Travel insurance can be a confusing part of travel. Is it expensive? Is it necessary? These are a few of the million dollar questions everyone asks. Search online whether you need it or not and you will get multiple yes and no’s and numerous insurance companies trying to lure you into their grasps. With 80 countries explored and ten years of travel experience, Uncharted Backpacker can give you an honest opinion on whether or not Travel Insurance is really necessary!
What is Travel Insurance?
Long gone are the days where you could just hop on a plane and go. With a fast-changing confusing world, there are many questions to be asked. One of the most important of these questions is: What do I do if I get hurt traveling?
There is no way around it, traveling will put you at all kinds of risk. Your life will be put in the hands of a taxi driver who drives a 100km an hour through traffic, that cute baby elephant in Thailand might have an angry mother, or you may stumble down the wrong back alley only to encounter some questionable looking characters. The lesson is, things can happen, especially when you least expect them to.
Luckily for us, travel insurance is available. But, what exactly is travel insurance? Travel insurance is your guaranteed safety net that is ready to back you up when you get in trouble. For the most part, travel health insurance will completely cover you in all forms of accidents that can happen abroad!
For example, travel insurance covers:
- Injuries and Hospital Visits
- Medical Evacuations
- Baggage/Property Theft Claims
- Trip Cancelation
- Prescriptions from Hospitals
Why I choose to Buy Travel Insurance
As the Uncharted Backpacker, I have been in plenty of situations where travel insurance has come in handy. I’ve had an Australian motor biker hit me head on in India, got kicked by a horse in India, and contracted Rubella/ Tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea.
After these mishaps and countless others, here I am! Alive and well. When you travel to these kinds of places, especially if you do the amount of traveling that I do, travel insurance is essential. Without travel Insurance, all those visits to the hospital could have been very expensive, and the experiences may have been made worse than they were to begin with.
I tend to travel to quite outlandish destinations these days, and you’d be incredibly surprised at which countries travel insurance companies will cover, such as Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq! I am heading to North Korea in the near future and was even covered for there!
Avoiding Travel Scams
Every country has its list of travel scams. When it comes to visits to hospitals and clinics, many of these scams infiltrate the healthcare system. A visit to a hospital can be extended for more money, faux doctors can prescribe more expensive medications and treatments, and I have even heard of doctors working with criminals to get you to them.
If these scams make their way to you, then do not fear, as travel insurance will cover you. Even with travel insurance, you should still be on high alert, as scams can do much more harm than just draining your bank account.
Travel Insurance is a must for anyone traveling to destinations with health fraud scams!
Do I need Travel Insurance?
I constantly get asked this question, and the answer is Always YES! Travel insurance really isn’t that expensive, and it will save you so much money in the long run! I am a hypocrite as I have definitely traveled without it in the past, most of the time because I was rushed, or unsure if I would be covered. Now I always try to get it.
For most people, travel is not just a spur of the moment thing, giving you lots of time to prepare, but even if it is spur of the moment you should invest time to consider travel insurance. In the end, it’s a personal decision whether you get it or not, but coming from ten years of experience, I highly recommend it.
You’re thinking to yourself “I am a safe traveler,” or “I am only going to the Bahamas.” What if your airport shuttle gets in an accident? What if you trip on the sidewalk and break your ankle? What if you get altitude sickness in the mountains!! These are all real things that happen to even the most cautious of travelers… Be smart, get Travel Insurance!
What Kind of Travel Insurance is the Best?
Every traveler has their opinion on this. On my website, I recommend World Nomads Insurance. I like Nomads not just because I make money from them, but because they cover a large variety of destinations, and their no-hassle website is super user-friendly. Honestly, check them out. You simply enter your planned destinations, the length of your stay and they’ll shoot you a quote; easy as that. Their prices tend to be lower than any other company I have used!
For some destinations, Nomads won’t cover. For example, they won’t cover my trip to North Korea. So, I went with a local bank here in Canada called RBC. I would have much rather went with Nomad as I am used to using them, but remember that there are always other options.
There are also several options to consider when buying insurance. For example, there is travel specific insurance like photographer’s insurance, which covers expensive equipment that a pro photographer might have.
When it comes to backpacking, I always just go with the generic insurance, however, as its affordable and covers pretty much all my needs. Check out World Nomads Here!
Here’s a look to what World Nomads Insurance Covers:
Worldwide Health Coverage: Yes.
Theft/Damage Insurance: 500$ Per Item
Coverage at Home: No
Medical Evacuation Insurance: Yes
Trip Cancelation Insurance: Yes
Making a Claim
No matter what the incident, the first step is always to contact your insurance provider. With any insurance company, there will always be the fine print. Nobody is going to remember all the details, and that is why first thing is to contact them!
The company will always help with the paperwork as well. Upon arrival at a hospital, the staff there will ask you to fill out forms. These forms may or may not make you liable, so be sure to talk them over with your insurance. Paperwork is important!
When having any conversation with your insurance company, a hospital staff member or the police, make sure you record the conversation. This way, you will be able to review what happened. During an incident, you may be in shock and the adrenaline rush might make you forget fine details that may be important later on.
Travel Insurance Tips
When an incident occurs, the main thing is to remember everything that happens…. Everything! Read the fine print, take photos of all the documents. Write down names and details of all of those who get involved.
When accidents happen, it’s also important to remember to keep calm. This is easier said than done! To help with this, a good idea is to get educated. Start with an advanced CPR, First Aid, and AED course. This will help you manage stressful situations. It’s also a good idea to have basic knowledge in first aid, as you may not be able to get to a hospital right away.
Be prepared mentally, and have travel insurance in place! Be a smart traveler!