It’s a question often asked whenever people travel to destinations like the Galapagos Islands: Do I need Travel Insurance? It’s expensive, but it can come in very handy if you have an accident. Here are some things to consider.
You might already have it
Check your credit cards! Many credit cards offer some form of limited travel assistance and insurance, especially if your card is gold or platinum. Some of the benefits may include reimbursement for lost luggage, coverage if your hotel room is burgled, roadside assistance and more. Note that these benefits do not kick in unless you purchase the flight or trip with the credit card in question. Also, some credit card insurance plans only cover you while you’re traveling, in the sense that once you arrive at your destination, you are no longer covered until you begin the journey home. Be sure to read the fine print.
Your existing health care coverage may extend to your travels. For example, in the US, Medicare only covers travel within the US, and most private health insurers do not provide while you’re on vacation. Take a look at your policy or call your agent to ask about existing benefits, if any.
The Argument Against Travel Insurance
The cons are easy: travel insurance is expensive. Take for example a 30 year old male from the USA traveling to South America for two weeks. If he wants comprehensive medical coverage, which will cover him in case of just about any illness, injury or travel-related calamity, he will have to pay at least $225 for insurance…and that’s with a high deductible. If he wants the deductible lowered to $100, the minimum jumps to around $350. Travel Insurance is an expensive gamble.
The Argument For Travel Insurance
Why add $225 onto an already expensive trip? Because the costs can be far greater without it. If the same 30 year old man breaks a leg while on vacation, a week in a foreign hospital can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Hospitals in the United States and Europe are particularly expensive. Because of the nature of travel, accidents, injuries, illnesses and theft are more likely to occur.
What do I need to know in order to choose the best insurance for me?
There are countless insurers and plans out there. Before choosing one, do an online search for the insurer that you’re looking at: if the insurer does not pay claims or makes clients work very hard to get reimbursed, chances are that a disgruntled former client has posted something negative on a travel insurance review site.
Also, consider the various options that change how your insurance price is created. The deductible is a good example. If an insurance policy has a $250 deductible, then it will not pay any claim under that amount, and will deduct it from any claim over that amount. In other words, it will not pay for a $100 hospital visit, and will deduct $250 from a $500 hospital visit, leaving you to pay the remaining $250. By adjusting the deductible up, your payment goes down. This is a good way to save money on insurance: a $250 deductible is nothing when compared to a $10,000 hospital bill.
Many travel insurance companies charge an extra if you’re engaged in “risky” travel behavior such as rock climbing or scuba diving.
The Best Advice for Travel Insurance
There are dozens of insurers out there, some trustworthy, some not. Between them they offer hundreds if not thousands of different plans. This article discusses some of the basics, but to truly find the best plan for you, talk to an expert. Galapagos Island.com offers travel insurance to those booking trips, and their agents are happy to help you find the information you need to make a decision that is right for you, your family and your budget!