We, at the World Vegan Travel team, have a love/hate relationship with travel insurance. We have so far (touch wood) never needed to make a claim for any trip that we have taken. This sometimes feels like a waste of time and certainly a waste of money, yet we still do it.
Every time we take a trip, we make sure that we have insurance to cover us completely. We also make it a requirement to travel on our vegan trips with us and we even include a whole section on this on our free vegan trip planning guide. So why bother with this?
Having a medical emergency on a trip could potentially bankrupt us and our families. Imagine this scenario. If we had a car accident in Vietnam that resulted in a severe head injury, we might need to be medevaced to a center of medical excellence in Bangkok or Singapore. Then, of course, there would be the treatment there and possibly rehabilitation over several months. The whole exercise could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. This gives us nightmares and we could not enjoy our trip with this being a possible eventuality.
If you need to cancel your trip for a valid reason, you have the potential to lose the entire cost of your trip including flights if you don’t have insurance. For a tour to Rwanda and flights for two people, you are looking at close to 25,000 USD spent before you even take off. Having insurance as soon as possible after booking takes the pressure off. You know that for most reasons, should the worst happen, a natural disaster, a family bereavement, sickness or the tour company dissolving, a natural disaster in the country you are visiting, you will get your money back.
Theft of belongings or damage
In our opinion, this one is very important if you will be carrying gear of high value, especially camera gear, and technology. If you are not carrying things of very high value, then perhaps this is not quite so important, but most travel insurance policies cover this so you might as well have this! Make sure that your very expensive camera will be covered in the policy that you take out.
While this is not a huge consideration, being able to buy some basic items to help you out when your baggage is delayed will be helpful!
Things to think about when buying travel insurance
Credit card insurance
It might be the case that you already have good enough travel insurance through your credit card. If this is the case then great, but make sure you absolutely check carefully before you travel. Try to have a call with a representative to make sure that everything you want will be covered. There can be extensive terms and conditions that come with credit cards and you do not want to leave anything to chance.
Include emergency evacuation
Buy as soon as possible
Don’t wait until just before departing to buy the insurance. We often plan well-ahead of our departure. In the case of our Rwanda trips, people booked 18 months before. Anything can happen in those 18 months. You or a loved one could get too sick to travel with a chronic illness, the tour company you are traveling with could dissolve. Buying early will make sure you are covered for these types of incidents.
What is their per item limit?
If you have a camera worth $10,000 yet, their per-item limit is only $1000, then you will probably want a higher one-item limit.
When are you traveling?
Look carefully at the dates you are traveling and make sure that your insurance will cover these dates inclusively. Failure to do this correctly might mean that your flights would not be covered.
Where are you traveling?
Is usually only a small fraction of locations in the world are not covered by travel insurance companies and usually, these are not the places that tourists want to visit, but you should check that you will be covered in all the places you go. This includes places that you might be transiting in.
What activities will you do?
While most travel insurance companies cover activities that most travelers will want to do, it is worth sitting down and thinking about what you will be doing on the trip and checking that you’ll be covered. Hiking? Perhaps your insurance company will only cover below a certain altitude. Do they cover skiing and snowboarding, scuba diving, and horse riding? It’s worth noting here that activities that are considered normal in the country but are against the law might mean you are not covered. For example, many tourists hire motorbikes without having a driver’s license (which is the case in all countries although not always enforced). Will your policy cover you when you are not taking due care or are breaking the law?
Renting a car?
Sometimes travel insurance will cover the excess that you might need to pay in the case of an accident. This will mean that you will not have to take out the often very expensive extra collision insurance from car hire companies. Sometimes credit card insurance will cover this too.
It’s worthwhile checking the small print and seeing if you are happy with what they won’t cover.
- Print out and review your policy and have a copy online so you can access it.
- Take a note of the emergency contact number and share it with people in your party. Have it somewhere handy.
- Take photos of your belongings all ready to be packed so that you can know what you are taking and prove to the insurance company in case your luggage is stolen.
- Log in to any online account that your insurance company provides and get familiar.
- Make sure you don’t miss the flight – Insurance companies generally don’t cover you for getting confused with the departure date.
- Report theft immediately to the local police station and get a police report. You will need this if claiming for theft.
- Call the emergency contact number if you go for medical treatment – They will then liaise with the medical providers and authorise any treatment. If you do not get authorisation, you might find that they will not pay.
- If you are going on an extended trip and perhaps make changes to your itinerary.
- Travellers on an extended trip who are spontaneous in their travel decisions might forget about where and what they are covered for. If you decide to do that everest base camp hike with some new best friends, then make sure you are covered.
We recommend World Nomads for our travelers. It covers all the activities we include and you can even buy it after your departure. Saying that you should always check that it meets your personal needs.
- You can buy your insurance while you are travelling (in case you forgot to get it before)
- Most people are covered (although the price depends on where you are resident)
- They are well-established and have a good reputation online. They are recommended by many international brands.
- You can make claims online.
- Covers tech gear.
- Reasonably priced
- They have two different plans to suit different budgets.
- Very transparent and easy to navigate.
- You can extend your policy if you want to.
You can see how much a quote would with World Nomads right here!
As the old adage goes, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you cannot afford to travel. It is something we hope you never have to use, but worth having in case of an emergency. We know that we will always begrudgingly take it out and if that’s the reason we will never have to use it, then it is money well spent!
Have you ever been saved from a huge loss by making a claim on your travel insurance policy? Tell us in the comments?