I’ve not always believed in travel insurance. Until that time I became violently ill at the beginning of an all-in-one, prepaid, non-refundable trip.
I'd taken all of the precautions. I drank bottled water (when I could find it). I drank bottled beverages (when bottled water could not be found). I only ate food that could be cooked or peeled (or so I thought). I might have accidentally ingested a little lettuce.
The violent illness that shook throughout my entire body was instant and incomprehensible. It. Would. Not. Stop. There's nothing like being so ill that you don't have the ability to fetch proper fluid, food, or medicine on your own two feet. It. Was. The. Worst.
When I did not sufficiently recover (and my language barrier prevented proper help), I left the country so I could fully recover.
Even after that, I’ve not always remembered to purchase travel insurance.
Like that time I was in the next state and had an anaphylactic reaction. My regular health insurance would not cover the $1000+ ER bill (due to it being an ER visit) and my credit card insurance could not cover it (because I’d not purchased major carrier transportation tickets for this trip…I’d arrived in a certain someone’s auto).
These experiences create losses, including additional fees for scheduling early returns. And these losses are unnecessary, especially considering how little travel insurance can cost and the dedicated medical support it can provide.
So I first verify the following:
what my health insurance will cover while traveling
what my credit card medical benefits will cover while traveling
what my credit card travel insurance will cover while traveling
(if people have home owner’s insurance, it’s important to check that, too)
Then I get travel insurance that will cover the gaps, plus cover as much as possible at a decent rate:
the countries I'll travel to (for the entire duration I’ll be there)
24/7 help/service/expensive airlift rescue/evacuation
accidents, injuries and illness
doctors and medicines
high medical expenses
emergency flight back to my home country
financial reimbursement if I've paid for services that do not deliver
damaged/lost/stolen luggage, electronics, personal belongings, and documentation
It's important for me to remember:
what can be claimed
to keep all receipts, forms, documents, and police reports to submit for reimbursement
the exact process one must go through asap to ensure a claim can be processed
(Thank goodness that's partly why 24/7 support exists.)
There are two travel insurance policies I’ve relied on:
An annual travel insurance policy, which covers shorter trips (most travel insurance policies have trip length stipulations). This has been more affordable than buying separate travel insurance policies for each short trip and the annual plan means I never have to remember to buy travel insurance for each short trip, though the benefits do not cover quite as much.
A trip specific travel insurance policy through World Nomads, which has covered longer trips. World Nomads is more expensive than the annual plan, but World Nomads was needed for trip length and their coverage was much better than my annual plan.
TIP: Before buying travel insurance, I first verify what my health insurance will cover while I’m traveling and what my credit card benefits will cover while I’m traveling (and when I had homeowner’s insurance, I’d check that, too), to not pay for those benefits again (on the travel insurance policy). This saves me money when choosing travel insurance.