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For many, insurance is essential; something which may cost a little, but will provide peace of mind in the long run. For others, it is a scam and is the equivalent of flushing money down the toilet. But which of these opinions is correct when it comes to travel insurance? We take a look at what travel insurance really is and whether or not it is a worthy investment when you’re about to take a trip abroad.
Largely, no, but this is changing.
Traditionally, travel insurance has been viewed like any other cover. You don’t need to pay for it, but if you don’t, you must be prepared to cover any costs yourself.
However, there are countries around the world which require visitors to
At time of publication, the following countries insist that visitors have some form of travel insurance before being allowed to enter: Antarctica, Cuba, Ecuador, Qatar, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and countries in the Schengen Area:
Some airlines will remind users of a destination’s entry requirements before or after purchasing tickets. However, many don’t and countries might change their entry requirements at any time. To avoid being caught out, check online to see if your chosen destination requires travel insurance to enter.
If you forget to buy travel insurance or find out you need it only after leaving for your holiday, don’t panic. Most travel insurers will cover you while you are on holiday, usually starting from the same or following day. If you need travel insurance to enter a country, most airports offer options to purchase, so you shouldn’t get held up at border control.
However, we recommend buying your travel insurance before you travel. You can take your time, compare plans, and find cheaper prices.
While every travel insurance is different, offering varying levels of protection, the majority cover the following:
If you are travelling to take part in sporting activities, like skiing or surfing, there is usually an additional cost to cover injuries which may result and protection of any equipment from being stolen or damaged.
Peace of mind, financial security, and, in the case of the above-mentioned countries, access to your holiday destination.
Provided you are travelling to a country which doesn’t require travel insurance as a condition of entry…then, nothing. But you must be prepared to cover any costs yourself in the event that something goes wrong.
If your passport is stolen, you will need to obtain a new one in order to travel home. Your embassy will still help you with logistics, but you will have to pay all fees, including the cost of international delivery of a new passport to your location.
Similarly, if any possessions are stolen or damaged, your only recourse without travel insurance is to buy new ones. The same can be said if a political crisis or bad weather results in a cancelled or missed flight; without insurance, all you can do is buy a new ticket.
Where this can be especially damaging is in the case of a medical emergency. An unforeseen hospital visit can quickly run up a very expensive bill, which you will have to pay out of your own pocket.
Broadly, the answer is “no, but…”.
The most practical thing to do to avert any risks is to buy travel insurance. Perhaps you are very wealthy or have enough savings that you feel confident you can cover any unexpected costs yourself. However, keep in mind that you cannot foresee all emergencies, and, therefore, cannot ever truly know what the final bill might be ahead of time.
As a brief summary, if you answer yes to any of the following, we highly recommend you purchase travel insurance for your next holiday:
As we mentioned above, waiting until you are at the airport or your destination’s border security is not the best strategy for choosing an insurer. You will have limited options (often only one) and will likely have to pay more. The best deals can be found online by searching ahead of time.
Every insurer is slightly different, as is their coverage, so no-one is better placed than you to decide what insurance is right for you. However, the following tips will help you find the best offers for you:
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