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  • Writer's pictureBranwen Defren

Navigating the World with Peace of Mind: The Importance of Travel Insurance

A man looking at a board list of flights

Travel insurance is crucial to safeguard your trip, regardless of the destination or duration. It can make all the difference between a stress-free vacation and a potential financial disaster.

What even is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is a specialized insurance product designed to provide coverage for unexpected events that may occur before or during your trip. These can include trip cancellations or interruptions, medical emergencies, lost or stolen belongings, and other unforeseen circumstances. By purchasing travel insurance, you mitigate the financial risks associated with these incidents, ensuring that you can focus on enjoying your travels without worrying about potential setbacks.

Types of Travel Insurance Coverage:

1. Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance: This type of coverage reimburses you for prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to covered reasons, such as illness, injury, or unforeseen emergencies.

I've personally had to use this type of insurance when I was too sick too fly, and it was worth every penny to get the $500+ flight money back because I spent that extra charge for flight coverage.

2. Medical and Emergency Assistance: Travel insurance typically includes coverage for medical emergencies abroad, including hospital stays, emergency medical transportation, and medical evacuation. This is especially crucial when traveling to destinations where healthcare costs can be exorbitant.

While Americans are very used to high medical costs, it is extremely "cheap" in other countries; however, if you're going on an "adventure" type trip like going camping or skydiving in another country and get seriously, seriously injured or sick, the costs can add up fast if it's out of pocket. For example, the famous Bucket List Family, the mother Jess was seriously injured while skiing and had to be airlifted off the mountain - can you imagine how much that would cost without insurance? 😵‍💫

In my personal experience:

  • An x-ray, ultrasound, and fluids cost me about $250 in London, UK (at a private emergency room), and seeing a dentist cost me about the same. (However, this is not unusual, in the UK dental care is not covered under the NHS or "National Health Service."

  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, fluids and medication infusion cost me $15 (I know right?!)

  • In Greece, fluids and medicine cost me about $15

3. Baggage and Personal Belongings: If your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip, travel insurance can provide reimbursement for the value of your belongings, allowing you to replace essential items without bearing the full financial burden.

4. Travel Delay and Missed Connections: Travel insurance can compensate you for additional expenses incurred due to travel delays, such as accommodation, meals, and transportation costs. It can also cover missed connections due to factors beyond your control, such as flight cancellations or severe weather conditions.

One time I was 2 hours early for my flight and sitting in the section next to it - FACING the flight no less....and didn't realize it was mine until it had already boarded. It's honestly one of the worst "face-palm" moments that's happened (so far!) in my life. Though to be fair to little 19-year-old me, a LOT was going on, but still...right in front of me. I, of course, called my mum crying because I just wanted to be home (long story), and she reassured me that it had been insured and I'd be able to get on the next flight, and I did!

5. Emergency Assistance Services: In addition to financial coverage, many travel insurance policies offer access to emergency assistance services, including 24/7 travel assistance hotlines, medical referrals, and legal assistance in foreign countries.

Why Travel Insurance Matters:

1. Protection Against Financial Loss: Unexpected events can disrupt your travel plans and result in significant financial losses. Travel insurance provides a safety net by reimbursing you for non-refundable expenses and covering unexpected costs, such as medical emergencies or trip interruptions.

Some other helpful things that can help ensure you don't get anything stolen:

  • Be alert for scams - keep your eyes out for things that look suspicious. For example, my mum caught a woman in Venice, Italy charging 2 for people to use a restroom that had been free to use just the day before.

  • Get an RIFD card - these cards ensure that your debit, credit, and even your passport and drivers license are protected. (I'm not smart enough to understand how the technology works), but in essence it ensures people who are after your data aren't able to "snatch" it even through your wallet because these cards block it. You can purchase a 3 pack on Amazon for less than $10!

  • Stay connected - I highly recommend purchasing a cheap "burner" phone that you won't mind if it breaks or hey, gets stolen. When visiting another country you can purchase a local sim card and slip it into the burner phone so you don't have to worry about ruining your own phone! (And honestly, the burner phones available today are incredible. I got mine for $70 at Target and it's fantastic). If you want yours faster, check out these two options on Amazon (pricier option, at $100) and (a cheap option for less than $50)

2. Peace of Mind: Traveling is unpredictable, and having travel insurance offers peace of mind knowing that you're prepared for any eventuality. Whether it's a sudden illness, lost luggage, or a natural disaster (remember the 2004 tsunami in Thailand? No tourists visiting that day could've ever predicted that). Knowing that you have coverage can alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy your trip with confidence.

3. Coverage for Medical Emergencies: Medical emergencies can occur anywhere, and the cost of healthcare abroad can be staggering. Travel insurance ensures that you have access to medical assistance and coverage for medical expenses, including hospitalization, medication, and emergency medical evacuation, if necessary.

Again, I cannot stress enough how vital it is to have medical insurance while visiting another country abroad. It is worth the money.

4. Assistance and Support: Travel insurance not only provides financial protection but also offers access to emergency assistance services, such as medical referrals, travel advisories, and assistance with lost documents (like if you lose your passport or visa!). In unfamiliar or challenging situations, having support from experienced professionals can be invaluable.

5. Flexibility and Customization: Travel insurance policies are flexible and can be tailored to suit your specific needs and travel plans. Whether you're embarking on a short weekend getaway or an extended international trip, you can choose the coverage options that best fit your requirements and budget.

While it may seem like it's not worth that extra cash, it's better to be safe now rather than sorry later. A $50 charge now is better than a $10K charge later. Travel insurance is a vital aspect of trip planning that should not be overlooked. While it may seem like an additional expense, the peace of mind and financial protection it provides far outweigh the cost. Whether you're traveling for leisure, business, or adventure, investing in travel insurance ensures that you can navigate the world with confidence, knowing that you're prepared for whatever comes your way. So, before you embark on your next journey, take the time to explore your options and invest in the right travel insurance coverage—it's a decision you won't regret.

It's the little things that add up! ;)


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