It’s very easy to overlook this thing called travel insurance when you’re so busy planning your itinerary or looking for the cheapest airfares. A lot of travelers even think it’s just an added expense.
But if you knew just how important it is to have travel insurance coverage whenever you travel, it would be the first thing you’ll buy, too.
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance is insurance coverage that you purchase when you travel to protect you from losses that may arise from injury, illness, or the unexpected.
As much as we want to have the perfect vacation or the most hassle-free business trip every time, there are things that can happen which are beyond our control.
One minute you can be enjoying a sumptuous seafood buffet, and the next minute you can be in the emergency room because you can’t stop throwing up.
Or you can be happily sightseeing on a tour bus, and then a vehicle suddenly barrels into it.
You can even be queuing up at airport immigration and they announce that your flight will be delayed for more than 6 hours.
Travel insurance protects you from a myriad of situations that can prevent you from traveling or from ending it earlier than planned.
How does travel insurance work?
Let’s say you’re going on a 5-day trip to South Korea. On your third day, you slip and fall down the steps of your hotel and have to go to the hospital for emergency treatment.
Without travel insurance, you will pay for all your hospital expenses.
But with travel insurance, you can call the insurance company to notify them and get a guarantee of payment to the hospital.
If there’s a need for hospitalization, medical evacuation, or medical repatriation, the insurance company will also arrange for that.
Travel insurance can also help you with non-medical situations, like baggage loss, trip cancellations, and flight delays.
What’s covered by travel insurance?
It depends on what type of policy you will purchase. Most travel insurance policies provide coverage for trip delays and cancellations, medical emergencies and evacuations, as well as baggage loss, theft, and damage.
Some insurance companies cover expenses when you suddenly need to go home because of an emergency or a natural disaster.
Some offer coverage that will protect you in situations where you accidentally injure someone on your trip.
How much is travel insurance?
Just like life insurance, the cost of travel insurance will depend on your age, what you will be doing on your trip, and where you’re going.
You also need to specify how long you’ll be traveling and if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Most travel insurance packages will be anywhere between 500 PHP to 3,500 PHP for a 4-day to 1-week single trip.
When should you get travel insurance?
You can purchase travel insurance at least 24 hours before your departure date.
But it’s better to buy earlier than later because you risk forgetting the closer you get to your departure date. Ideally, get it 10 to 15 days before your trip.
Some things to consider when buying travel insurance
- Make sure all your travel dates are covered. Sometimes people forget to include the date they actually land in their home country. This can happen when you’re flying over different time zones.
- If you’re traveling to several countries, make sure to include all the countries. .
- Declare your pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies will check your medical records anyway. Failure to declare them can result in your policy getting voided.
- Participating in high-risk activities usually don’t get covered. However, there are some insurance companies who will still provide coverage. Expect to pay a higher premium.
- Get travel insurance that has a higher medical coverage. It’s better to have this in case you end up being hospitalized for a lengthy period. It’s also good to have medical evacuation coverage.
- Your travel insurance should also cover hotel and transportation cancellations.
- Make sure that your travel insurance company can be reached 24/7.
How do you make a claim?
Medical emergencies require you to notify the insurance company as soon as you are able.
For all other non-medical situations, you may file a claim within 30 days of the incident.
Submit proof of loss or other supporting documentations so that your claim will be processed quicker.
Most claims can be done online. Just fill out the claim form and upload the required documents (receipts, police reports, hospital bills, etc.).
So, should you buy travel insurance?
Just ask yourself if you can afford to lose the money you spent for your trip and pay for hospital bills abroad.
If the answer is no, then you should get travel insurance.
There’s no way to know what will happen when you board that plane and travel to a place that’s miles away.
Having a travel protection plan is the responsible thing to do. It will put your mind at ease, and you will be prepared for any bad thing that may happen.
Just make sure to read the fine print before you sign anything. Ask questions if something is confusing to you.
Compare travel insurance packages, and remember to get protection for yourself, your activities for the whole duration of your trip, and your personal belongings.
Have you purchased travel insurance in the past? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!