There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost for you. Please read my disclosure and privacy policies to be fully informed.
Now that we have debunked the myth about travel insurance and made clear that it is a MUST when you travel, in order to protect yourself and your family, it’s time to talk about how to choose the best travel insurance for you.
There is no perfect travel insurance, and what is right for me might be not good enough for you.
It all depends on what kind of travelers we are and what are our priorities.
In this post, I will explain what to look into a travel insurance policy and how to decide what is best for you.
What I won’t tell you is which one you must purchase, but by the time you finish reading, you will be absolutely capable of making your own choice.
Understanding your needs
As I mentioned before there are many types of travelers and therefore different insurances would work.
For example, if you are a diver and love extreme sports in general, you need to make sure that in the “what is included” section of the insurance those are included.
If you are a digital nomad and carry a tons of expensive electronics, such as iPad, laptop, phone, camera, you will want to make sure that the travel insurance will refund you in case you are robbed.
If you are going back and forth from your home town and abroad you may want to make sure that when you are home you are still covered.
If you are an expatriate and you don’t catch any flights you wouldn’t be interested in the travel coverage. On the contrary, if you are on long term travel and you will be on and off planes, a good flight and baggage coverage policy is very important.
So the first thing you must do, before choosing your travel insurance is sit down and write a list of your priority during your travel program.
What is covered and what is not
Now that you know what you need, you need to go through what is included in the insurance and what is not.
Every travel insurance offer at least 5 areas of coverage
- medical – including all medical expenses, hospitalization, and sometimes, in case the presence of a family member is required, the insurance would also cover the flight and accommodation
- evacuation – it covers the cost of transfer you to a place where you can receive appropriate medical treatment in the event of an emergency.
- baggage – in case of lost baggage in case the airline doesn’t cover or sometimes to complement the portion of the refund not covered by the airline
- repatriation – in case of death (God forbids) the insurance takes care of the repatriation of the remains.
- flight delay or missed – in case you miss a connection or there is a delay and you need to overnight the airline should cover the cost but it’s not always the case. That’s when the insurance steps in.
- trip cancellation and interruption – if for health reasons you cannot participate to a trip or the trip gets interrupted for many reasons the insurance should cover the refund of the portion of the trip that’s been missed
Now, having said that, please keep in mind that those are very general areas of coverage, but each and every travel insurance has its own “inclusions” and “exceptions”
In order to choose the best travel insurance for you, you will need to go through each point and check out what is included exactly.
That will avoid any disappointment when you are actually filling a claim.
What is generally not covered
- “Act of God” also called “Force Majeure” such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic are not covered in most cases.
- pre-existing conditions
- health check-ups
- dental care and eye visit, unless it’s an emergency situation.
- situations due to your negligence
About outdoor activities, keep in mind that although all the insurance mention that they are covered, if you are an adventurer you need to make sure you check well what is covered and not. One of the travel insurances that cover the majority of extreme sports is World Nomads, the premium package.
Check the costs and hidden costs
Now, when you get to the insurance site landing page it will show the basic cost, per month, normally.
See the example here with SafetyWing. You see 37/4 weeks, but that will definitely increase if you are 50+ and if you include the USA in your trip.
So, if you want to understand the real cost for you would be if you purchase the insurance, you will have to simulate a purchase and ask for a quote. It doesn’t cost you anything if you don’t insert your credit card details, but it will give you the exact amount that you would spend. in this case, click BUY NOW and continue with the information requested, travel dates, your age and your passport nationality.
It’s not exactly a hidden cost and, yet, it is, in a way. The deductible is the amount of money that the insurance company detracts from your refund. For example, if you have spent 400USD on medical issues, you will be refunded 150 only. It’s important for you to know how much is the deductible and how it’s calculated. It’s not the same for every insurance company and it’s not applied for every case. Make sure you check it out.
The max limit is the maximum amount of money that is refunded. It is different for every insurance company and it also vary within the insurance section, for baggage loss, interruption of the trip or medical refund, or evacuation. Make sure you check in the insurance clauses.
Read the policy thoroughly
I know I have said it multiple times, but it’s very important that you go through the insurance policy FAQ and clauses very well in order for you to understand whether or not you are covered in very specific situations.
Although you read phrases such as “interruptions of trip” or “Evacuation”, there are many “BUTs” and “IFs” that you will have to deal with.
So make sure you know what you are purchasing.
Read the reviews
There is nothing like an honest review from other users to help you understand whether a company it’s trustworthy and it meets your needs or not.
However, I always take reviews with a grain of salts, unless the reviewers explain in detail the reason for the feedback, with arguments and examples, either if they are happy or disappointed.
For travel insurance I found Trustpilot to be a good starting point for reviews.
Compare different policies
There is never a perfect policy. That’s what you need depending on the kind of traveler you are. There are thousands of travel insurance companies. Here I am comparing the 2 that I know and that is internationally more popular. I hope it helps.
You can also read my full review of SafetyWing.
|Travel Insurance |
|Cost||From $36/month||From $142.5/month (standard)
From 158/month (explorer)
|Deductible||$250 per year||$100 per claim|
|Max Refund||$250K||5M(standard)/unlimited (explorer)|
|Extreme sports||Many limitations, |
including diving & kitesurfing
|Yes, 30 days every 90 abroad.||No|
|Anticipation of |