It still surprises me that many people don’t see why travel insurance is vital for any international trip. People who insure their house and car in case something goes wrong suddenly decide that nothing bad will happen when they’re overseas. Believe me, it does, as my friend found out the hard way.
When discussing travel insurance with other budget travellers, I’ve found there are normally two excuses that people make for not buying a policy:
I ALREADY HAVE CONTENTS INSURANCE
Now, even though you may have house and contents insurance, don’t expect this to pay out if something happens to your possessions overseas. For example, my contents insurance only covers my stuff for when it’s in my registered address or when it’s temporarily relocated within New Zealand for my own use. If I take my laptop on a trip to Queenstown and it gets stolen or damaged I’m covered – if I take a trip to Sydney I’m not.
The key here is don’t assume anything. Double check your policy documents. I haven’t found a contents policy that covers international travel, but if you’ve managed to get one then good on you! You can ignore the rest of this article and get back to planning your adventure.
“I CAN’T AFFORD TRAVEL INSURANCE”
This is the most stupid excuse out there. When it boils down to it if you can’t afford travelinsurance, you can’t afford to travel. You need to allow for insurance premiums when you’re creating a travel budget, and buying insurance is as important as buying your flights. If you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars on airfares an extra few hundred on travel insurance should be an easy ask. It’s also important to remember that budget travel doesn’t mean shirking on the vital expenses.
You don’t want to fall off a motorbike and then have to make your hot friends auction themselves off to pay for your medical expenses. Nor do you want to fork out for medical bills if your bungee cord snaps. And even if you don’t need medical treatment your baggage might be some of the 25 million items that airlines lose each year – trust me, starting your travels with just the clothes on your back is not fun.
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
Hopefully you’re now convinced that it’s worth the money and hassle to get insurance. But where to start? Well, Nomadic Matt has a great post on choosing travel insurance and what you should look out for. Instead of reinventing the wheel, here’s a link to the article. (He’s sponsored by World Nomads and has a few affiliate links to them, but I can’t comment on their policies. Caveat emptor).
One thing I would say, is that you should buy your insurance at the same time you get your flights. If you break your leg two days before heading off many policies will cover you for rescheduling your trip (including non-refundable costs).
Check your existing insurance, budget for a travel policy, and make sure you get the coverage you need. Travel insurance is vital for when the shit hits the fan. Don’t leave it to chance.
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