Is Travel Insurance Worth It?


This is the question we get asked all the time as we travel the globe. This is even the question we ask ourselves as we prepare to set off and travel for a few years. Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

That’s a good question, and we’re here to help you navigate this complex issue and let you know our trade-offs when it comes to travel insurance.

It is not uncommon for people to think they are healthy enough not to get sick and therefore not need insurance. However, in our opinion, a travel insurance policy is something you should never leave home.

You never know what to expect, and most health plans offered in your country will not cover your overseas travel during your trip.

One of the most important things to remember is that travel insurance is more than just medical coverage. A good travel insurance plan will cover you when your camera breaks, your flight is canceled, a family member dies and you have to go home, you lose your luggage, or even if something gets stolen.

This is the single most important thing you should keep in your bag and hopefully never have to use.

Do we use travel insurance?

First, we’d be uncomfortable talking to you about travel insurance if we didn’t actually use it. Not only is the answer yes, but we cannot travel without a current travel insurance policy.

With so many things that can change unexpectedly when traveling, the peace of mind that comes with coverage is the main reason we cover .

Also, we go on a lot of crazy adventures during our travels and bring a lot of expensive camera gear and electronics with us when we travel. We need a plan that covers our health, any travel surprises, crazy adventures and expensive electronics.

Is it worth the money?

At the end of the day, I guess you’re the only one who can decide this, but based on our experience and that of our colleagues, we wouldn’t risk traveling without it. The following examples are a collection of instances that have happened to us or people we know.

  • We found ourselves traveling in an area during an active volcano erupting, spewing enough ash to damage our camera equipment . Don’t worry, it’s covered by our insurance.
  • Flight cancellations result in missed connecting flights with other airlines, resulting in the need to rebook additional flights and pay for hotel rooms. Fully reimbursed by travel insurance.
  • Airline lost luggage didn’t show up for 5 days. Travel insurance offers a daily rate on purchased items so the trip won’t be ruined.
  • Accidentally fell while boarding the boat, broke his back and had to be airlifted from the middle of the Amazon jungle. 100% covered by insurance, including surgery and rehabilitation.
  • Motorcycle driver’s phone stolen on Malaysian streets  – reimbursed by travel insurance.
  • Infection with dengue fever requires multiple blood tests and treatment abroad. Covered by travel insurance.

As you can see, situations, where you need travel insurance, come in all forms and, of course, the unexpected.

How to choose travel insurance

You can easily find this page of travel insurance search results in Google Search. The key is knowing what to look for and how to choose the best policy for your situation.

I think the easiest thing for us when we were first starting out was to cancel any insurance company we found that didn’t offer a travel-specific policy. There are plenty of people who will say they can cover it but don’t have any travel-specific insurance. Remove them from your options first.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few travel-specific companies (we like Allianz Travel Insurance ), it’s time to start reading the fine print. Does the policy cover electronics? Does it cover extradition? Does it cover adventure activities?

All the valid questions you want to be answered before you start looking for travel insurance.

A good travel policy will always include the following clauses:

  • Cover most countries in the world
  • Get some coverage for your electronics (with the option for higher coverage limits)
  • Protection against injury and sudden illness
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance (you don’t want to call and be told to call back later)
  • Covers the loss of damaged or stolen items such as jewelry, luggage, documents, cameras, etc.
  • Covered cancellations, such as hotel reservations, flight and other transportation reservations, in the event of sudden illness, death in the family or other emergencies
  • Covers emergencies, conflicts in the country you are visiting, etc. that cause you to return home early
  • should include personal accident insurance
  • Financial protection if any company you use goes bankrupt and you are stranded in another country

These are very basic necessities in any travel policy, and if you find that an insurance company doesn’t provide all of these in their policy, don’t book with them .

read the fine print

Beyond the basics of coverage, there are a few things you need to consider that vary by provider and traveler. It’s important to know what your insurance plan does and doesn’t cover.

Adventurous Activities and Extreme Sports – It is important to note that most insurance policies will not cover a specific list of adventurous activities and extreme sports during your trip. So if you enjoy scuba diving, bungee jumping, motorcycles, white water rafting and more, make sure you choose to back your policy.

Electronics Coverage – This is another issue to take a closer look at. Most policies have ridiculously low electronics spending caps, think $500 per item, or in some cases, $500 total. If you’re carrying a laptop, you’re already not getting paid if it’s stolen through such a scheme. Not to mention the camera you use to document your amazing travels. Make sure you have the right insurance so that if your gear bag gets stolen, you can at least be reimbursed for a replacement.

Drug and Alcohol Incidents – Policies generally do not cover alcohol or drug-related incidents or carelessness in handling your belongings and luggage. If the problem happened because you were reckless, you will not be reimbursed. In short, if a reasonable person is not involved in what caused your accident, you will not be covered.

Pre-Existing and General Care –  Travel insurance does not cover general medical care. This includes pre-existing conditions and general medical care. You cannot use a travel policy to refill prescriptions or have annual checkups.

Travel insurance is about covering you in the event of an accident or medical emergency while you are away from home. Knowing this from the start can save you from disappointment and frustration when you try to use your policy for your annual health check.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It? Yes!

No matter which company you choose, the chances of you actually using the policy are slim. But accidents do happen, and life around the world is uncertain. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you’re in another country thousands of miles from home.

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