When I went backpacking last time I spent a small fortune on travel insurance as I was overly anxious about all the bad things that could/would happen to me especially as I was going solo. Turns out I surprised myself and didn’t lose anything/ break anything or die. Go me.
So therefore that money could have been better spent on the trip itself surely? But as the saying goes it is better to be safe than sorry. As if anything had happened I would be in a whole heap of crap/bankrupt/in jail. I read somewhere that coming home having not made a claim is the best case scenario. Just irritating you can’t reclaim it back after!
Depending on where you go and how long for travel insurance can seem quite costly but if you break it down by how much this will cost you each day you are away it doesn’t actually amount to much but it will save you loads of hassle and cash if you don’t have it. Some say it is the single most important thing you can buy for your trip. So with that in mind I have been scanning the interweb for the best deals and the greatest coverage on travel insurance for our next trip to South America but as there are so many companies out there all with differencing plans and rules it can be a minefield.
A backpackers faveourite is World Nomads who have excellent reviews for their customer care but it is also handy to check out some of the price checking comparison websites such as TravelSupermarket or GoCompare to see who ticks all of the below boxes for you!
What to look for:
Medical Expenses – The most important feature on your travel insurance policy is for your health. Covering your stay in a hospital, repatriation and emergency evacuation (ie. getting you out of a dangerous place and bringing you back home but make sure they include the flight not just the medical set up), ambulance costs, medication etc as these can all add up depending on where in the world you are. Look for a policy that covers at least £100,000 but most are in the region of £3million.
Be Honest - If you have a medical condition it’s worth making sure you explain this clearly to your insurers before you take out the claim. These guys can be quite sneaky so if they can find a way to get out on a loophole like this they most likely will.
Cancellation – If you have to cancel your trip for whatever legit reason it’s worth having this on your travel insurance policy so you will receive what you have already paid out depending on how much you have paid already.
Bags- It needs to cover if your bags get are stolen, damaged or destroyed as well as delayed. But how about making sure your passport is covered as it’s more than likely you will be out and about with this deep red friend than your huge bag. Some companies include passport/travel documents in with their baggage coverage others keep this separate either way make sure it is covered.
Gadgets – With more and more people travelling with pricy electricals such as ipads, ipods, iphones, laptops, DSLR’s, GoPros and other techno chic appliances it is worth checking you have enough coverage for these things on top of your normal bag coverage.
Personal Liability – If you accidentally do something that causes harm to another human being then any legal fees will be covered by this.
Financial Failure – If your hotel/airline/tour company/car hire goes bust then you will receive the money you paid out before they went into liquidation. Make sure your policy covers non ATOL protected trips too.
Crazy Sports – Always check that those insane activities are covered in your travel insurance as not all extreme sports are covered such as paragliding or bungee jumping unless you pay extra to add it in.
Check Ts & Cs - It is worth reading all the small print as then you will know what you aren’t covered for too. Most insurers spell out quite clearly that if you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or reckless behaviour then you can kiss bye bye to that claim.
Paper Trail -Make sure you keep a copy of all your receipts if you do need to claim and before you go have the emergency hotline phone number saved in a safe place. Hopefully you will never have to call them but just in case.
Right I’m off to get mine booked – wish me luck!