Three people hiking up a snowy mountain

Travel Insurance: Do You Really Need It? (2019)

Travel Advice

Travel insurance is the least sexy part of traveling. There’s nothing fun or interesting about it.

But do you really need it?

Short answer: YES (read: Absolutely).

That’s it. That’s the post. Thanks for stopping by the JustFly blog!

Kidding.

All jokes aside, let’s learn the ins and outs of travel insurance.

We’ll try not to bore you.

What Exactly Is Travel Insurance
Person holding pen writing on documents

Travel insurance is easy to understand. It’s financial protection against nearly everything that can go wrong while traveling. It applies to local and overseas travel too.
TLDR–unless you own a crystal ball that predicts the future, buy travel insurance. Here's why. Click To Tweet

Not sure what exactly travel insurance covers?

Here’s a (very) short list of things that often go wrong on trips:

  • Lost luggage
  • Flight cancellation
  • Injuries
  • Sickness
  • Theft
  • Emergencies back home
‘But I paid for my trip on my credit card. I’m covered!’

Well, sort of. Most credit cards only cover basic losses for a short period of time. Also, many health plans only provide basic coverage. TLDR–unless you own a crystal ball that predicts the future, buy travel insurance.

The Importance of Travel Insurance

Forget coverage, claims and costs for a second. Travel insurance is about one thing: peace of mind.
Your focus should be on exploring, experiencing and relaxing. It’s a no-brainer for adventure travelers. But if you’re sickly, accident prone or just unlucky, don’t risk it.

Travel Insurance in Affordable Countries

Long boats on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Sure, a country may be cheap to visit. But that doesn’t mean medical costs are affordable. Some countries are insanely expensive on the health care front.

Picture this:

You’re on a remote island in southeast Asia. The weather is incredible. Friends, cold drinks, good music and delicious food are all around. Things couldn’t be more perfect.

The sun sets. Stars fill the night’s sky. You’re living the dream. A sense of genuine happiness fills you. You’re dancing on a white sand beach. WHOOPS! You slip and fall (read: you had one too many drinks). Your arm is broken.

A broken arm isn’t so bad. But it needs to be tended to, immediately. The nearest hospital is on another small island. Ferries are closed until morning time. You need emergency evacuation via helicopter.

It’s a small hospital on a quiet island. The doctor is on call. You’re treated and given a prescription for pain killers. The hospital keeps you for two days for monitoring.

Not convinced?

Here’s the cost (in USD) of emergency medical transportation in the world’s most visited destinations:

  • Mexico: $15,000 – $20,000
  • South America: $100,000
  • Germany, France and many other European nations: $50,000 – $100,000
  • Russia: $90,000 – $150,000 (extreme weather conditions can drive up costs)
  • Asia, Australia, and the Middle East: $220,000

These are only the costs to transport you. You’ll need to pay more for treatment. An extended stay in the hospital will also cost you. And these are conservative estimates.

Still want to skip on travel insurance? Didn’t think so.

How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost

Pop Quiz:

Which of the following help determine the cost of a travel insurance plan?

A) Planned activities, age and number of travelers
B) Duration and destination of travel
C) Type of coverage and medical history
D) All of the above (choose this one)

Clearly, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That said, most travel insurance plans cost no more than $5 – $10 per day. For hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars in coverage, that’s a great price.

Important Travel Insurance Questions
Traveler sitting pensively with laptop

Travel insurance policies are unique to each traveler. Every traveler will look for something different. But the one thing everyone should do is read the fine print. That way, you’ll know exactly how you’re covered.

Note: Some policies don’t cover any activities they consider adventurous/dangerous.

Important questions when buying travel insurance:

  • Is there enough coverage to pay for all potential medical expenses? Aim for $100,000 (minimum) or more of coverage.
  • Does this policy cover injury as well as sickness (for you and your family)?
  • Is emergency evacuation covered?
  • Does your policy include transportation to your home country if need be?
  • Is there coverage for specific/high risk activities? IE: Surfing, scuba diving, mountain climbing.
  • Does this policy apply to countries with high medical costs?
  • If travel plans change, can the policy be modified/increased on the fly?
  • If lost or stolen, are valuables covered?
  • Is there a 24-7 emergency contact available?
  • Does your travel insurance cover political turmoil?
  • How are claims filed (online, phone, paper)?
  • Is this affordable?

Which Travel Insurance Is Best

Booking with JustFly? Save time and money by booking insurance with us as well. Get top notch coverage with just a few clicks. Otherwise, shop around for the best travel insurance for you.

World Nomads is a fan favorite for frequent travelers. They take customer service very seriously. Their policies are inclusive and flexible. They’re also highly recommended by Nomadic Matt, Nat Geo and Lonely Planet. If they’re good enough for some of the best travel platforms online; they’re probably right up your alley.

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