11 December 2013
Unfortunately, many people learn the importance of travel insurance the hard way. Compared with all the preparations required for travel abroad, signing up for a travel insurance policy is easily overlooked. Before you finish packing take time to note the following important lessons about buying travel insurance.
Whether you are travelling for three days or three months, travel insurance is very important. Accidents can happen in seconds. Weather can delay flights without warning. You can lose your baggage on short flights or long haul trips. Young or old, nobody is completely immune to illnesses especially when you are travelling to a different time zone with drastically different climate patterns. Everyone who travels need insurance against an accident or illness ocuring.
Travel insurance policies may look very similar at first glance but there can be vast differences when you look through the fine print. Claims pay-out mechanisms, for example, can vary greatly. Some will pay hospitals and medical facilities directly when you get confined for sickness but some offer reimbursement arrangements only which means you will need to shell out cash first and file a claim later. With medical benefits, read through the restrictions against pre-existing conditions. You would not want to find yourself arguing with your insurer while you are having a severe asthma attack in a foreign hospital.
Remember that your understanding of certain conditions may be drastically different from that of the insurer. To you, a skiing holiday is just that – a perfectly benign holiday. However, insurers may consider skiing an extreme sport which requires a separate, extended coverage. If you plan to do some physical activity, always check with your insurer first to make sure you are fully covered.
It is easy to fall into a “find me the cheapest” attitude when buying travel insurance. However, you need to remember that buying a cheap policy now can prove to be more costly especially if you do not have the right coverage for your travel need. When choosing a travel insurance plan, start by making an assessment of your needs. Are you travelling on a single return trip or do you plan to fly in and out more frequently? Are you participating in sports events? Are you bringing expensive equipment and luggage with you? These are just a few of the things you need to ask yourself before you begin searching for the right travel insurance policy.
Quiet often, people buying travel insurance place their policy in a drawer somewhere and forget about the documents altogether. Big mistake. Your insurer will always require you to provide important details of your policy when making a claim or even when simply requesting for information. Details like your policy number, coverage types, and names of dependents are very important pieces of information that you should be able to immediately provide to enable your insurer to process your requests. To be sure, it is sensible to make a copy of your policy and keep this available while on travel.