Why You Need Travel Insurance For Your Next International Trip
The COVID-19 pandemic is a cautionary tale of inevitable medical emergencies. For most people, embarking on an overseas trip for either business or leisure after living in our small social-distancing bubbles, will require more detailed planning when compared to our pre-pandemic travels. Travel insurance isn’t just for catastrophes or loss of valuable material possessions. It can also give you a significant safety net if you face a medical emergency during your trip.
While a standard trip insurance policy covers the loss of passport or trip cancellation for a covered reason, travel medical insurance offers you safeguards that could literally save your life.
Depending on the country you’re visiting, the importance of travel medical insurance can vary. For example, the exorbitant cost of medical expenses in the United States makes it a no-brainer for visitors to the U.S. to buy travel insurance. Likewise, if you’re traveling to less developed countries, the medical infrastructure there may mandate that you be airlifted to a different region or country with adequate medical resources. Without travel insurance with emergency medical evacuation coverage, the airlift alone would cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
Why Travel and Trip Insurance Should Be Part of Your Trip Planning
“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” - Richard Cushing
You May Face Medical Emergencies
According to a study published by the American Public Health Association, two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy in the United States cite medical expenses as a major contributor to their financial woes. Healthcare in the United States is so expensive that in 2015, Leon Lederman, a Nobel Laureate in Physics had to sell his medal for $750,000 to pay his medical bills. But, of course, traveling to the U.S. can be a memorable experience. You’ll just want to make sure you have adequate travel medical insurance. Without it, even a short visit to a doctor can cost you upwards of $1000.
Incurring the cost of an unexpected medical treatment while you’re traveling can be a huge setback for you. Travel medical insurance is your best defense against going into debt for medical care. In the U.S., coverage differs depending on the insurance policy and provider. Here are some of the top benefits you’ll want to look out for:
- Pandemic coverage
- Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions
- Emergency medical evacuation coverage
Travel Insurance may be mandatory
Some countries require visitors to have travel insurance. For instance, qualifying for the Schengen Visa requires travel insurance with a minimum coverage of at least 30,000 EUR (equivalent to 35,200 USD as of March 2021). It's common to get visa applications rejected due to the absence of travel insurance. Make sure you check the prerequisite for visitors in your destination country.
Baggage Mishaps Happen
Imagine waiting at baggage carousel in a foreign airport. As other passengers from your flight retrieve their bags successfully, you start to get nervous. Where’s your bag? You wait in vain for it to show up on the conveyor, but it never does. Losing your luggage in a foreign country can be a challenging experience, especially if you’ve packed all your important belongings in one of the missing bags. In situations like these, trip insurance can be your best friend. Trip insurance provides financial support to cover trip exigencies such as losing your passport, loss of baggage, trip cancellation, etc.
In case your baggage has been permanently lost or delayed for any reason, having trip insurance will allow you to claim reimbursement, either in part or in full, for the value of items in your baggage
Consider Man-Made and Natural Disasters
In 2016, when gunmen armed with automatic weapons and explosive belts staged a simultaneous attack at the international terminal of Terminal 2 at Atatrk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, it shook the travel industry. According to the global statistics site, www.ourworldindata.org, deaths from natural disasters and terrorism have been on the decline over the past decade. But, globally, natural disasters and terrorism still kill 60,000 and 21,000 people respectively per year on average.
Most comprehensive insurance coverage plans offer coverage for terrorism and natural disasters. Some of the top policies that include natural disasters and terrorism are Atlas America, and Liaison Travel Choice.
Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) Adds Flexibility
While your trip insurance will come with standard cancellation reimbursement for issues beyond your control like natural disasters or airline outages, only Cancel For Any Reason lets you cancel your travel plans for any reason and still receive some reimbursement for prepaid travel expenses. Whether it's a family emergency or you have a critical, last-minute business meeting to attend, you can cancel your trip with minimal financial loss.
Travel insurance with CFAR coverage offers the option to cancel, you may not get a 100% refund but still be able to reclaim a significant part of the expenses spent in booking the travel.