Thursday, January 24, 2013

Travel Insurance

 I must admit that travel insurance is one of the few types of insurance I agree with.

Health insurance, very good.

Accident / liability / theft insurance for your car, very good.

Life insurance... kind of pointless after you are dead. Really only useful if you have family to worry about and haven't already arranged your funeral.

But travel insurance is basically health insurance for when traveling in other countries. Its also supposed to cover financial default of travel suppliers (eg. if they suddenly declared bankruptcy and no longer honoured prepaid tickets), and other losses incurred while traveling. But most of the "other losses" are pretty vague and not used very often so its really just health insurance for tourists.

Standard travel insurance is supposed to cover:

  • Medical emergency (accident or sickness)
  • Emergency evacuation (volcano, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, war-zone, etc)
  • Repatriation of remains
  • Return of a minor
  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip interruption
  • Accidental death, injury or disablement benefit
  • Overseas funeral expenses
  • Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal effects or travel documents
  • Delayed baggage (and emergency replacement of essential items)
  • Flight connection was missed due to airline schedule
  • Travel delays due to weather

Thanks to the internet (Huzzah!) you can now buy travel insurance online very easily. You can even buy travel insurance on your iPhone in roughly the same time it takes you do download an app.

So lets pretend you go to Mexico... and you get sick from drinking the water... or shot by kidnappers... or robbed by bandits... injured during a hurricane... fall in a sink hole and break your leg... Seriously, every year there is some problem with Canadian tourists stuck in Mexico and there has been some kind of catastrophe, murder, kidnapping or whatever.

I know Mexico is really cheap (and fascinating if you love pyramids like I do), but its really got a bad reputation to stuff happening. Having travel insurance when traveling to Mexico should be pretty much mandatory.

So yeah, if you are traveling to a dangerous part of the world like Mexico is, you really should get travel insurance. Mexico is like a jaguar... beautiful, but dangerous.

I remember when I was in South Korea (a country that is still technically at war with North Korea... and the North has nuclear missiles) I got travel insurance. Mostly to cover my health costs in case I ever needed a hospital.

One time I got sick and did need to see a doctor and get antibiotics.

Another time I was mountain climbing (freehand) and nearly fell. Thankfully I did not fall. But if I had fallen I would have either been:

1. Dead, in which case who really cares if I have travel insurance.

2. Very injured, in which case that insurance probably would have been used quite a bit.

That is really the point of travel insurance I guess. When traveling you are more likely to be doing new things - including mountain climbing, horseback riding, deep sea diving, swimming with sharks, dolphins, jellyfish, piranhas, and eating new foods that you could be allergic to. Or drinking water that might not be safe.

Thus travel insurance, even if not traveling to a dangerous part of the world, is still a wise precaution.

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