Travel Insurance - Fine Print & Details
With many different travel insurance policies on offer, it's very important for any potential buyers to research and investigate providers, and compare policies extensively before committing to any one particular provider.
Insurance documents can be lengthy and complex, difficult to navigate, and dense with information. While a lot of insurance policies can be difficult to understand, there are several key points that any potential buyer should make sure of before purchasing a travel insurance policy.
Buy Relevant Travel Insurance
Firstly, with the many health insurance options available, it's important that travelers pick the one most relevant to their needs. The availability of activity and injury insurance is one that should be investigated, as many policies don't cover certain sporting and outdoor pursuits. It's equally important to pick a policy that covers your luggage and possessions.
Finally, with flights and bookings being interrupted by unforeseen events, trip cancellation insurance is an essential service for travelers dependent on connecting travel and long haul flights. This short guide provides explanation for many terms and services found in insurance documentation.
Health Insurance for Travelers
Health insurance is extremely important for travelers, particularly those with active health conditions or injuries. Despite Thailand's reputation as a medically safe country, there are many destinations in the country's remote regions that aren't serviced by major hospitals. Health insurance can assist in the case of serious injury or illness, providing airlift assistance and coverage in international hospitals. With medical bills regularly racking up into the tens of thousands of dollars, insurance is extremely valuable to travelers and can save anyone massive amounts of stress and financial trouble.
Health conditions will affect your policy, both in terms of the
coverage details and the cost of the coverage. Be sure
to disclose any conditions to an insurance company when seeking
a quote, as travel insurance providers have the legal
right to renegotiate on a contract after it's been agreed
to, should it come up that you've failed to disclose certain
conditions. With health insurance, it's important to be
upfront and proactive; remember to disclose any information
that may be relevant to the policy, as it will help you get
the ideal coverage type.
It's important to look at the wording of a health insurance policy. What activities, situations and injuries does the policy cover? It needs to be relevant to your needs, so if you're involved in a particular activity be sure to check that the policy covers it. Many relatively common activities such as motorcycling and scuba diving can affect the cost and conditions of a policy, so be sure to check with an insurance company if it isn't made expressly clear in the contract. It's essential to know what you are and aren't covered for before you engage in any activities, as you will not be provided cover for those which aren't stated in your policy.
The Scottish teaching assistant’s father, Dudley Kay, 65, who runs a Dundee guesthouse, said: "She thought it was a good medical and travel insurance policy but we have found out the small print says she is not insured if she travels for longer than 90 days, which she has. .. story here
If something isn't specific enough, just get in touch with the insurance provider and ask for clarification. Despite the stories you might have heard about insurance help desks, they're happy to help with any problems or queries you may have, and can provide valuable, specialized information that can save you hours of wading through paper. When you're stuck with many pages to read through, it can be helpful to talk to a representative by phone in order to focus on the information most important to you, and save you reading through information that isn't 100% relative to your specific holiday needs.
Personal Travel Insurance
In addition to health insurance, personal insurance for your baggage and possessions is highly important for travelers, particularly those with expensive equipment such as laptop computers or digital cameras. Many policies only cover items up to a certain monetary value, so it's crucial to check what is and isn't covered before you purchase an insurance policy. If an insurance company can only cover your $3000 laptop to the value of $1500, it might be worth negotiating with them on the policy details in order to protect your equipment.
Check the terms and conditions regarding repayment or replacement. Many providers offer replacements or reimbursement on stolen property, but it's very important to know.
- Where does the replacement item comes from?
- What is the availability of replacement items for certain possessions?
If you're carrying rare or ultra-valuable equipment, be sure to check that the insurance company has accurate details of the items value and availability before you travel. This can save you a lot of painful time negotiating with the company after a claim has been filed. When in doubt, make sure to give information in advance so you have a record of your items value and ease of replacement.
For travelers involved in many long haul or short flights, it's important to make sure that your baggage is secure and insured, as the possibility for theft or loss by the airline/airport company can be high. Most travel insurance policies provide baggage coverage for those in transit, but as usual it's always ideal to search through your contract for the specific details well in advance. Failing that, an insurance representative will be able to answer any questions you may have about insurance for baggage and possessions.
One thing to be careful about is the conditions of your current house and contents insurance. While almost all travel insurance policies cover possessions lost in transit or lost or stolen while on holiday, many home insurance policies can provide the same coverage at a lower cost, or even no cost at all. This can give you some extra bargaining power with travel insurance providers. If you don't require insurance for your possessions while traveling, call your insurance provider and negotiate for a better deal.
A word of warning, however, it is absolutely essential to check that your home and contents insurance policy cover you in the event of theft or lost baggage. There's nothing worse than working out a deal with a travel insurance provider only to find out that you're been left without coverage when something bad happens. Be absolutely certain before you commit to leaving any coverage area out of your travel insurance policy.
Travel or Trip Cancellation
The final service to make sure for is travel cancellation insurance. Travel cancellation (sometimes called trip cancellation) insurance protects you from undue expenses in the event that your travel plans change or unforeseen circumstances force you to miss flights, hotel bookings, or other significant events or expenses. This service is incredibly important for two reasons.
- It protects you in the case of a political or social
Be absolutely sure to pick a policy that allows you to reschedule
flights in the event of an emergency breaking out in your holiday
country, or a personal emergency at home forcing you to reschedule
Clarify how your travel insurance provider deals with cancellation cases. Make sure that they can provide ample time for you to reschedule flights, hotel bookings and other activities, and allow you the flexibility to work things out for yourself in the event of an emergency.
There's nothing worse than being forced around by a rigid insurance company when something is going wrong for you, however a small amount of research can make sure you are never in this situation. If you're ever in doubt, ask a company representative to provide you with details of how previous cases have been handled, and how customers have been dealt with in the past.
- Make sure that your insurance company can rebook tickets at a minimal cost to you. With many budget travel airlines offering tickets without giving passengers the ability to rebook or reschedule flights, the burden of replacing tickets is put either entirely on the ticket holder or their respective insurance company.
Read through the policy wording on ticket replacements
and the excess charges that may be associated with them.
If you're well read on the
topic you shouldn't be worried about excess costs suddenly
appearing when things don't go to plan. If there's anything
in there that you're
not happy with, or are unsure about, call the insurance company
and try to get them to clarify or change the policy to work
These simple tips can make booking travel insurance a much easier and less stressful experience for those looking for an enjoyable and safe holiday. There are a few important things to remember that apply to all travel insurance policies:
- Make sure you're covered for everything that could possibly effect you. There's nothing worse than finding out you're not covered for something you thought you were.
- Be sure to check any existing insurance policies you have for coverage that may be relevant to your holiday.
- When in doubt on any policy wording, call the insurance company and speak to a representative. Policies can be difficult to read and it's often easier, and more comforting, to talk to a real person instead of a lifeless legal document.
- Be sure to disclose any information that might effect your policy.
- Whenever you can, negotiate with insurance representatives and try to find the best policy for your needs, not anyone else's.
By applying these simple principles you should be able to save time, money, and stress when researching and purchasing travel insurance.
While the process can be daunting at first, it's very important to keep your cool, think rationally, and check everything in detail. A little extra research can save a lot of stress in the face of unforeseen events, and that security is what travel insurance is all about.