28 November 2013
Travel insurance is probably the last thing on your mind when planning your vacation. Big mistake. No matter how well you plan for travelling abroad, you can never prepare enough for accidents and mishaps. When you do decide to get yourself covered, avoid these top ten mistakes in travel insurance.
1. I will not need insurance because I am healthy and will be very careful. Sure you are in the prime of health and a stickler for safety. But, who is to say that the driver behind you on the freeway is not drunk? Can you really prevent yourself from tasting exotic street food that looks tasty and harmless enough? Accidents happen. Sickness can strike when you least expect it. The best thing you can do is be prepared for these eventualities.
2. Any insurance plan will do. There are as many variations in travel insurance coverage as there are different traveller requirements. Make sure that yours will provide coverage for your anticipated needs – medical repatriation and hospital benefits, cancelled or delayed flights, lost baggage – these are just among the myriad of common problems associated with travel.
3. I am covered everywhere. No you are not. Travel insurance policies have area coverage restrictions. Be sure to check whether your destination is covered.
4. I am covered every time. Again, you may not be. Always check the fine print to understand which specific conditions will warrant coverage. For example, certain travel insurance policies will reimburse delays only in excess of 12 hours.
5. I am covered whatever I do. Travel insurance policies have restrictions on the types of activities that can be covered. If you are planning to engage in extreme sports activities, be sure to get insurance coverage for these. Among the biggest mistakes in travel insurance is to assume that accidents from sports activities will be automatically covered.
6. The cheaper the better. Not necessarily. The important thing in choosing your travel insurance is ensuring you get optimal coverage. You may buy a cheap insurance policy and end up paying more just because you don’t have sufficient coverage.
7. All insurance plans pay up the same way. No they don’t. Some travel insurance companies will pay hospitals directly in the event that you need urgent medical attention but some may not. You will have to pay first yourself and seek reimbursement later. Be sure that you understand the pay-out policy so you don’t make the wrong expectations.
8. Single-trip travel insurance is cheaper. Yes but it may not be the most cost-effective. A single-trip travel insurance is great if you are going on a holiday and expect to be back to your country of origin soon. However, if you are frequent traveller abroad, a multi-trip or annual insurance may prove to be cheaper in the long run for you.
9. The best known companies provide the best service. Probably, but popularity does not directly translate to good service. The best thing to do is to check with reliable friends and colleagues which insurance agencies they buy their insurance from. A good travel insurance company will have demonstrated capabilities to respond to emergencies abroad.
10. I have paid for the policy, I am done. No you are not. After you get your policy make sure that you bring a copy with you at all times. Also take note of important emergency contact numbers. Save them on your phone for easy access during emergencies.
Be sure to avoid these common mistakes in cheap travel insurance selection and enjoy stress-free travel.