the options that policies include.
We purchased our insurance through World Nomads
They gave us everything we needed in standard cover and the claim making process was super easy!
We have previously used companies like Bupa and Travel Insurance Direct, both are great options but you need to decide what is right for you.
We have also heard great things from companies like 1cover for Australians. They offer a super high coverage rate for personal electronic equipment like cameras and laptops that can sometimes be really hard to ignore.
Our personal experience
Within the first two weeks of Laura and I driving through Chile down to the Patagonian region we were taking a bus across the two countries; Chile to Argentina.
At the end of a 27 hour bus ride, we arrived at our air bnb to discover the following morning our Passports were no longer with us.
Just like that.
Most likely stolen from our bags whilst we slept overnight.
Less than 2 weeks into a 10 month journey and the most important documents we carried with us were gone in the blink of an eye.
What happened next in order to replace them was nothing short of a nightmare.
But it all would have been very costly, and very expensive had we not taken out travel insurance, which covered basically everything.
2 Emergency Passports = $360 AUD
Flights to Capital cities = $300 AUD
Accommodation = $500AUD
Full replacement of passports – $500 AUD
Total $1440 Saved
That’s how much travel insurance covered for the whole dilemma. A very expensive endeavour when you’re a budget backpacker.
The importance of travel insurance
Murphy’s Law states that ‘“anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”…This is not a bad principle to adopt when it comes to deciding on Insurance.
If you plan on renting a car, the importance of travel insurance cannot be underestimated.
Most rental car companies can charge an excess of $5000, but may not cover you beyond that.
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If a rock flicks up and cracks the windscreen, or a tyre blows out the costs can quickly escalate.
Without cover you may find yourself 100% liable for the replacement costs of the car so this is a winner.
We recently completed a month long road trip through South Australia and came up against this very dilemma with a van rental company.
We decided to choose the most expensive insurance cover based on the principle that we were not able to afford the costs associated with replacing a vehicle, so the importance of insurance became very apparent when you do the sums and calculate your potential costs!
What if I’m already travelling and want to take out insurance mid trip?
I would highly recommend you don’t find yourself in this situation, but if you do there are companies out there that can and will provide retrospective cover after the commencement of your travels.
World Nomads offer this very option if you change your mind after you leave and decided you want to be covered.
In our opinion you will most likely come across many a traveller who have a story or two to tell about their horrible experiences with airlines, luggage or being robbed by someone.
The importance of insurance will become no more clear than at these points when you thank your lucky stars that you can travel with peace of mind knowing someone has your back.
My policy doesn’t cover everything, so why do I need travel insurance?
Some insurance policies will limit the extent to what they cover, and under what circumstances.
There may be limits of the cover they provide, and as such will use obscure and hard to understand language that you will never comprehend.
The main things you want to ensure you’re covered for are:
- Personal Liability – if you injure someone else, you’re covered
- Emergency Medical Cover (incl.hospital treatment etc)
- Accident or Injury (up to 2.5mil or unlimited if possible))
- Accidental Death – death to you resulting from someone else
- Luggage and personal belongings cover – stolen or misplaced luggage, particular off buses, luggage conveyor belts in airports etc
I’ve purchased my cover, what do I do now?
Something really important that I feel gets overlooked in the insurance process is being prepared for when things go horribly wrong.
And by that I mean, making sure you make multiple copies of EVERYTHING!
Make multiple copies & laminate them.
Make copies of your
- Passport Bio page (the page with all your information on it)
- Proof of Insurance document
- Travel Vaccination records (to prove to border control in case of theft)
- Passport photos, lots! (Embassies will require you to get fresh photos taken and signed by them, but it’s always handy to have spares)
- Anything else that’s valuable to you, make copies and store them separately.
- On a side note, if you are carrying valuable camera gear with you, take photos of everything you own. (Some insurance companies will ask for either proof of purchase or proof of ownership; and since most of what I own is second hand, the only evidence I had was proof of ownership. A simple photo on your iPhone maybe with your ID next to it will suffice)
I’m a budget backpacker, I choose to travel careless and free
That’s great. But Guava leaves can’t get you your passport back, so unless you’re jacked with money and time, the safest and wisest decision you could make is to take out insurance.
Is travel insurance necessary for long periods of travel?
This can get complicated, as many Insurance companies will require a return date.
Similarly, certain airlines will also require that you show proof of onward travel before boarding a flight.
To demonstrate the importance of insurance and how you can let it help you travel longer, this is a quick example of how it helped us.
When booking our flights, we pre-booked a return flight home.
Because the date of return to Australia was longer than 11 months, all airlines don’t release flight dates before then.
We were personally unable to book flights that left Australia unless we did, and our plan was to pay a change of flight fee when our date came around.
This meant $200 to change the date of our flights. In or eyes, a small price to pay to extend travelling for 6 months longer.
I agree, this isn’t everybody’s cup of tea.
Depending on what your country of origin is will influence this decision greatly. It was our EASIEST option to take.
IF YOU LIKE IT, PIN IT FOR LATER!