About travel insurance
A travel insurance is a rather annoying necessity which nobody really likes to spend neither money nor time on. Unfortunately it is necessary to do both, but by picking the right insurance you can save money and get some peace in mind. The goal is not to get the cheapest travel insurance possible, but to get the right insurance for the cheapest price.
Though some like to be covered for everything thinkable, the main reason to take out travel insurance is to be medical covered in case of serious illness and huge hospital bills. Since there is no point of buying insurance that isn't covering you, we have addressed some important issues to look for.
Things to look for in a travel insurance
Do you need travel insurance in the first place?
Some home/health insurances do already cover short trips abroad. Another possiblity to get "free" travel insurance is through your credit card. With some credit card providers you only need to own the credit card to be cover for a trip abroad, while other providers demand that you have bought either the whole or part of the trip with the credit card. In either case you need to read the fine print.
Can you take out the insurance only for the period needed?
Few insurances allow you to start outside your country of residence. This could mean that you are forced to buy insurance from day one, even though the first bit of your trip is already covered by other insurance (see above).
Does the insurance cover where you are going?
Some insurance providers have US/Canada/Japan as additional parts and some American underwriters don't cover travels in countries under trading embargo like Cuba, Iran and Syria.
Does the insurance cover what you are going to do?
Some insurance providers don't cover for adventure activities like bungee jumping or trekking in high altitude or you might need to pay extra (which is called premium)?
Does the insurance also cover personal belongings?
And if yes, what is the max limit for single item and e.g. is SLR camera equipment considered as one single item?
How much is the deductible/excess?
Meaning how much of any claim is not covered by the insurance.
Is a return ticket required?
Some travel insurances now demand that you have a return ticket (don't ask us why).
Will the travel insurance repatriate you in case of serious illness?
This last point is only for those that don't a keep medical insurance in their country of residence while travelling, for a travel insurance will not cover you after your return. Solution to this could be an expatriate medical insurance, but those are expensive.
No travel insurance fits all
There are more travel insurance companies that anyone cares to count. Most are target for holiday people with a price tag to match and a cover that doesn't suit the independent traveller or backpacker (like holiday cancellation and flight crash insurance).
Unfortunately it's not possible to say which travel insurance is the most suited or cheapest, it all depends on your specific situation like country of residence, planned activities, duration of the trip, etc. So check the policy wordings carefully.
The reviews of travel insurances below are based on where you live:
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