You’re setting off on a trip, whether it’s for two weeks or two months, and you’re asking yourself, “Do I need travel insurance?”
The short answer is, “Yes, you do.”
Why? Because the reality is, the health insurance you have in the States will likely not cover you outside of the United States (check your policy). Some credit card companies will offer your coverage for trip cancellation-type expenses, but will not offer you comprehensive medical coverage in your chosen country(ies). And of course your U.S. health insurance will definitely not cover any items that are lost or stolen on your trip, nor medical evacuations from remote sites such as Machu Picchu, for instance. Good travel insurance will cover all of this.
Particularly if you are into adventure sports, whether it be scuba diving or sky-diving, you will definitely need travel insurance, so that you can enjoy your trip to the fullest without that nagging thought in the back of your mind, “But what if something happens while I’m doing”…..you can fill-in-the-blank.
When you travel, you want to be able to choose your own adventure. Write your own story. Turn the page on a new life chapter. And all of this involves risk-taking. From taking chicken buses throughout Central America (where theft can be rampant), to hiking the great Andes Mountains in Peru ~ you want to do it all, and you want to know that you are covered….just in case.
Enter: Travel Insurance.
Every intrepid traveler has travel insurance. It’s just a given. My personal favorite is World Nomads Insurance. Let me tell you why.
This is actually the perfect time for me to be writing this article. I just embarked upon a three-month journey down to Central America, and literally just went through the process of sifting through and comparing travel insurance plans. The volunteer organizations I worked with in Costa Rica ~ IVHQ (based in New Zealand) and Maximo Nivel (based in Costa Rica), required that ALL volunteers have travel insurance. I would have purchased it regardless, but in this case, it was mandatory.
Throughout my volunteer work, in the highlands of Costa Rican coffee country, I met several other fantastic volunteers from all over the world. During this time, we discussed which travel insurances we had each purchased and thus, I was able to compare several other travelers’ insurance plans to mine.
And the winner was clear: World Nomads Travel Insurance.
My roommate at the coffee plantation, for instance, had purchased travel insurance through AAA, a common travel company used in the United States (and my one-time auto insurer). For her 4-week trip, she paid $240. So her 4-week travel insurance cost MORE than my three-month, comprehensive travel insurance plan, and covered multiple countries versus her single country of Costa Rica. We discussed each plan’s coverage, and realized they were similar (in some cases, World Nomad’s coverage was actually better). She plans to use World Nomads for her next trip!
What makes World Nomads Insurance better?
Let’s start at the beginning. The first thing I did, when beginning the hunt for travel insurance, was to get quotes from numerous companies (through one of those online comparison calculators). I checked out companies such as Travelex, AIG, and Allianz, among many others. What was the average price for insurance, for a 3-month trip through Central America?
The average price ranged from $400-1,200 US dollars. Pretty steep. There were a couple plans in the $200-range; however, the coverage with these type of plans was very minimal: no coverage for trip cancellation or baggage loss, no coverage for accidental death or flight accidents, and definitely no coverage for adventure sports or high-risk activities.
Okay, I thought. This doesn’t work for me. I didn’t want to spend upwards of $600 on insurance ~ but, at the same time, I needed coverage for all the activities I wanted to participate in. Further, most insurance companies would only allow me to choose one country ~ and since I’d be traveling to several (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize), I needed to know that I would be covered in all of these countries, instead of being shit-out-of-luck in one of them.
Finally, most companies I checked with would not provide coverage in Cuba. And since Cuba was part of my travel plans, I knew I couldn’t purchase a policy with any company that was unable to cover my trip there.
So, with all of this information in my head, I popped over to World Nomads site and entered my trip details into their calculator.
After typing in my information, including my age and the different countries I wished to visit (including Cuba), my total cost for a 3-month trip was $206 (Standard Plan – which includes numerous activities), $295 (Explorer Plan – more dangerous activities included).
I thought, something must be wrong with this travel insurance. It’s too good to be true. So I delved into the plan details, to make sure that I was getting the coverage I needed.
Standard Plan Coverage:
- $100,00 for Emergency Accident & Sickess Medical Expense (that occurs during trip)
- $750 for Emergency Dental Treatment (I don’t even have this in the States!)
- $500 if needed, to secure entry into a foreign hospital
- Coverage for accidents occurring from over 100 different types of adventure activities
- $300,000 Emergency Evacuation & Re-patriation ($500,000 on Explorer Plan) – Covers evacuation back to the States; most other policies I looked at covered between $50,000-100,000 only.
- $2,500 Trip Cancellation Protection – Covering natural disaster, weather, accident, illness, injury, etc.
- $2,500 Trip Interruption
- $500 Trip Delay
- $1,000 for Baggage Loss ($3,000 on Explorer Plan)
- $750 Baggage Delay Coverage
- Unlimited 24-Hour On-Call Emergency Assistance Services – Their multi-lingual operators are standing by to help you get assistance no matter where you are in the world.
- $25,000 One-Call Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation Services
All of this, for $206 for three months.
Sign Me Up!!!