Travel Insurance: Which to Choose and How It Works

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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There is one of the most boring and complicated aspects to deal with before organizing a trip taking out travel insurance.

Especially when traveling outside Europe, it becomes essential to have the right travel insurance, especially for travel to the United States, where medical bills are very expensive.

Take out travel insurance it is important for several reasons, mainly for health and therefore to be covered in case you need medical attention, but also for theft, cancellation of the trip or loss of luggage.



However, many doubts remain about which travel insurance to take out as there are many online offers and at different prices, each with different clauses, to be carefully evaluated before choosing.

This is why I wanted to write what I consider a real guide to the world of travel insurance, we will see what to insure, all the tips for choosing the best travel insurance and the mistakes to avoid.

Travel Insurance: What to Insure

With all the precautions of the case, on vacation, however, in addition to possible health problems, you can also encounter other misadventures, such as loss of luggage, suffering a theft or having to give up the trip itself.

By taking out travel insurance, however, you can leave more relaxed and avoid finding yourself in uncomfortable situations to manage.

So let's see how the three types of insurance work:

  • Medical insurance
  • Baggage Protection
  • Trip Cancellation

Medical travel insurance

One of the most common travel insurances is that against illness or injury, which is essential when you reach places where the health service is poor or where the costs for medical assistance are high.



For example, health care in the United States is very expensive, just a medical visit can cost hundreds of dollars.

On the basis of the insurance stipulated, the costs will be reimbursed: per health care, medicines, surgery, hospitalizations, emergency transport and early repatriation.

In addition to the reimbursement of medical expenses, it is essential to have an efficient operations center capable of helping you in case of need, with doctors available by telephone.

It is therefore good to read all the clauses carefully and choose the travel medical insurance that offers more services.

I remind you that if you plan to carry out particular or extreme sports activities, you must specify this when taking out the insurance, to verify that these activities are covered.

A fundamental issue to consider is the payment of medical expenses, in fact not all companies guarantee direct payment, but they can provide for a reimbursement of costs. This means that you will be the one to anticipate the expenses. For instance Columbus Insurance provides for direct payment in the event of hospitalization.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that of previous or pre-existing illnesses, which unfortunately are not covered by all travel insurance companies.

Luggage protection

Unfortunately, when traveling, a classic of the unexpected is the loss of suitcases, which creates many anxieties even for the most experienced traveler.

To leave more relaxed and avoid unpleasant inconveniences, all you have to do is take out a baggage policy. The insurance is valid not only for the suitcases, but also for everything you bring with you and provides a refund even for delay in the delivery of the suitcase.


Caution: it is mandatory to keep receipts and invoices to be presented to the insurance, for any expenses incurred due to non-delivery of baggage.


Before taking out travel insurance for baggage protection, check the level of coverage, if for example electronic devices are also included.

Obviously, in the event that you lose your baggage due to your negligence, the policy does not guarantee any coverage.

Trip cancellation

Departure cancellation insurance is an optional policy that is taken out at the time of booking the trip or within 8 days from that date.

But how does air travel cancellation insurance work?

For various reasons you may have to cancel a trip that has already been booked, with the risk of losing the entire price of the trip.

By taking out flight cancellation insurance you will be able to recover part or all of the money spent on the booking.

Obviously the insurance takes into account reimbursement only in certain cases: death, serious illness or injury, dismissal, theft of documents or natural disasters.

On the other hand, it will be difficult to get a refund if you have a simple seasonal flu or mild illness.

I suggest you take out travel cancellation insurance for long and expensive flights and for bookings made well in advance.

Tips for taking out Travel Insurance

We have seen that there are different types of insurance, now let's find out some tips on how to navigate this difficult choice and get the best formula.


Number of trips and Duration

If you plan to travel more than once during the year, consider annual travel insurance, which is cheaper.

Usually the policies cover stays abroad of up to 90 days, so if you have to move for 6 months, perhaps for work, you need insurance that covers stays for long periods.


Destination

This is a fundamental point for the choice of travel insurance, in fact the costs and services offered change depending on the destination.

In Europe, a health card is generally sufficient, even if it is not certain that the treatments are free. In some European countries the costs may be paid, in which case it is better to have travel medical insurance.

The United States and Canada have very high costs for medical treatment, therefore compulsory insurance.

Then there are countries where the health system is not the best and having travel insurance becomes essential.

Keep in mind that for some places it is not possible to take out any type of insurance.

Ceilings

What are the ceilings? They are simply the maximum coverage expense that the insurance company is willing to pay for a single event.

So the higher the ceiling, the more you will be covered. Of course, spending also increases, but in case of emergencies you will save a lot of money.

In addition to the ceilings, the deductible must also be assessed, that is the cost that you will have to pay before arriving at the insurance coverage. For example, a deductible of 80 €, up to 80 € of expenses you will pay, beyond that amount is borne by the insurance.

Group insurance

There are insurances that cover the whole family or groups of friends, so there is no need to take out individual policies.

Business insurance

It is possible to take out specific insurance for business travelers, which is essential if you leave with particularly expensive equipment. They can also be useful for legal assistance or for those who need translators.

Travel Insurance: Mistakes to Avoid

Beware of low cost policies

Don't make the mistake of choosing travel insurance based solely on the advantageous price. Evaluate the different companies for what they offer. At first it may seem like an unnecessary expense, but in case of problems, travel insurance becomes essential.

Either way, I'll never get tired of saying it, read the contract carefully, also because failure to comply with the rules can cancel the insurance coverage.

Make a selection of companies. Do not buy the policy from little-known companies and make sure you have adequate assistance, preferably in Spanish if you do not master English.

Better to buy the insurance separately to the trip

Travel insurance can often be purchased together with the plane ticket, they may seem advantageous, but they usually do not have the best services and the ceilings are not high. So before buying it always evaluate what it offers.

Conclusions

Now that you have read this guide on how to select the best travel insurance, you will know perfectly well how to orient yourself in the vast choice.

I conclude with a piece of advice that might seem trivial: print and take the insurance certificate with you, where the policy number is, is the telephone to call in case of problems. Before any hospitalization it is always better to call the operations center.

For security you can also save the contract on your smartphone, so that you always have it with you.

 

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