Travelling is a significant part of modern life and with advances in travel technology, international travel is becoming increasingly popular. Whether you travel extensively or occasionally, for business or for pleasure, travel insurance is a compulsory purchase for your trips.
There are several types of insurance policies on offer and these vary with your providers. When you need to buy an insurance policy, how do you decide what policy is right? How do you decide what level of coverage is appropriate for your travel arrangements? A look at the features of most insurance policies will help you ask the right questions before you decide on the travel insurance policy to buy. If you are looking to get covered quickly you can get a quote and buy online through an insurance company like State New Zealand.
Understand Medical Coverage Offered by your Provider
Medical cover is probably the most important aspect of your travel insurance. A study indicated that up to 22 – 64% of travellers fall ill while travelling with up to 8% requiring hospitalisation. What level of medical coverage do you get? Under what circumstances are you covered for medical treatment? What pre-existing conditions exclude from coverage? You would need to understand what conditions are covered and what the limits are on your medical expenses. These are all important questions that you should ask when you are trying to understand the medical coverage feature of your chosen travel insurance. A good provider should be able to provide you with up to £1 million for Europe and £2 million for USA.
Check that you are covered for all your destinations if you are planning a multiple destination trip. If you are planning a single destination holiday, remember to check for coverage in the places that your flight intends to stopover or places that you intend to visit for, even if for one night as part of a group or tour. Don’t just assume that you are automatically covered. Always look at the exclusion list. Some insurers exclude certain countries from their coverage list. For example, an insurer might offer Europe coverage, but exclude countries like Switzerland. On the other hand Turkey and Egypt are included in Europe coverage with some providers.
Although airlines are improving in their handling of luggage, reports still show that up to 4 in 1000 people still encounter baggage mishaps while travelling. Check to see if the limits of your baggage claim can cover what you carry otherwise consider upgrading to a policy with an appropriate baggage coverage.
Medical evacuations can be very expensive and even if you are young and healthy, and you feel that this is an unlikely scenario, you should include medical evacuation in your cover. If it ever happens that you need to be taken home due to emergency medical reasons, you will feel happy that your insurance cover can pick up the bill.
Don’t automatically assume that your valuables are undoubtedly covered by your policy. Make sure you confirm that everyday items like your phones, laptops, cameras, tablets, sunglasses, and jewellery are covered. Be sure that you have a clear understanding of the circumstances under which you can make a claim.
Sports and Activities
If you intend to engage in sport activities, particularly adventure sport activities, there is a higher likelihood that you could get injured so you need to make sure that your insurance cover provides coverage for you to engage in those specific activities that you intend to partake. If you change your mind about a specific activity during your trip, you need to understand that you will probably not be covered if you are involved in an accident.
If unexpected events dictate that you have to cancel your trip, you might be eligible for travel and accommodation costs for the things you paid for that you didn’t get to use. Be sure to check what circumstances make you eligible to claim on a trip cancellation. Your provider will have very specific circumstances under which you can claim and this is usually applicable only if you are not eligible for a refund from other places.
Check Limits and Excesses
Limits dictate how much you have to pay before you can claim on your insurance. If your limit is £75, then you can claim only when you make an expense in excess of £75. Lower limits usually come with higher priced insurance packages.
If you miss your departure flight, train, or boat due to circumstances outside of your control, such as a broken down car or an accident or a public transport delay, then your insurance can cover the costs of accommodation, and extra travel expenses associated with your missed flights. Of course you will need to provide proof that the circumstances that caused your missed flight were truly beyond your control.
What kind of trip are you taking? A single trip? Multiple trips throughout the year or an extended trip? You need to check that your trip covers you for the duration of your trip. If you intend on taking multiple trips during the year then be sure to choose a plan that offers annual coverage. Extended trips require coverage for extended periods as well
Accidents happen a lot more often than we would like for it to happen. Unfortunately accidents often involve a third party. Personal liability as a feature of your insurance that should cover damage to third party- both bodily injury and accidental damage to property.
Primary or Secondary Medical Coverage
Check to see if your insurance coverage is primary or secondary. A primary medical insurance plan processes your claims for payment as if there is no other insurance in place. A secondary plan on the other hand processes payment only after they have received an explanation of benefits that shows how the primary insurance processed your claim. In the absence of a primary insurance, your secondary insurance acts like primary by default. A primary insurance is often more expensive than a secondary insurance plan.
It is always important to understand what is excluded from your insurance policy. All insurance policies have exclusions. Some companies can refuse to pay medical or other expenses associated with specific activities and others refuse to provide travel insurance due to certain circumstances. Always make notes of specific events, items, and circumstances that are excluded from your policy and this should guide your travel insurance policy choices and your travel behaviour so that you claims remain valid.
Alcohol and Drugs
You need to find out what your travel insurance policy says about alcohol and non-prescription drugs. Some policies exclude cover if you make a claim that involves your use of alcohol and drugs. But what is a holiday if you can’t let your hair down a little bit? Read your intended policy carefully to understand what exclusions apply to you.
Incident Report Protocol
Many insurance policies expect that for your claim to be valid you need to report the theft to the appropriate authorities such as the police, within 24 hours, otherwise you will not be covered. Be sure that you completely understand the processes that you need to take after an incident so that your claim remains valid.
A toothache is a common occurrence in adults. There are very few things that can compare to the agony of a toothache. A dental issue can quickly spoil the enjoyment of your trip. All of your dream of exploring exotic food and drinks turn to ash with a toothache. You need your travel insurance to cover you for urgent dental issues. The bare minimum should be for pain relief. Try and get cover for a chipped or broken tooth as those need urgent attention as well.
Security events that could require urgent evacuation include: natural disasters, military coup, political unrest, or a civil uprising. While these are highly unlikely events, when you are stuck in the middle of this kind of situation, an evacuation is an expensive but necessary course of action. Having an insurance that covers you in this kind of situation will definitely come in handy.
Loss of Passport and Documents
Loss of passport or travel documents is one of the most common mishaps that can befall a traveller. Finding out what coverage your intended insurance provider offers if you lose your passport or other important documents while travelling. A good policy should allow you claim any extra travel and accommodation expenses that arise as a result of needing to replace a lost passport or other travel documents.
Some travel insurance policies offer coverage for burglary of your home while you are away. This is a useful feature especially if you plan to be gone on an extended trip. Find out if you can get this cover from your policy providers.
Personal Accident Coverage
An accident can happen to anybody. If you are involved in an accident, you will get coverage for immediate medical issues. However, a personal accident feature offers coverage in the case of permanent disability or death due to an accident at the time of travel.