3 Things to Know Before Buying Travel Insurance

After spending more than 15 hours in two transit countries, three airports and planes, all I wanted was to meet my family in the designated city. My trip was going well, until the pilot announced that the weather was too foggy and he had to land the plane in another city which located 110 kilometers away or about an hour drive from the previous destination.   

Even a well-prepared itinerary could turn into a “nightmare”. Many people have the habit of making a checklist to make sure they remember to bring important things before going on a trip and include “flight tickets”, “passport” and “digital camera” on their list, but forget the one item that would protect them during the trip; travel insurance.

If ugly things happen, the first thing that we can be thankful about is the fact that we already have this item in our hands. So, how to choose the right insurance product?  

1. Compare Names, Not Prices

Knowing that there are many –local and international- insurance companies that offer travel insurance, it is best to make a decision based on your travel destination. For example, you can choose a local insurance company if you are going to Lombok, but choose a global insurance company that has a good reputation in Europe if you are planning to go to France.  Thus, you can be sure that the company has network affiliates that could help in case of emergency.

Dessy Sagita, journalist at an English-language newspaper in Jakarta, said that she regretted her decision of buying the cheapest travel insurance product for her recent week-long trip to Paris.

“At that time I bought travel insurance that was offered by the travel agent. I got the cheapest one, only to make sure that I had insurance,” she said. Long story short, Gita –that’s how her friends call her– found out that her wallet was stolen and was disappointed to know that such loss was not covered by her insurance.

“Apparently it only covered medical cost and lost baggage,” she explained. Due to the incident, Gita lost her pocket money, along with her ID card and other important cards –which in the end cost her around Rp 15 million.

2. Frequency of Travel

How often did you travel last year? That number can be your benchmark to check if you need annual travel insurance or one for each trip. If you are married with kids, buying annual travel insurance for family might be more economical than buying single trip insurance.

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to plan your budget, including those for holidays. You can use mobile applications like TripIt –which basically works like your personal travel assistance– to keep track of your frequency and distance of travel.

3. Consider Your Activities during That Trip  

Every traveler has their own quirkiness while on a holiday. Some consider hiking and bungee jumping as entertainment, while some consider them as torture.

The type of activities that you want to do during a trip can be your guidance when selecting travel insurance. That said, you need to spend a fair amount of time to read the fine print before buying insurance policy. You surely don’t want to be disappointed in the future when you realize that your favorite sport is not covered by your insurance.

Travel insurance is not only available for purchase through travel agents or insurance companies, but also through specific websites for travelers, e.g. WorldNomads.com which offers insurance policy to cover those adrenaline junkies who enjoy doing adventurous sports.

No one expects bad things to happen, especially while one is enjoying a holiday. However, each of us needs to have a back-up plan to minimize losses when those situations happen.

“Most people buy travel insurance to fulfill the (visa) requirements, but it is actually for our own precaution,” Gita said, adding that she is planning to buy travel insurance to protect her trip to Ambon. After all, this item has been proven to be as important as a digital camera in the packing list.    

Read also: How To Be Safe on Your Solo Travels

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