First-time travelers and even frequent travelers should get a travel insurance. Why? Well, aside from giving you peace of mind in case you would encounter unpleasant surprises while traveling, it will help you with a lot of things. With travel insurance, you could get medical expenses covered and reimbursements for loss luggage among other things. Not all travel insurance plans are created equal though, so it is important to do research and thorough review before getting one. So how do you go about getting the right travel insurance? You need to ask the right questions first!
Here are the 10 questions to ask your travel insurance company to get the best travel insurance for you and your family.
1. Where is the insurance company headquartered?
It is important to know where the insurance company is based because of the number of fraudulent insurance companies that have been surfacing. It is also a smart practice to check the underwriter of the insurance company. Only trust insurance companies that have one or two licensed underwriters. Legit insurance companies are also regulated by state insurance commissioners. Make sure to check the company’s license number on the insurance commissioner’s database.
2. Is travel insurance mandatory in the country I’m visiting?
It is strongly recommended that you get travel insurance even if it is not mandatory in the country that you will be visiting, but in case you may have missed looking into it, there are countries that make travel insurance compulsory for any visiting tourists. All 26 Schengen countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) require you to have a travel insurance policy with medical and evacuation coverage. This policy also applies to citizens from Australia and New Zealand even if they are automatically granted a 90-day visa. United Arab Emirates also requires tourists to have travel insurance with medical coverage. Whether the country requires it or not, it is still a wise decision to make to get a travel insurance policy before the trip.
3. Does the travel insurance policy cover pre-existing medical conditions?
This is something you need to properly check, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions that may need medical attention at any given time or could be triggered while traveling. Also make sure to check what is the insurance provider’s definition of pre-existing conditions. Failing to mention any pre-existing conditions when signing up for a travel insurance policy may cause you more challenges in the future, so it is advisable to be upfront about it.
4. What isn’t covered by the travel insurance policy?
It is as important to know what is not covered by the insurance policy as it is to know about what is covered. This way, you can look for other options or you can purchase add-ons and customize your insurance policy according to your needs. This also helps you plan your itinerary and activities that you will be doing on your trip. Knowing what is not covered by your insurance will give you the idea of what things you have to take extra precautions with.
5. Does the travel insurance cover extreme sports and other high-risk activities?
One of the best things about traveling is experiencing new things that are not available in your own city. This could range from bungee-jumping or skydiving to canyoneering. When purchasing a travel insurance; policy for travel that involves you being active outdoors, make sure to check if extreme sports and other high-risk activities are covered. Some insurance policies even include helicopter transport when needed. Planning to go on an advanced mountain climbing adventure soon? Make sure to choose your travel insurance wisely and consider all possible risks that you may need to have covered by a travel insurance policy.
6. When does the travel insurance policy coverage begin and end?
More often than not, your policy’s coverage starts the day after it is purchased. Some policies though set the on-set of the coverage on the day you depart from your home country or city. The policy ends on the date agreed. If you purchase a 30-day travel insurance policy, its coverage stops on the 30th day since it was activated.
7. Is the insurance flexible in case I want to stay longer?
Some tourists book a flight with no return ticket to give them more flexibility to decide when to come home. Most travel insurance policies would ask for definite dates when you purchase a travel insurance policy. If you will be traveling indefinitely, purchasing a travel insurance policy that is good for a year or twelve months is the best option. The 12-month policies are best if you plan on making multiple trips or multi-city trips within a year. Make sure to verify the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy thoroughly.
8. Does the travel insurance provider have a 24-hour hotline in case I need to call for an emergency?
No matter how much research, reading, and understanding of your policy was done before the trip, there might still be instances that you would need to call for assistance. Purchasing a travel insurance plan that offers a 24-hour hotline is the best decision, especially if you will be traveling to a country that has an entirely different time zone. Make sure to also check ahead for the numbers you need to call whatever part of the world you will be.
9. Does my travel insurance policy cover all countries I am planning to visit?
This is something worth spending time researching, especially if you are planning a cross-continent trip. Heading to Austria for a week before flying to Thailand? Make sure your travel insurance policy covers both countries. You also must check the coverage and the exclusions of the policy in each country on your itinerary.
10. Is travel insurance just for health insurance?
It isn’t. Travel insurance also covers trip cancellations or interruptions and loss of luggage and gears. It also includes emergency transportation. Before signing up for a travel insurance policy, make sure that it covers your possible needs.
You might be wondering if travel insurance is worth it. Here are ten reasons why you should never travel without it!