Should you take travel insurance? Is travel insurance really needed?
Most travel websites answer with a simple 'yes'. What most don't say, is that they earn a commission when you book (as we do as well). We don't believe in such tactics, and try to give you an honest overview - the main reasons for and against travel insurance. So you can make your own, informed decision.
Reasons For Travel Insurance
Travel insurance covers a range of unfortunate events. The main reasons why people take travel insurance are:
Coverage of medical expenses in case of accidents, sickness and injuries.
No need to worry about cash - a good travel insurance will cover and settle your medical bills directly with the hospital.
You'll get an emergency contact number that you can call in your travel country.
Travel insurance covers a number of adventure sports and activities that may not be covered by your home insurance. Make sure you read exactly what is covered.
Extra benefits, such as rescue evacuation, repatriation home or a friend to accompany you while in hospital.
Cover for your travel expenses if you have to cancel your trip, e.g. because you or a close relative falls seriously sick (but read the policy details on which situations are covered and which not).
Cover for expenses due to missed flights and travel delays.
Reimbursement in case of theft or loss of baggage, personal items and cash. Take note that there is a cap on most of these items.
Reasons Against Travel Insurance
With so many good reasons to take insurance, why wonder to sign up? Read on:
In many cases, your medical bills will be covered by your health insurance at home. Call your health insurance agent to find out. Also ask what activities are covered (e.g., are you riding a motorbike?) and how claims are processed. You may have to pay cash in advance at the medical facility abroad, and the reimbursement may require more paperwork than with dedicated travel insurance.
Coverage for trip cancelations, delays and loss of personal items is nice to have. But do you really need it? All these benefits come with a cost. With travel insurance, you pay for the whole package, no matter how likely it is for you that you have to cancel your trip or that your stuff will be stolen (and how expensive your stuff is).
Typically, travel insurance costs around US$30-35 per week (get an individual quote). If you can afford to pay the extra expenses in the unfortunate event that you need to cancel your trip or your bag gets stolen, you can save the costs for the insurance.
Choosing the Right Travel Insurance
If you decide to take travel insurance, we recommend World Nomads. Why?
They offer a bespoke service for backpackers and independent travelers.