My piece of advice: read the fine-print on your insurance policy. Always!
It doesn’t matter who your insurer is or how many times you’ve traveled. When you book your travel insurance you need to read the fine-print to discover what you are and are not covered for. Even after reading all of the tips and pitfalls in this story, you still need to read the fine-print. Every insurer is different and every policy is different.
Of course, every traveler knows they really should get travel insurance. But plenty still don’t. A recent survey found that at least 40 % of people didn’t bother taking it, despite the risk of overseas medical bills and the chance of all manner of things going wrong. That’s simply crazy. Especially if you traveling around with your kids.
It’s pretty simple. “Of the travelers we surveyed,” says Dean Van Es, director at Fast Cover Insurance, “we found that one in five needed help while they were on holidays. It’s not necessarily that they were getting in trouble, but they needed some assistance.”
One of five? Do you really want to gamble with it? That’s a pretty huge number, especially when you consider the amounts of money we’re talking. For egg. If you’re spending seven days in Bali, the insurance for that, including the 24-hour emergency assistance, is $38.70. It’s not much when you compare it to what you’ve paid for the holiday.
We had our share of luck until this year’s Indonesia trip. We never needed any medical help, but this time both of our kids were in need for some. On Bali Svit had a case of »Bali belly« so we went to Kuta international hospital (http://www.bimcbali.com/ ) where he was treated so he was back on his feet in few days. And in Singapore, Nia got some serious case of high fever just one night before our flight back to Europe. We were treated at Raffles Hospital (http://www.rafflesmedicalgroup.com/ ) in less than one hour from when we left our hotel. She was prescribed anti-fever pills and some antibiotics. After that we had a pleasant flight home. So, just for these two simple things, with no overnight hospital stay our bills totaled over 300 $, that we of course got back from our insurance company on return. So please NEVER take a risk of traveling without the insurance!
But then again you’re not covered for everything. It’s a common mistake: you buy a travel insurance policy, and you think you’re covered for absolutely anything. Reality is that you’re not covered for everything. There are conditions. But polices usually cover over 100 different sports and activities – you just need to check.
Record your belongings
Even before you leave, if you’ve got insurance, it’s a make a record of all of those items that are insured. You should make a list of the things that you’re bringing, particularly if you’ve got any high-value item. Take a photo of them. It will help you get paid much faster.
Don’t be an idiot
Insurance policy is essentially a contract. The insurance company will cover you for any unforeseen event that happens. But you’re promising to act in a way that’s not going to expose yourself to unnecessary risk. That’s the crux of it. If you’re thinking, ‘Is this a good idea; is it a bit risky, can I get around it by doing another thing?’ Then do the other thing.
That includes taking care of your belongings. You need to keep your luggage within your sight. So if you’re sitting at an airport and you walk away from your bag, you can’t see it, that wouldn’t be covered. If you leave it in a locked hotel room, that’s fine. If you leave it overnight in an unlocked car, that’s not fine.
Don’t drink and claim
Here’s a trick: if you get stupidly drunk on holidays and injure yourself falling into a ditch, you probably won’t be covered by your insurance. A lot of people will have a few drinks when they’re on holiday, and that’s fine, but if they make a claim and alcohol or drugs are shown to be a factor, then the insurance may not cover that. If alcohol or drugs aren’t a factor, then that’s fine. So if someone has a few drinks at a bar and they’re walking along the street and a motorbike hits them, then alcohol didn’t play a part in that and you’re covered.
Renting a motorbike
Plenty of insurers won’t cover you if you ride a scooter or motorbike overseas. Though some are more lenient. Usually if it’s 50cc or less and you have an international driver’s license, you can rent that and you’ll have full cover. That goes for the co-rider passenger too – if you’re on the back of a bike and the person riding isn’t licensed, there could be a problem.
With some companies you will need a separate policy for snow sports. You need specialty cover for that. The thing to note there, and I think this is the same for most policies, is if you go outside the ski boundaries, or you ski on a run that has been closed, your policy won’t cover you. Just follow the rules.
You’re covered for things you don’t realize
Read your policy – you might be surprised at what you’re allowed to claim. Car rental insurance excess fees are covered, so you know when you rock up to the car rental desk and they say, »Do you want to reduce your excess by paying bazillion dollars? « Don’t pay that – you’re already covered with your insurance.
Bungee jumping used to be excluded by insurers, but now it’s automatically included. Zip lining is another sport like that. Things do change over time. If you’re not sure if a particular activity is covered, just give you insurance company a call.